You love them dearly, but when your friend jets off on an exotic holiday at every chance, you can’t help feel a pinch of envy.
It drives your crazy each time a friend does something you want to do, like buy a new car, move to a bigger house, or just be able to get their nails done each month, and each time you have to bite your tongue and smile through gritted teeth.
Thing is, you really are happy for them. They’re your friend and you wish them the world of love and happiness. You aren’t mad at them or hate them for it. Not at all. You just have that frustrated voice inside saying ‘Hey! That’s my dream! Why are you doing it and not me?’.
You are just so jealous, though, and you hope that they can’t tell.
The Green Eyed ‘Monster’ – or ‘Motivator’?
Feeling envious of someone isn’t a good feeling to have. It’s even worse when you actually like the person.
This feeling isn’t one you can openly admit to either. If you do, you are at risk of others thinking that you are childish and a poor sport. After all, if it was you who was achieving these wonderful things, then they would only feel happy for you in return, wouldn’t they?
Seriously, they would be likely to feel envy too.
Let’s face it – we are all envious (even if it’s only slightly!) of people who have what we want but don’t have. That’s the truth.
This is because feeling jealous or envious gives us the natural drive that we need to push forwards and achieve our own goals in life. This could be anything like being able to bake a delicious cake like Jenny, or having your own business like Marie.
It’s a natural emotion that you have. Even if you are seen by others to have ‘everything’, you will still want more and be envious of others who have it.
Why Can’t We Just Be Content?
As I mentioned, jealousy and envy are regarded as childish emotions.
Children display their emotions readily – even the ones that society doesn’t like. As parents and mentors, we have the task of training children to hide their emotions from others and to deal with them internally, not to air them in the open, not to cause a scene and not upset others.
When a child is jealous of a friend’s new toy, they may act with jealousy and take the toy or even damage it, so that they and their friend are back on the same ‘level’. They may cry to their parents that it is ‘unfair’ that Abi has this new toy and make demands that they should have one too. Parents will chastise, console and even give in to the tears and tantrums and end up buying a better version of the toy. Regardless of how we are taught to rein in our emotions, we are expected to grow out of this behaviour by the time we are adults, and act like we don’t feel them anymore.
One way that we can restrict the feelings of envy is to learn to be content with what our life brings to us and be grateful for each blessing without wanting more. This feeling of being content surely brings a sense of peace.
However, although this is a noble place to be, staying content can leave us without an internal drive and motivation. This can lead us to stay sitting on the fence and accepting the current status quo until our time comes to leave this planet.
If you are fine with this, then I am too. However, I think you are reading this post because you have a drive in life to grab your dreams, and don’t want to feel jealous of others anymore.
Put the feeling of envy away to one side for the moment. If you want to achieve those dreams, just like your friend is doing, then what you need is a balance of drive, purpose along with a sprinkle of contentment.
Motivation is key to achieving your goals in life. The motivation has to be felt deep down and be long lasting to get you to the finish line.
This means that whatever is driving you toward your goal must be personal to you. There is no point trying to mimic your friend’s achievement, if it’s not something that is high up on your own lost of goals. You might be envious of their little convertible sports car, but if you have 3 kids and 2 dogs to transport everywhere, then you know it’s not the right time for you to have a 2 seater car that won’t cope with muddy fields!
You need to think of goals that drive YOU, not just copy what others want.
Having these specific, personal goals, will make you more likely to succeed in achieving them and also help you to admire your friends achievement, but not be so envious of it – after all, it’s not exactly what you want for yourself.
We all need to have a reason for being. A purpose in life. That comes from being a friend, a relative, a parent, a pet owner, an employee, a volunteer and so on.
We are designed to be part of a team, and in order to feel that we are doing something worthwhile with our lives, we need to contribute to that team. Whether it is looking after a loved one, taking part in a fund raising event, or teaching others something that we know, it all adds to our sense of self-purpose.
It makes us feel valuable and worthwhile.
Your goal may be to take an exotic trip, but if you succeed, who else will benefit? Will you go with your family or friends and create great memories together? Will you’re trip be of volunteering nature, helping others by giving them your time, energy and knowledge? Will your trip be a fundraiser where you climb a mountain to raise money for a charity?
If your goal is one that involves people you care for or helps others, you will find it a more rewarding journey and you will become more motivated to reach the finish line, knowing that others are depending on you too.
A Sprinkle of Contentment
As I mentioned earlier, it would be very noble of us all if we were content with our current situation and not seek to better or add to it. In the long run, however, we need a little more discord in our lives to keep motivated and striving forwards. It’s not greed or selfishness. It’s just making some adjustments and improvements. After all, if we always accepted the current situations, we would not have all the modern day conveniences that we have now, and there would not be the advances in science and medicine that helps others on a daily basis.
Some level of contentment is required, however, or we would never be happy!
Learning to be appreciative of what you currently have is key to being happy. Appreciate the meal you have eaten. Be content with the hours you have worked today. Be thankful for the car you have and the house you live in. Be grateful for your friends and family.
Be content, knowing you are doing everything in your power to improve on your situation, as it stands now. If you are working hard towards your own goal, you can genuinely think that it will be your turn soon enough. In the meantime, appreciate and love what you have.
So, How Do You Deal With Being Envious of a Friend?
- Accept that what your feeling is normal. Don’t be too hard on yourself!
- Put together your own personal ‘bucket’ list of things that YOU want and would love to do.
- Involve others in your goals. Make your dream be more than just about you. Have that knowledge that you are doing this for others, as well as for yourself.
- Be grateful for the blessings you have at the moment, but know that you will be able to add to them soon enough.
- If you are deeply struggling to be happy for your friend, then consider backing off from them a little for a while. Not completely, just enough for you to get your inner strength back, a plan of action together for yourself, and so that your friend doesn’t feel hurt by your envy.
Make a start on focusing on achieving your own dreams and goals today, and soon you will be far too busy to be envious of your friend!
Originally published on Clarity Junction