How to stop envying famous people

How to stop envying famous people

Celebrities sure do have the perfect lives, don’t they? Not only do they get paid a fortune, but also get freebies as a perk of the job. Then they travel everywhere in private jets, live in luxury mansions, and are admired by millions. Who wouldn’t want to live their lives, if only we could? Well, envying celebrities their fabulous existence means that you won’t focus on enjoying your own life. Here’s why you need to stop envying celebs …

Table of contents:

1 Their Lives May Not Be as Good as They Seem

As surprising as it may seem, the life of a celebrity may not be as good as you imagine. It’s the kind of life where you have to take the rough with the smooth – and the rough includes having photographers follow you everywhere you go, and the media making very personal comments about your appearance. It’s difficult for celebrities to have any private life …

2 We Can’t Have What They Have

Although it seems that anyone can become famous these days, it’s not really that simple. We can’t have the life that celebs have, and why would you want to? There really are more important things in life than fame and money, so learn what really matters and pursue those things that have more value.

3 You’ll Be Wasting Your Own Life

Envying others is pointless, and means that you’ll be wasting your own life. If you spend too much time wishing you had Kim Kardashian’s money or Rihanna’s wardrobe, you’re hoping for something that will never happen. Be more realistic; try building your own financial security and look for ways to dress well on a budget.

4 We All Have Things in Our Lives to Appreciate

I’m pretty certain that even celebs envy other people sometimes. It’s human nature to want what we haven’t got. But even if you’re not rich and famous, you still have many worthwhile things in your life. Look for the things of value that you have – these are often things you can’t put a price on, like friends and family.

5 Envy is Not Productive

Envy is absolutely unproductive. It’s a very negative emotion that will get you nowhere. If you really want a better life, you’re the only one who can achieve it. Get an education and build a good career. You may not end up extremely wealthy, but you can work towards achieving your goals in a realistic way.

6 It’s Often an Illusion

We may think we know all about celebrities, but we don’t know what their lives are really like. It’s an illusion presented by the media, that makes us think we are having glimpses into their lives. They have fears and worries as well, so don’t assume that their lives are perfect.

7 Be Yourself!

Finally, one of the best reasons for not envying celebrities is that wanting to be them or like them means denying yourself the chance to be who you are. Being yourself is the best person to be! You’re every bit as interesting as they are, so enjoy the life you have and appreciate the person that you are.

Envying others gets you nowhere and makes you feel more down, so concentrate on enjoying and appreciating your own life. You have more than you think, so don’t feel despondent that you’re not living the fabulous life of a celebrity! What are the things you love most about your life?

This article was co-authored by Sarah Schewitz, PsyD. Sarah Schewitz, Psy.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist by the California Board of Psychology with over 10 years of experience. She received her Psy.D. from the Florida Institute of Technology in 2011. She is the founder of Couples Learn, an online psychology practice helping couples and individuals improve and change their patterns in love and relationships.

There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

This article has been viewed 36,313 times.

Envy is an emotional state that produces pain or uncomfortable feelings that stem from comparisons that make one feel lower in status than another. This often results in feelings of resentment. [1] X Research source The emotional pain called envy can be generated from seeing others as superior either in their belongings, personality traits, physical appearances, relationships, and/or achievement. [2] X Research source Envy also often produces a want for what another has, or a wish that another would lose what he or she has. [3] X Research source Deal with envy by identifying what makes you envious and what is most important to you. Then, employ strategies to stop judging yourself. Finally, enlist support when you need it.

How to stop envying famous people

Sarah Schewitz, PsyD
Licensed Psychologist Expert Interview. 15 April 2019. Research has found that often envy results from comparisons to others who are of similar background, ability, and achievements in relative or important areas of one’s life. [5] X Research source

  • For example, you may compare yourself to a coworker who is of the same status and gender as yourself. The pain of envy is a result of seeing yourself surpassed by another’s ability, especially in an area of life that is a deep part of your self-concept by which being surpassed is seen as a threat to your concept of who you are. [6] X Research source
  • Some other examples are:
    • You feel insecure when someone else appears more intelligent, funnier, more entertaining, happier or more glamorous than you consider yourself.
    • You cannot help but continuously compare yourself to the other person, either personality-wise or by yearning for the same opportunities they appear to have.
    • You feel deprived and wish for the same property and possessions as someone else. You consider that your life is pale by comparison and somewhat impoverished.
    • You feel miserable because you think that other people have what you don’t.

