Let’s talk about jealousy. I hate this feeling. In a way, it’s almost worse than being sad or upset because it’s like you’re doing it to yourself and yet you can’t stop it from coming on. It’s frustrating.
But you know what? We ALL experience it. Yes, it’s annoying. Yes, it can teeter into unhealthy territory. But it IS normal. You aren’t going to completely rid yourself of jealousy. That’s like asking yourself to stop being human. Not gonna happen!
When it comes to jealousy, I think it’s important to:
A) acknowledge it exists and
B) learn how to work through it.
I’ve noticed that in friendships, jealousies can arise in such weird ways. It’s like when we see our friend hanging out with someone new and feel that sting of betrayal. Even though like OF COURSE IT’S NOT BETRAYAL! Your friend can have other friends! But jealousy isn’t very level-headed. Jealousy just reacts. Jealousy just feels.
There are also some friendships where a certain level of competition exists. It’s left unsaid, of course. No one actually admits to it. I mean, Facebook “humble brags” anyone?
When you see your high school friend get a job promotion, get engaged, buy a new house, or lose a bunch of weight – you’re supposed to feel happy for them, but somehow you feel like you’re in a competition with them to be better. Why? I don’t think we want to feel this way, we just do. So the next question is…how do we combat it?
Jealousy in itself is not necessarily a problem. It becomes a problem when it causes you to act out or when you sit and wallow in it. Try to think of jealousy like a balloon floating by. You can see it. There’s no denying it’s right there. But it’s not permanent. It’s okay to say, “Yep, it’s here right now. I’m feeling jealous.” But then allow it to continue floating on. Don’t make it your entire focus. Let it go.
Another thing you can do and…hear me out, okay? You can talk about it with your friend. Mhm. Sounds scary! But sometimes when we speak about the stuff that is bothering us, we take away some of its power. You might be surprised. If you can talk about your feelings, as irrational and ridiculous as they might be, it can help you work through them. It might even bring you closer to your friend because it’s a level of intimacy and honesty!
I have a story for you. Years ago when I was just getting my foot in the group fitness door, I was auditioning at a bunch of gyms trying to secure a job as a Pilates instructor. I remember going through my very first audition at Equinox and praying every night that I would get hired. It was my dream. They only took the best in the industry. I waited weeks for an answer. Then I found out through a short email that I had been rejected. They said I wasn’t ready.
Meanwhile, my younger sister was auditioning at another top level gym and found out that she got the job. I cannot tell you HOW MUCH I HATED feeling jealous of her. How come I couldn’t be happy for my sister? I love her so much, would never want her to not achieve her dreams, yet – I couldn’t genuinely be proud of her.
You see, this story shows that jealously comes from a place of feeling less than. And you know what? “Less than” is simply a state of mind. I didn’t not feel whole, so I could not give from my empty heart.
So how did I fix my state of mind? I talked it out. I talked to Sam and he set me straight. He told me I sounded silly and that if I didn’t want to feel jealous I should work harder and ace the Equinox audition next year. So that’s exactly what I did. When I started to focus my energy on getting better, my emptiness filled with hope and happiness. And then, I was no longer jealous of my little sister. I now had a full heart to pour genuine love from.
And guess what, I also ended up telling her I was jealous of her and we laughed it out. She thought it was the most ridiculous yet flattering thing. See – talking helps. It’s healing. You just gotta be truthful.
Look, jealousy is exhausting. But know that it IS normal. The trick is not letting it consume us. We need to acknowledge it and quickly get over it!
How do you deal with jealousy? Have you had any friendships where jealousy was a big issue?