Envy isn’t a pretty word and it’s not really a word you want associating with yourself at all, especially with it being one of the seven deadly sins and all. When we achieve something great or have something wonderful and someone is mean to us about it, our family and friends reassure us that person is ‘just jealous’. Not something we exactly aspire to be.

Still, envy is something that pops up in all of us from time to time and I’ve been guilty of coveting things too… a lot. This was a really big problem for me when I was unhappy with my life, which is silly because my life at the time had been chosen by me. I had actively made every single decision which had led me to where I was, so I had no right to look at other people and feel envious of what they had.

When you feel down about something within yourself or your own life or current situation it’s really easy to look at someone else and think, “Why did they get that? I want that! I deserve that too!” Truth is, these thoughts are totally normal and while it’s easy to think they’re just something you cannot control, it turns out they are controllable.

Exploring the Hutongs

I can’t remember exactly where it came from, whether I read it or heard it or if it just popped into my head one day through meditation or maybe even in a dream. Sometimes words just string themselves together in my head, totally out of nowhere. But somewhere the thought occurred to be inspired, not envious. 

We are each in complete control of ourselves and our emotions, which means we can choose whether we envy someone else’s achievement or are completely inspired by it!

When I was stuck back in my old job, feeling miserable in my shitty office building, Little Grey Box came second to everything I did. I really wanted it to be my job but because I thought it couldn’t be, I was really frustrated. I used to see other bloggers travelling the world or having great success and I’d be really jealous of them, wondering why it wasn’t me doing those things I wanted to be doing so bad.

At some point, I made the decision to cut the crap. It wasn’t their fault that I was in the situation I was in, it was my doing. The more I focused on the lack of travel and blogging achievement in my life, the more it bothered me. It grew and gained momentum and I focused on it more and more, causing it to irritate me more. Kind of like when you have that one friend that’s really annoying and you’re out to dinner and they’re there too and the more they talk the more they annoy you and so on… yea, you know what I mean.

It had to stop.

Awesome photos from behind-the-scenes of my secret project!


Rather than continuing to feel envious of these people I made the decision to feel inspired by them. For me, it wasn’t as simple as just flipping a switch in my mind and never feeling envious ever again, oh no, it took some work.

I would see something come up, either on one of the news website or on social media and my first instinct would be a jealous one. That’s cool though, I was just starting. Then I would think something positive, like, “That’s so awesome. That will be me one day. I’m so happy for them!” I would also congratulate them if I could and ‘like’ their share or story.

These positive thoughts feel good, they just feel so much nicer than any jealousy ever could. They fill you up with niceness and you feel good for having said something great and supporting them.

After a while, the negative thoughts just stopped popping up and were completely replaced by positive thoughts. These people who I once envied became the biggest sources of inspiration for my life and the changes that I made. Instead of thinking, “I wish that were me,” I was thinking, “That will be me too.”

Looking back, it’s one of the best things I could’ve done and I guess it’s just part of growing up. I think everyone experiences envy and craves what someone else has, even if it’s just the better meal at the restaurant.

Exploring New Zealand's North at Cape Reinga and 90 Mile Beach
Cape Reinga Lighthouse

There’s no point beating yourself up about it or feeling bad about it, you can’t treat yourself badly like that. It just is what it is, you learn from it, grow and move on. It still happens for me now, I have moments where a naughty little jealous thought comes into my mind, but I catch it up and replace it with lots of good thoughts and I feel great again, rather than sorry for myself. Celebrate and share in their success, make it your shining light of aspiration.

I really, truly believe we are able to attract good things into our lives through positivity. I’ve been on both ends of the scale; I’ve been the really angry, frustrated, miserable, envious person who feels like they’ve missed out on the good things in life and is unhappy with where they are. That was a terrible place and I didn’t notice or appreciate the good things that came to me, I was too busy focusing on the things that bugged me.

I’ve also been the really positive, happy, supportive person who’s forthcoming with love for others and it just feels so good. You radiate these good things from within you and they, in turn, bring all of these back to you. Remember the old rhyme from school: I am rubber, you are glue, it bounces off me and sticks to you! Yea, I apply that to good vibes. They come from other people, I let em come to me and then bounce them right back again. A big circle of goodness.

We each have the ability to choose our outlook on and approach to life. Trust me when I tell you it’s really wonderful choosing to be inspired and seeing the successful, happy people who are living the life you want to live as your heroes and not as anything else.

Phoebe Lee Profile ImagePhoebe Lee is a travel writer and award-winning blogger with a love for storytelling. Phoebe creates practical, fun and engaging written content designed to inspire and energise travel-lovers and dreamers. Follow her and Matt’s adventures at home and around the world, right here on Little Grey Box and through InstagramFacebook and YouTube.




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