How to stop envying famous people

Unless you’re among the Warren Buffetts and Usain Bolts of the world at the very pinnacle of the global pyramid of achievement, no matter how much you and your business flourish, they’ll always be others out there doing better than you. You can have an impressive degree, a huge pay check, even a yacht, but if you’re inclined to compare they’ll always be someone with better qualifications, more money or a bigger boat. If you can’t stop comparing, you’ll never be satisfied.

Plus, envy not only makes you miserable, it also makes it harder to get ahead in your career and reach your goals, according to Forbes’ Glenn Llopis. So how can you step off the envy treadmill and enjoy your success?

Juliana Brienes, a doctoral student in psychology at UC Berkeley, thinks she can help. Having studied how we are kind or unkind to ourselves for her PhD research, Brienes recently laid out the current wisdom on disarming envy on her blog, Psych Your Mind. Counteracting the effects of “the green-eyed” monster, she claims, comes down to five relatively simple steps:

Acknowledge envy. Admitting that we are experiencing envy can be very threatening, because it means acknowledging our own weakness and insecurity. The first clue that envy is lurking may be irrational feelings of hostility towards the object of our envy.

Recognize that pride is just the flip side of the envy coin. It is tempting but generally unhelpful to try to counteract envy with pride. “Sure, he has a nice car, but I’m better looking” is not going to get you very far. You might feel vindicated in the moment, but sooner or later someone is going to come along who has a nicer car than you and is better looking. In other words, reassuring ourselves about our own enviable traits is unlikely to be sustainable.

Replace envy with compassion. Although envy seems almost like a compliment, it can be quite dehumanizing. It reduces the object of envy to something very narrow and masks the full picture of who they are and what their life is like. Have you ever envied someone who seemed to to have the perfect life, only to find out later that they were in fact suffering in a very major way? These cases are more common than we might think–we just don’t have the opportunity to learn about someone’s difficulties when we’re mired in envy of their seemingly charmed life (Facebook does not help things, by the way).

Let envy fuel self-improvement–when appropriate. When our envy is rooted in things we cannot change about ourselves, such as a difficult childhood, a traumatic event, or certain health conditions and disabilities, using envy to motivate self-improvement is more likely to dig us deeper into frustration and self-blame. But sometimes envy alerts us to things that we want in life that are potentially attainable.

Don’t forget to count your own blessings. As the saying goes, envy is counting the other fellow’s blessings instead of your own. Counting our blessings isn’t the same as boosting our ego by reminding ourselves how we’re better than others. It’s more about refocusing on what is really important in life.

This is just a sample of what Brienes has to say in the post, so if you want more details on her envy-busting program, check out the complete post.

Jealousy and envy are two of the most common—yet negative and useless—emotions many of us have. For a long time, I let both of these destructive feelings overwhelm and poison me. Here’s how I finally gained control over them.

Jealousy and envy: A case study

It’s hard for me to admit these flaws (especially to thousands of strangers), but I’ve been learning that it takes a good hard look at your shortcomings to truly get past them. Maybe it’s because I had “ middle child syndrome ” or maybe it’s the competitive streak that I’m usually hiding, but jealousy—the feeling that someone is trying to take something you have—and envy—feeling resentful because someone has something you don’t—have both always come naturally to me.

My earliest memory of these ugly emotions is from one Christmas when I was about nine years old. My younger brother gave my older sister one of his treasured Transformers toys as a gift. (I believe it was Ratchet, the ambulance with its red crosses on the sides and gun station when it transformed into a robot.) All I got from him was a measly card—and I threw a fit. It was a full-on fit. I threw the toy at the wall, ripped the card, stomped up the stairs, and wailed into my pillow as loudly as I could. (I told you they’re ugly emotions.)

