We’ve all been there. Your sister got into her dream college and you got rejected. Your classmate went on an elaborate vacation over winter break and you stayed home. Your best friend got invited to a big party and you didn’t. You just can’t help but feel jealous, and that’s okay.
It’s common for people to feel ashamed like they need to hide their jealousy, but jealousy is something that everyone experiences at some point. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about. There are tons of ways to deal with jealousy, and the first is to accept it. It might seem strange to radically accept an emotion we think of as negative, but that’s all jealousy is– an emotion. And emotions aren’t good or bad, and we don’t benefit when we judge ourselves. Tell yourself: this is how I’m feeling, and that’s okay.
After you’ve done that, it’s a good idea to find someone to talk to. It could be a therapist, a friend, a parent, a sibling, a school guidance counselor, or anyone that you feel comfortable sharing with. Often, it can be really cathartic to just talk through how you’re feeling and why you’re feeling this way. If you can’t find someone to talk to or just aren’t feeling ready or open to having a conversation, writing down your thoughts in a journal or on your computer can be a great way to process emotions too.
If you’ve done that and still aren’t feeling relieved or more resolved, take some time to do a little self-care! Go get a pedicure, eat a good snack, take a nap, or watch some Netflix– just do something for your mental health and remind yourself that despite this crappy feeling, you are still worthy, loved, and fortunate. And if you still find yourself feeling upset and envious, that’s totally okay! It takes time for jealousy to fade, and until then, continue to exercise self-care and healthy conversation/expression. Eventually, this will pass.
Another tricky element of jealousy is how to present yourself to the world during times of envy. How can you stay a good friend/sibling/parent when you’re feeling jealous? How can you be happy for your loved ones even if you want something that they have?
First of all, a little distance can do a lot of good. If someone’s accomplishments are causing you pain, take some time to spend with yourself and other people. If it’s not possible for you to get some space, just imagine yourself in their shoes. While this may be a little hard to do psychologically, just remember that it’s not their fault that their achievements are getting you down and they still deserve love and appreciation. While jealousy should not be blamed on anyone, acting out against or resenting those who you are envious of will not only make them feel worse but will ultimately probably make you feel worse.
If it feels just too difficult to put on a brave face and be happy for them, it may be helpful for you to have a conversation with them. It doesn’t have to be a big deal! it can be a quick check in to share something simple about how you’re feeling, how you know it’s not their fault, and how you would greatly appreciate them refraining from discussing whatever is making you jealous and allowing you to keep your distance.
Lastly, there are a few facts that I will remind you of that jealousy can often make you forget. Your success is not determined by the success of others; the only person you should compare yourself to is your past self. There will always be someone who has more than you and has done more than you, and because of that, it’s unfair to yourself to let your self-worth and self-love depend on others. Your success is determined by your personal progress; people live their lives differently, and even though it can be hard to remember this when you’re swept up in the chaos of the world, you live at your own pace and the achievements and possessions of others do not determine your worth.