How Do You Deal With Envy When You Can’t Get A Need Met?

by Reid on April 8, 2017

Senior Woman SittingEnvy can be tough, and it can be even harder when you have no way to get that need met. What can you do?

With Reid Mihalko from and Cathy Vartuli from

Cathy: This is Reid being helpful. 

Reid: This is a very important question and I’m feeling intimidated. 

Cathy: Someone asked:  “How do you deal with envy when you recognize your need, but there’s no way that you can get this need met?” It’s a painful question. This is Reid Mihalko from 

Reid: This is Cathy Vartuli from We have some other videos on jealousy and envy. You might want to watch them too, because they go into more depth about certain things.

Envy, the way I look at it is you want the experience that’s going on. You don’t necessarily want to swap out one of the people. Jealousy is more of the “I want what Sally’s having, and I want Sally out and me in.” Envy is more like “What Sally’s having, I want that,” and it doesn’t really require anything on Sally’s part to change. 

Cathy: If you find that you have something, whether you’re envious or jealous, it doesn’t really matter, but there’s a need that you’ve identified but you’re not able to get it met, that can feel really tough, that can feel paralyzingly fearful. What I’d recommend is digging a little bit deeper, if you can.

Sometimes I’ll see something that I really want. You went to a campground experience a few weeks ago, and I was very envious, because I really wanted to go, but I was flying to Amsterdam, so I couldn’t. 

Reid: Oh, flying to Amsterdam, poor Cathy. Boo hoo. 

Cathy: It’s definitely first world problems. 

Reid: Please, hopefully you weren’t flying business class. 

Cathy: That’s not the point we’re trying to make. 

Reid: Oh, it’s not the point, I’m sorry. Please continue. 

Cathy: It was a great trip and I was really glad I got to make it, but I also really was needing some downtime with fun play people. The envy outside, once I dug a little deeper, at first it was like “Oh my God, I really want to go to that event,” but I dug a little bit deeper and the actual need I was having was for outside time with fun people, sex positive people.

If you can dig down a little bit you may find that there are aspects of that experience that you can actually meet for yourself, and if you find that you can absolutely not meet those needs, sometimes it’s a block. Sometimes you might have learned early on that you can’t do certain things.

I had a belief for a long time that I was not lovable, so I believed that I couldn’t find someone to love me, and it was very painful, and I really believed it, so to me it was almost impossible for me, I would literally not see love right in front of me, because I didn’t believe it was possible. So finding a coach or therapist to help you work through that, you might be surprised that there’s ways you haven’t thought of to get that need met.

Having a coach or therapist if you really can’t get that need met can be really helpful too, just working through the grief and the pain of that. 

Reid: This is part of a lot of American culture, because we don’t know where this person is writing in from. We spend a lot of time trying to avoid uncomfortable things, and we spend a lot of time avoiding feeling the feelings that feel like we’re going to die, but what ends up happening is one, you don’t develop an ability to actually be with those emotions and to be with them in such a degree that you get to the other side to see what’s on the other side of it.

That either numbing out or avoidance doesn’t really help you develop the emotional muscles to really be a grown-up and play in life. I’m not saying it’s easy, but it’s possible to change your beliefs, and be able to be with stuff that’s uncomfortable, which, when you do that, allows you to be with feelings that feel great, you feel even more great when you can feel even more shitty.

It feels weird, and some people are like “How is that possible? And it is possible, and feeling like you’re going to die is very different than dying, so I’ve been told from dead people. Starting to be fearless with that. 

Cathy: Being able to face your disappointment. When we’re really little, disappointment feels overwhelming, and we’re not taught as a society how to deal with disappointment, we’re supposed to avoid it or make sure we get it. Realizing that as adults we can handle it very different than a three year old who didn’t get a pony.

I do remember the devastation as a little kid of not getting something you felt like you needed to have to survive. As adults, most of the time, unless it’s food, water, air, and connection, we can really survive through most things. Humans are incredibly resilient. 

Reid: In most cases where you truly can’t, for whatever reason, actually get the thing that you’re envious about, having the skill sets to be with that and realize that yeah, there are things that I won’t have in this life, or whatever this situation is, because there are actual situations where “No, I can’t have that.”

We don’t need to brainstorm situations like that, but just being a realist and being like “OK, that thing is not possible this lifetime,” or whatever, “What are the other things that I can tap into?” Identifying the need, are there other ways to get that need fulfilled, and can you take action by either inviting your support group and your peers and your friends and your community, or you yourself, and those baby steps to change your beliefs, to start speaking up for things, asking for things, even believing that you can take action, and give yourself that weekend with your friends, but that you might be the one that needs to invite them for that to happen, and that you can’t probably invite them when you’re flying business class across the ocean, you have to wait until you get home. 

Cathy: We hope this helped. Dealing with disappointment is hard. It’s very challenging. Please leave comments, let us know what you think, what kind of situations have you run into specifically? We’ll do our best to answer your questions. 

Reid: Yay. Good job everyone, see you next video.

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