In later years, similar feelings would wash over me when a boyfriend would spend more time talking with one of our female friends than with me, when a co-worker would get praised for a job I was doing just as well at, or when people moved on to better and bigger things while I was left behind.

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It’s like the opposite of schadenfreude, but just as petty: Instead of getting pleasure from others’ misfortunes, I felt torture at their successes. Behind that all was the belief that I was getting the short shrift, that the situation was unfair, and, sometimes, that I was inadequate.

How I moved from jealousy to generosity

My breakthrough was both accidental and gradual rather than one climactic, made-for-TV moment. To tell you the truth, I didn’t even know the toll these feelings were having on me and my relationships or even realize that they were happening.

Several changes, though, I’ve been making over the last decade or so have helped me put things into a healthier perspective:

I started becoming more conscious of my feelings and thoughts

Jealousy and envy are gut feelings, but you can nip them in the bud when they rear their ugly heads. But first you have to realize it’s happening. The start of my self-improvement was taking up yoga a few years back, when the gym I was going to offered an exceptionally good class. The regular exercise alone probably seeped into other areas of my life : better sleep, a boost in confidence, and better overall well-being, but yoga is also meditation or mindfulness training in motion. I found myself labeling my negative feelings more and detaching myself from them. (Not just saying “I feel a pang of jealousy” but also “I’m feeling nervous” and everything else. In a way, I think people who often have other negative emotions, such as anger, could benefit from these tactics).

How to Find the Right Style of Yoga for You

Yoga offers a host of health benefits, including stress relief and mental clarity, but many people…

I learned the difference between competition and comparisons

The quote “ comparisons are odious ” has been credited to several esteemed authors. Basically it means that a comparison (especially of people) is repulsive. Jealousy and envy are all about comparisons—and tallying up the differences between one person and yourself, as if life were an accounting game, to make sure you’re not in the red. Competition, on the other hand, can be helpful—as long as we don’t take it too seriously and personally. My high school English teacher always used to say “Comparisons are odious” and I never understood it until I started realizing I was comparing myself to others and not merely competing (good sportswoman-like) with them.

I started practicing gratitude and happiness

Here’s another quote, from Harold Coffin: “Envy is the art of counting the other fellow’s blessings instead of your own.” When I was younger, I used to count my blessings, but somehow they made me feel guilty instead of lucky. I felt like I didn’t deserve the great world I was born into because I hadn’t earned it. Now, almost every morning, I practice gratitude for about ten minutes before I get out of bed. I started it when my daughter was born, because she was a long-time dream come true—and for once I felt my luck was deserved, rather than some happy accident to apologize for. Practicing gratitude has made me more generous, I think, not just with my time, but with my emotional energy as well. I’ve started celebrating other people’s wins. Before, I would often think in my head “that’s a great article” but not bother to tell the author, but now I realize it costs me nothing to honestly compliment someone else or at least click that “like” button. (Also, “ silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone .”)

Change Your State of Mind with a Gratitude Session

I remember one evening, when my life was pretty different—I was overweight and deeply in debt and a

I learned praise isn’t a finite resource

I used to bristle when my parents would spend more time with one of my siblings (being a middle child is hard), but I realize now that sort of thing doesn’t detract from me. It’s not like people are rationing out their love, appreciation, or other good feelings like gas during a shortage (e.g., by saying “Hey Whitson I love your posts” they’re saying “Hey Melanie I hate yours”). I learned this while trying to explain to my daughter the concept of her having a sibling, but—don’t judge me for this—I also learned it long, long ago during an episode of Full House in which Bob Saget explains that his love is like an endless supply of water and his kids are all teacups, and the love is just overflowing. It just took me a while to understand and really accept that lesson.

All of the above have been efforts to improve myself, but they also ended up changing how I appreciate and interact with others. Do I still get jealous or envious every now and then? Hell yeah. But as I keep practicing to become a better person, I recognize when I’m starting to turn green and can control these feelings rather than let them control me.­­­­­­

This post was originally published in 2014 and updated Dec. 29, 2020 to add a new header photo, revise dead links, and align the content with current Lifehacker style.

