As a human being on planet Earth, it is impossible to not compare and contrast our own life to the lives of others. When we see someone who is rich, successful, and (seemingly) happy, we can’t help but want it all.
Envy makes it impossible for us to be truly happy for our friends, peers, and loved ones because we are too busy worrying about our own unfulfilled dreams. We are too busy trying to figure out how we can become just as (or even more) successful than those around us.
Since envy is perfectly natural – to quote Queen Beyoncé, “I’m just jealous. I’m just human”- it is important that we don’t let it get the best of us. So, here is what I propose you do when you come face-to-face with jealousy:
1. Put yourself in the shoes of the person that you envy.
When your friend excitedly tells you about their promotion, their engagement, or any other blissful moment in their life, it’s totally natural to be possessed by that green-eyed monster.
Instead, try putting yourself in their shoes. Pretend that you are experiencing the same happiness that they are experiencing.
By doing so, you will realize that happiness, just like envy, is infectious. You will discover that your friend is human too and that, right now, they are experiencing one of the “ups” on the roller coaster of life. Think about how, next week, they might be facing one of the “downs,” so you should want to be happy for them, in the moment, while everything is going great. Especially since you would want them to do the same for you.
2. Understand that you will get your turn.
The past few weeks may have been the worst weeks of your life, but remember when you were completely and utterly happy a few months ago? Well, that’s going to happen again. If it happened once, it can (and will) happen again.
3. Talk about it!!!
I used three explanation points there because this is really, really important.
When we keep our feelings and thoughts bottled up inside, nothing is going to get better. So, why not exercise the control that you do have and talk about it on your own terms?
I’m not saying that you should interrupt your friend’s success by talking about your jealousy. After all, there is a time and place for everything. I’m saying that, at some point, it would probably be a good idea to talk everything out with your friend (maybe when they’re not jumping up and down with excitement).
In the meantime, there are other ways that you can release your jealousy. Write about it, seek help from a counselor, give your trusted confidant a call. Do whatever you have to do to get it out there.
And if you feel that you cannot talk to your friend about the jealousy that you feel toward them, then maybe you should re-consider your friendship. I mean, how great is your friendship if you can’t talk about something as natural – yet important – as jealousy?
4. Take a deep breath and look around you.
Okay, your best friend just told you that they are engaged to the love of their life. But… you’re still single and you really thought that you would be engaged by this point in your life. This sucks. You want to be happy for them, but you can’t because, now, you’re thinking about how much you want to have what they have.
Stop. Take a deep breath (or two). Now, look around you. See those jeans you’re wearing? Isn’t it great that you could afford them? See the shoes on your feet? How wonderful is it that they protect your feet when you walk? You know that hair on your head? You are so lucky that you haven’t lost your hair because of a terminal illness. You have food in your belly, a home with a roof, and a faucet that runs with clean water. Isn’t all of that amazing?!
You have a lot in your life that others would find to be envy-inducing. All you need to do is take a moment to be grateful (and to actually see) the little things. Because the little things add up to be something quite big.
5. Walk away.
All of the sudden, you can actually feel your eyes turn green, you can feel this nervous/jealous/regretful feeling seep into your heart. Uh-oh. It’s your old friend, jealousy.
So, what are you supposed to do? Are you supposed to just sit here and turn green? There is no protocol for these things!
If you have already tried all of the above and nothing else is working, walk away. Get outside, breath in the fresh air, and take a look at how beautiful nature is! Yay, Mother Nature! Walk around the block a few times; get out your energy. Hey, if you end up passing your favorite coffee shop, go on in! Get yourself a hot drink and, as your paying for that drink, take a moment to say to yourself, “I have money. I have a job. I can buy things. This coffee smells so good. I’m so lucky.”
All in all, jealousy sucks. I mean, it’s one of the seven deadly sins, so of course it’s going to suck. But, all that matters is that you do something about that suck-age.
A surefire way to eradicate your envy is to bring some light in your life. Do what makes you happy, talk, laugh, be grateful, look around you, and all that jazz. You’re human, you’re jealous, it sucks, so… fight back (and remember that you are surely not alone)!