I’m not going to sit here and tell you I’ve never been jealous of a friend, as a matter of fact, I have probably been jealous of all of them at some point and I don’t think this has to be unhealthy. Of course, some jealousies are easier to laugh off than others. Feeling a tad envious because a friend has a better TV than I do is more easily overlooked than feeling jealous when a friend announces she is expecting when you have been struggling on IVF for years for example.
Naturally both types are valid, but usually only one will eat away at you while the other is likely to be a fleeting thought, which will probably motivate you to start saving for a new TV. The deeper issues, are harder to address because they make us feel in some way inadequate, or acknowledge that they have something we wanted for ourselves. It could be anything from a husband when you are still single, a holiday while you are struggling week to week, or a successful career when you put your dreams on hold to raise a family. Sometimes it may just be the way the person carries themselves, and betters themselves at all costs while you stay stuck in self sabotaging habits and cycles.
Some of these things are really out of your control. And that Sucks. You are totally allowed to be bummed that you can’t find “the one” even though you do put yourself out there, when all your friends seem to be settling down into a future you saw for yourself that seems scarily uncertain right about now. It’s hard because you’re expected to feel happy for a friend, and if you are a true friend, you are actually happy for them. On the flip side, if they are your friend, they will understand that this news may be a bit difficult for you and not expect you to be all roses about it.
I’d say to some extent, at times my friends and I are jealous of each other simultaneously. While she may be jealous of my husband, kids, and the lifestyle we share, I am also at times jealous of my single friends freedom, independence and lifestyle! On the flip side, I can empathise with that same friend when she’s lonely after a long hard stressful day at work and comes home to an empty house. Naturally she’d love to melt into the arms of a loving partner to cook her dinner and tell her she should relax while he takes care of everything. She deserves that and it makes me acknowledge that I am so fortunate to have such a wonderful loving and loyal partner. On other occasions she might ask me to attend something super fun, but I can’t go because the kids have therapy then after school activities and it starts at 6 and my husband doesn’t finish work til 7pm. Then she can see the grass seems greener on her side today.
Knowing, and accepting who you are and what you really want is important when it comes to tackling this issue. I might be jealous of my single friend, but I don’t actually want to be single for example. I have friends who are so focused and easily achieve all the goals they frequently set, and while I admire them for it, I accept, at least for now that I’m happy being more slack. If something is important to me I will do it. I write this blog each week, right? It has to be ok if fitness or career isn’t a priority for me, or if reading my articles isn’t a priority for them. It doesn’t mean we can’t be friends, as long as we don’t push each other to be the same or share the same goals. Some people are more inclined to be proactive and others tend to think and ruminate for quite a while before acting. Each has merit. We need both types of people in this world.
Sometimes we may be able to use jealousy as motivation to identify and achieve what we want. If Sally’s relationship seems better than yours (although be wary of falling into this trap of assuming without fully knowing – no relationship is perfect) what can you do to bring some of that quality into your relationship? If Jemma has lost weight while you feel fat, how can you make some little changes to drop a bit of weight? If Tim makes more money than you, what could you do to boost your income. I don’t mean quick fixes, I mean doing the work. This can be scary. What if you fail? The only way you can fail is by giving up! So don’t. They are not perfect and you wont be either.
Being jealous doesn’t make you a bad friend. We all just want to be happy. So remember a friends success isn’t your failure and it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Each situation has pro’s and con’s. So think about the pro’s to your situation without assuming it means you will never achieve the things you want for yourself. Even if it means sometimes secretly delighting in the con’s of their situation. Be honest, laugh about it. Be real. That is true friendship! If you have that, many people are *Jealous* of you right now too!!
Your Best Friend ForNever