When enough is enough.

How to stop envying famous people

Nobody really likes a bragger, but that doesn’t seem to stop the behavior. It doesn’t stop when we avoid eye contact, chuckle at this apparently unconscious character flaw, or show our boredom with a yawn, either. That’s because a bragger doesn’t notice—he or she is either insensitive to begin with or becomes insensitive while bragging, like a person who becomes numb while drinking alcohol. Bragging is similar to getting a fix or fill of something, perhaps to forget the emptiness someone feels inside (think narcissism).

Bragging appears to be somewhat compulsive. And it’s hard to respond to someone who has to tell us that she went to Hawaii a dozen times in the last six years, that in fact Hawaii is her second home, and that she is thinking about buying a lot or two, if not an entire island. What should we do when a verbal avalanche of superlatives comes our way?

The challenge of cutting off a bragger is even greater when the bragging is covert: “You have no idea how rich these people are. You have never seen such riches.” Or when the bragger hides behind another person: “I am so embarrassed about my husband spending a fortune on this,” or, “Other people tell me I am so much younger looking. It’s amazing how many compliments I get on my skin.”

First, let’s distinguish between bragging and the desire to share something positive with others. My girlfriend and I rejoice in each other: I like to hear about her accomplishments and successes, and she takes delight in hearing my ideas about true happiness . Sharing what’s good sustains mutually empowering relationships. Usually the difference between sharing and bragging is easy to ascertain because sharing is only part of a relationship, it never dominates. Nevertheless, be mindful and consider the possibility that your discomfort might reveal more about yourself than about the other person: Make sure you are not just envious.

Envy destroys relationships, but overt or covert bragging can prevent them from developing in the first place. A bragger creates gaps between himself and others, which cannot (and should not) be bridged. He is on a higher elevation, more advanced, and out of your reach. However, in an egalitarian society, most people prefer to relate to others instead of granting someone dominance. Even though we might feel secure in a hierarchy—there is a little monkey inside all of us—we are only happy when we connect with each other. (See this post about overcoming loneliness.)

Here are 5 tips to help you deal with a bragger.

1. Make the bragger know your type.

Ask to switch the subject, or just go ahead and switch it. Talk about the type of person you are. Instead of focusing on the other’s bragging—which can be taken as quite confrontational—stress the fact that you are not one to admire others for their good fortune, or that it’s hard to impress you. After that, it might be too awkward for the other person to keep bragging.

2. Boast a little about yourself. Then self-correct.

Let the person have some of his or her own medicine: Braggers are just like everybody else; they don’t like it when other people brag. So go ahead and brag a little yourself. Then, as if struck by divine intervention, excuse yourself and say something to the effect of, “Oh, I guess I have been bragging. You know what, let’s not do that. It only makes other people feel bad.”

3. Share a quick story about another person bragging.

At an opportune time (which is almost any time), ask if the person knows a particular person (a celebrity will do) and share how you’d like that individual more if it weren’t for her constant boasting. Ask your bragger if she or he feels the same way about anyone.

4. Communicate your subjective truth.

I once read, “Choose wisely with whom you wish to be open, but remain sincere always.” I don’t know to what extent you should be open once you decide to let someone else know what you feel and think. Maybe you think it’s OK to communicate how estranged you feel when the other person brags, or that you’d prefer to connect with them. Maybe it’s best to put it into a question: “Are you interested in connecting with me, too?”

5. Walk away and let it go.

Everyone needs our compassion, but not everyone needs to be our friend. It’s OK to walk away, preferably with a smile and acceptance of the other. I often have to leave a conversation when someone brags. I just have to: Compassion demands it.

© 2016 Andrea F. Polard, PsyD. All Rights Reserved.

Have people told you that you’re intimidating and you just don’t know why? You may be giving off signals that say “don’t mess with me” without realizing it.

