The green-eyed monster gets us all, at one time or another, whether you find yourself jealous of a rival, a co-worker or even a friend or family member. The closest of friends can experience jealousy at the best of times, and this is particularly true if you and your friend are sharing a lot of the same life goals, such as similar career paths and the pursuit of successful romantic relationships. Jealousy can be a powerful force and even has the ability to ruin a great friendship if it’s allowed to run amok.
While you can’t stop yourself from feeling a certain way, you can control how you react when jealousy rears its ugly head. Try these six ways to keep your jealousy in check and your friendship completely intact!
Remember All Life Paths Are Different
Even if you and your friend are literally going against each other for a job or in a competition, that doesn’t change the fact that you are both two different people who will make your own unique way. This is still true even if the goal you both share is entirely the same.
Remind yourself that life paths are unique, and jealousy is just a wasted emotion that takes you away from your own life and drains your energy. If you let envy become a big part of your days, you’re going to miss out on the joy in your own life and actually set yourself back on your own road to your goals. The energy that you are spending on jealousy will serve you much better if it’s focused on your own life goals instead.
Check Your Own Self-esteem
Psychology Today says that one of the main causes of jealousy is distrust, and it can be distrust of yourself instead of other people . If you’re feeling jealous of your friend, it may be coming from a place of self-doubt. If you and your friend both wanted to lose a few pounds, for example, you probably wouldn’t be jealous of her once she hit her goal weight as long as you were confident you were going to meet yours, too. Your reaction to her success would be happiness because you were sure your own success was coming, too.
This is true with all sorts of life goals, from money and work to family and relationships. If you don’t feel as if you’re going to have the same sort of success as your friend, you need to work on your own self-esteem. Having low self-esteem will both impact your relationship with your friend and prevent you from reaching your own life goals. There is no quick fix for low self-esteem, but you can start improving yours by setting more realistic expectations for yourself, not forcing yourself to be perfect all the time, and adjusting your self-image.
Use Jealousy For Inspiration
As noted above, jealousy isn’t something you can’t fully prevent. It’s a feeling, and emotions tend to come and go as they please, with only your response as the controlling factor. What you can do is look at what you are jealous of in your friend’s life, and allow it to inspire you. You’ll be able to see that your own goal is entirely possible, too, and you may even feel some new ambition thanks to the success of your friend. Use your friend’s achievements to propel you forward instead of letting them hold you back.
Look At The Good In Your Life
Reminding yourself of what you have is a great way to get over jealousy related to what you don’t. Take stock of your own life to see all you do have, which can make jealousy seem awfully silly! Just a simple acknowledgment of all the blessings in your life can go a long way when you’re envious of someone else’s success. Tick them off in your mind, or write them down on paper to gain a better perspective. Make sure you include things like your other friends, your family, your job, your home – in fact,everything in your life that you’re proud of, content with or lucky to even have.
Look at your relationship with your friend, too when you’re dealing with jealous feelings towards them. Not only will this motivate you to work past your jealousy, but it will also remind you why your friend deserved their success to begin with. It is a lot harder to be jealous of a person who has put in all the hard work necessary for success or has done wonderful things for others.
Talk It Out
While you probably don’t want to address your jealousy with your friend unless they have noticed it already, you can talk about those feelings with a trusted family member, friend or partner. Talking about it aloud can help you work through your feelings and get past your jealousy faster sometimes. Be aware that if you do talk to someone who isn’t the most tight-lipped, this conversation could get back to the friend you are jealous of and cause problems. Weigh your options and the seriousness of the situation before you speak to someone else about your feelings and the entire situation.
If you do think your friend is aware of your jealousy, you can approach them, explain your feelings and apologize if needed. A good friend will understand to some degree, and you may even learn about times they were jealous of you in the past!
Don’t Let Jealous Feelings Control You
Jealousy on occasion is normal, and chances are you feel other negative emotions like anger or annoyance toward your friend once in a while, too. Acknowledge that while jealously will pop up sometimes, you can’t let it rule you anymore than you would let anger or annoyance ruin your life and taint your relationships. This is really important in general but especially in a friendship, in which part of your role is to be supportive of the other person.
Friendships are sometimes hard to keep because they do pose challenges like jealousy, but you need to be challenged in life to succeed. Sometimes, you need to step out of your own life and celebrate the successes of someone else. This helps you become more self-aware and gain perspective while serving as a reminder that the world doesn’t revolve around you. Even the most open-minded person can be surprised by how narrow their worldview has become in certain areas, so don’t be surprised if moving beyond your jealousy makes you see things in a different light.
Don’t let a pang of jealously become the dominate streak in your relationship with your friend, as this will set the tone and probably end the friendship for good in the near future. Use the tips above to keep your friendship, and yourself, in a good place.