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When I was in college, I had one friend I absolutely hated.
A was better than me in everything. His grades were always higher than mine. Although he never seemed to study! A owned better gadgets and drove a nicer car. Worst of all, he was popular with the ladies. Including the girl I had a crush on at the time.
I don’t think A ever knew I felt this way about him. I was always polite to his face. Deep inside, however, just looking at him made me feel bitter. A, on the other hand, was always nice to me. He never bragged or showed off. Just his being there, always rubbing his wonderful life in my face, made me hate him.
After graduation, me and A went our separate ways. I never saw him again. At the time, I was glad he was out of my life. Now, I feel a bit regretful. We had a lot of similar interests and could have been good friends.
THE SAGA CONTINUES
A may have left my life, but my envy remained. I became a writer, and I became envious of other writers doing better than me. Every time someone else got hired to a fancy newspaper or got a short story published, I died a little bit inside.
It’s so unfair, I would think to myself. That idiot can barely spell his own name correctly. How come he gets so lucky? I bet he got in through connections. He doesn’t deserve to be there!
And what made everything worse? Social media. Open your Facebook or Instagram, and you’ll be bombarded by image after image of people with better lives than you. Flexing their perfect six-packs in front of their new BMWs. A glorious Hawaiian sunset in the background.
Soon, I realized I had a problem. My envy was toxic. It made me angry and resentful towards other people, many of whom had no hostility towards me whatsoever. Most of all, it made me hate myself. At one point, I remember wondering if I had been cursed or something. What was wrong with me? How was it that everyone was succeeding EXCEPT me?
A PROBLEM FROM WITHIN
And that’s the root of envy. Yes, it’s triggered by other people. But It comes from a deep insecurity about yourself. If you’re satisfied with what you have, it doesn’t matter if your neighbour has fifty times more money than you. In fact, you can even feel happy for him.
Envy is an endlessly hungry monster that can never be satisfied. If you are envious of another guy’s MyVi, you won’t be happy getting your own MyVi. You will start being envious of another guy’s Honda. Then another guy’s Jaguar. It never ends.
DEALING WITH THE GREEN-EYED MONSTER
a. Acknowledge your feelings
In some ways, this is the most important step. Recognizing these feelings, instead of burying or denying them, is the first step to counter them. Feeling envy does not automatically make you a bad person. Usually, this feeling comes from a lack of something of in your life. Are you craving deeper friendships, perhaps? Or to feel appreciated? Identifying this could help a lot.
b. Recognize your blessings
Realize that no matter how your life is, you have something to be thankful for. Everyone has different privileges and handicaps. Who knows, some other people may be jealous of something you have!
c. Realize that everyone has their own struggles
There’s a famous saying: don’t compare your Behind The Scenes to another person’s Greatest Hits showcase. Some people look successful, but you don’t know the hardships they had to face to get where they are now.
d. Try genuinely feeling happy for others
Yes, this can be hard. Remember though, just because someone else succeeds, doesn’t mean you can’t. In fact, the fact that they succeeded means its possible for you to achieve it too.
e. Appreciate yourself
Realize that you are a special and wonderful person, awesome in your own way. You will forge your own path to happiness. All envy does is cripple you and your friendships. You don’t need it in your life.
Are you an envious person? Let us know in the comments!
For more articles like this, read: I Quit Following Influencers on Instagram – And My Self-Esteem Has Never Been Better and Why Changing My Weight Didn’t Fix My Self-Esteem — Loving Myself Did.