Or maybe you wish you were more intimidating, in which case you can read this post and do everything it advises people not to do. Some of us want to intimidate, or at least seem powerful in certain situations. However, often power comes from seeming approachable—maybe even likeable! You might want to be able to adjust the vibes you’re giving off.

Psychiatrist Grant Brenner writes for Psychology Today that intimidation is kind of a natural impulse:

Being of the animal kingdom, it’s wired into us to use a variety of displays of power in order to ensure our safety and status in the pack and further our goals. Not everyone is an apex predator or an alpha dog. But we are all tuned into where we stand with one another, with scant exceptions

Personally, I think if you’re aware of your abilities and are using them to bully others, you don’t deserve to compare yourself to an animal as wonderful as a dog. Brenner says that there are also a lot of people who are inadvertently intimidating because their perception of themselves is so different from what others see. Here’s what to look out for if you’re worried that’s your problem.

Don’t hide who you really are

If you have a specific persona you wear in public, for whatever reason, people can generally sense that. If it never shifts, Brenner says that gives others the impression that you’re invulnerable, which leads to feelings of “envy, admiration, and a sense of uncanny strangeness as something important but undefinable just seems off.”

How to stop envying famous people

A guest post by Stefanie Flaxman of Revision Fairy

It’s healthy to possess a bit of envy for individuals you admire.

These people do what you want to do—they’ve got what you want.

But if envy doesn’t motivate you to take practical action, it’s a dangerous quality.

Your world becomes a place of what other people have or what other people do in contrast to what you don’t have and what you don’t do.

Practical action involves many tiny steps that often seem inconsequential, but it’s these individual steps that produce a substantial final product.

When you focus on the process, you understand what another person did to get that something that you want. You recognize common ground, and your goal becomes more attainable.

Consider Teenager Tom’s envy of a classmate who works at an ice cream shop. Tom works part-time at his parents’ travel agency, but he’s not interested in travel; he constantly fantasizes about spending his afternoons grazing on mini-spoon samples of frozen goodness.

What choice does Tom have? He can continue glamorizing his classmate’s life, or he can take a step.

The first step is to ask his parents if he could get a new job at the ice cream shop instead of his current gig. Let’s assume the conversation goes well and after a short time, he attains a job at the ice cream shop.

Here’s what often happens when we reach a goal. After a few weeks at the ice cream shop, nothing in the world is more boring to Tom than ice cream. He knows every flavor, every topping, every scooping method, etc. He’s the Bubba Gump of ice cream.

His mind starts wandering over to the next best thing.

The ice cream shop has lost its intrigue, and Tom’s envy of his classmate has subsequently faded. The experience served a purpose, but it’s time for Tom to move on.

“Every mind must know the whole lesson for itself—must go over the whole ground. What it does not see, what it does not live, it will not know.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

When you get something that you think you want, sometimes you do wholeheartedly love it. Sometimes it temporarily satisfies a desire, but ultimately it’s not for you at all.

Your original envy may seem a little silly in retrospect. Remember that silliness amongst passive wishing and wanting for something more than what you already have.

Experience the mystery to learn more about it and get your next clue.

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want your children to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”

Assume a limitless attitude regardless of what anyone else says.

You have to cheer yourself on if you want to create a new part of your reality.

Taking action to achieve your goals isn’t necessarily exhausting yourself and discounting the joy already present in your life. Make the right sacrifices.

If you discover that the process isn’t enjoyable, instead of envying the person who committed to that work to achieve that goal, find the work—a true passion—that suits you.

Set your eye on the prize. Adjust the path to that prize accordingly.

There aren’t some people who can do everything that they want to do and some people who can’t. The only difference is that some people do.

What’s the first step you have to take?

Stefanie Flaxman is the founder of Revision Fairy. Follow @RevisionFairy to keep up with Stefanie’s philosophy for writing and editing your life.

How to stop envying famous people

Wearing green may be a fashion staple for spring, but seeing green isn’t quite the statement we want to make. When it comes to our emotions, jealousy is far less becoming — no matter what season it is.

