Teach Your Children to Transform Envy Into Inspiration
Envy is a harmful emotion that hurts and alienates us from others. Early on, children may begin to experience this feeling when seeing others’ success. However, as parents, we have the capacity to guide and help them transform envy into inspiration.
First of all, we must understand that it’s normal to feel envy at certain times. However, the frequency and intensity of this emotion depends on each person’s personality, as does the way we choose to manage it. Therefore, in this article, we explain how to teach children to process and take advantage of these circumstances.
Transform envy into inspiration
Envy is harmful and painful. It generates within us hatred and resentment, and clouds our relationships with others. To avoid the great unhappiness that envy brings, we must teach children to take on another perspective. Specifically, we must instill in them the habit of focusing on themselves and not on others. But what does this mean?
Many times, it’s the adults themselves who foster envy in children without realizing it. Acts such as being excessively demanding of them or tending to compare them with their siblings, cousins or friends, can turn them into perfectionist or insecure children.
To avoid this, try to remind your children that the only person they should compare themselves to are themselves. That they shouldn’t surpass other children, but rather surpass themselves every day, make progress and become the best version of themselves.
They don’t need to be better than their friend in math, they just need to strive and surpass their own past grades. Likewise, if they want to improve a skill, the starting point shouldn’t be their peers. It’s their own performance that they must surpass each day.
Envy arises when we feel we’re victims of life, when we perceive it as unfair and ourselves as lacking what we desire. The best remedy against this feeling is gratitude. Instill in your children the habit of recognizing the good around them and feeling grateful for it. Teach them to appreciate their home, their family, their friends, their toys, their own qualities….
As long as they keep focusing on the positive in their life, they’ll feel truly fortunate, and there’ll be no room left in their mind to envy others or feel that something is missing.
A solid self-esteem will allow your children to be certain of their own value and of the many qualities and virtues they possess. Self-confidence will prevent them from comparing themselves to others, feeling inferior or seeking external approval. Children with solid self-esteem won’t feel threatened by the success of their peers, because they’ll be confident of their own value.
How to transform envy into inspiration
We can always find someone who we think is better looking, smarter, more creative or more likeable than ourselves. And this is inevitable. However, we don’t have to feel guilty or imperfect for it. We don’t have to criticize others nor wish for their failure. This attitude will only hurt your little ones.
Instead, invite them to always rejoice in the achievements of others. It’s very important for them to realize that someone else’s success doesn’t take anything away from them. If their friend gets a toy, they don’t lose anything. Just because their classmate gets an “A,” this doesn’t lower their grade. Others’ accomplished goals and happiness don’t affect their own possibilities, so why get annoyed?
Instead, encourage your children to feel happy for others when they achieve something important. And, if they also want to achieve, teach them to take that person as an inspiration. If they also want to get an “A,” they can ask their classmates what study techniques they use, and put them into practice as well.
If their brothers get an award for good behavior, they can follow their example, be inspired by them to achieve the same results. We can all be successful, and we all have something to learn from and teach others. There’s no place for envy.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Montañés, M. C., & Iñiguez, C. G. (2002). Emociones sociales: enamoramiento, celos, envidia y empatía.
- Ortiz, M. Á. C., Calderón, M. J. G., VICTORIA, Y. M., & GÁNDARA, B. (2004). Evaluación de la envidia infantil: construcción de un instrumento autoinformado. Revista Iberoamericana de Diagnóstico y Evaluación Psicológica, 18(2), 9-27.