How to Overcome Jealousy and Become a Better Friend
Social media can make it feel like everyone is getting promoted, sharing their engagement announcement on Instagram, having babies or taking the trip of a lifetime — and it can be really hard to avoid feeling pangs of jealousy when you spot your BFF donning a new diamond ring or sunning herself on the beach. In fact, a recent poll by Wishbone, a social polling app for female millennials, showed that 58 percent of young women admitted to having been jealous of their best friend. Not wanting to be among them, we turned to psychologist, author and speaker Paul Coleman. Read on for his expert advice, which will help you figure out where that awful envy stems from and how to turn it into love and support for your friends instead.
1. Get to the heart of it. Paul says, “Your jealousy can reveal an underlying personal issue or faulty belief, which typically falls into one of two main categories: your sense of personal worth or your sense of personal control. If you react to a friend’s success by thinking ‘It’s not fair!,’ that reflects your sense of diminished control over your life.”
Be more productive with your emotions by accepting that life truly ISN’T always fair — and work hard to gain more influence over your own life. If you’re not sure where to start, remind yourself of what you’ve already accomplished and set specific goals in areas where you want to improve. The power is yours.
2. Choose gratitude. Everyone has things that they’re grateful for and would hate to lose. Think about these instead of fixating on what your friend has and what you don’t. Appreciating the great things about your life will totally give you perspective and can make a huge difference in how you feel.
3. Think about how you’d feel. Flip it and reverse it! Paul suggests, “Put yourself in your friend’s shoes. How would you like others to react to your success?” Use your answer to give your friend the same love, praise and kudos that you’d want for yourself. And never forget that things come full circle. It won’t be long until your friends will be celebrating something exciting that’s happening with you.
4. Become a cheerleader. Transform your feelings of jealousy into vocal support! Talk up your friend’s success to others and become a super promoter of goodwill. Paul says, “It’s proven that the more you think and speak positively about something, the more likely you are to actually FEEL more positive.” So while there’s a tad bit of self-interest involved, your friend is sure to appreciate having you in her support squad.
5. Be inspired! Use your friend’s exciting milestones as inspiration to go after your own. “Find one way that your friend’s success can motivate you to work on some personal goal or to do something positive for yourself or others,” says Paul. “Then thank your friend for inspiring you to make a meaningful step forward in your own life.” If your friend has something you want that’s completely unattainable for you, find something you CAN do and channel your energy toward it.