While a little envy is probably harmless (who doesn’t want the quick wit of Mindy Kaling or the toned arms of Jillian Michaels?), too much of the emotion can have serious health implications. Jealousy has been linked to increased stress hormones in the body and even a higher risk of Alzheimer’s in women.

“Secure people might be the opposite of envious folks,” Scott Bea, PsyD, a clinical psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic, tells The Huffington Post. “When people are jealous, they often over-think and try to over-control circumstances.”

There are certain behaviors we can all practice in order to eliminate the green monster from our lives. Below are the habits of people who are secure with themselves, as well as simple solutions to squash envy when it starts to creep in.

People who never get jealous surround themselves with trustworthy people.
How to stop envying famous people

This may sound like a given, but it’s still important to note. We are directly influenced by our environment — and that includes the people around us, Bea says. If you’re in good company, your emotions are, too.

However, it’s also important to be that kind of support for others. This means wishing your friends or partner well if they choose to spend some time with other friends, Bea says. “If you keep engaging in those behaviors, it starts to create a secure feeling,” he said.

They have a high sense of self-worth.
The hallmark trait of being secure with yourself is loving who you are, Bea says. If you’re comfortable with yourself and have high self-esteem, you don’t feel envious of another person’s circumstances or relationships.

This is especially true for adolescents, according to one 2005 study. Researchers surveyed nearly 500 teens and found that those with lower self-esteem reported greater vulnerability to jealousy, particularly in the context of their friendships.

They celebrate others’ successes.
How to stop envying famous people

Whether your co-worker got a promotion or your best friend got engaged, it’s important to remember that their story isn’t your story. “One person’s success doesn’t mean you’re failing,” Richard Smith, Ph.D., a social emotion researcher and psychology professor at the University of Kentucky, tells HuffPost.

People who are secure with who they are let go of that resentment and focus on joy, Bea says. “They want everybody to be happy and successful,” he adds. “It’s all about wanting your life instead of somebody else’s.”

They take stock of their blessings.
“If you have a grateful attitude, you’re going to be less focused on what others have and less likely to be unhappy because of envy,” says Smith.

Gratitude journals are a useful way to add more thankfulness to your life. Bea recommends writing down the positives of each day and how they happened; chances are, you’ll see they’re a result of your behavior or actions from that day. “Secure people are aware of their incessant good fortune,” he says. “Rather than being envious of other people’s success, focus on your own.”

They know when to unplug.
How to stop envying famous people

It’s no secret that social media is basically just a highlight reel. We post our best photos, check in at the trendiest places and update our profiles with only the life-altering news — and studies suggest those updates can take a toll on observers. Researchers theorize that heavy social media use can evoke negative emotions like loneliness and, yes, envy, Mic reported. Taking time away from the screen may just be one of the best things you can do for your own confidence.

They don’t seek approval from other people.
In his book Embracing Envy: Finding the Spiritual Treasure in Our Most Shameful Emotion, author Josh Gressel dives into our desire to make others want what we have. We procure a sense of self-satisfaction when someone else is envious of our life. However, as Gressel points out, this behavior is laced with insecurity — and that instant gratification won’t last very long.

“To be seeking the envy of another is to be trapped in the same cycle that fuels any addiction: reaching for something outside yourself for something that ultimately needs to come from within,” he writes. People who manage their jealousy tend to realize this, and as a result only answer to themselves.

They don’t focus on labels.
How to stop envying famous people

This goes for your own categorizations and the labels of others, Bea says. “Personally, I get rid of all the trappings of success or status,” he says. “I think sometimes ambition is driven by insecurity. Being modest or underplaying those attributes can sometimes be a sign [that you’re comfortable with yourself].”

In other words? You’re more than your title or the awards on your shelf.

They don’t compare themselves to others.
As Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” If you’re constantly stacking up your life against someone else’s, chances are you’ll find something to nitpick. Instead, just plainly fixate on the positives — in your life and in the lives of others.

“There’s always going to be something better than what you have,” Smith explains. “Envy is really perceptual. Nothing that you have is going to feel good if you’re constantly thinking there’s something else that’s better. Don’t focus on comparisons.”