How to Know What Your Feelings Are Communicating If You Can’t Stop Being Jealous of Your Friends

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Case study: Say you envy your best friend for everything — from her achievements to her beauty. You might even share a great bond, but you’re still having a hard time and constantly comparing yourself to her. Whenever you go out, guys hit on her, or some of them even approach you just to get close to her, and that makes you feel completely overlooked. You even know this is not healthy, but you really don’t know how to stop these feelings, and can’t tell your friend or anyone how massively this insecurities are and eating at your mental health. Maybe you don’t have friends aside from your precious friend… Whether this speaks to you or not, dealing with jealousy does make you uncomfortable and guilt, does that make you a bad person or friend?

 


The answer is NO, We’re all guilty of it. Envying your friends doesn’t mean you’re a bad friend, it only means you’re human. Friendships, even the best of them, are messy — they are uplifting and reassuring but that doesn’t mean they will be devoid of tension, or jealousies. We’re all guilty of comparing ourselves to others from time to time, even though we know it’s a sure shot way of losing some of our self-esteem.

But at the core of this is the emotional pain associated with being left out. That emotional pain often shows up as envy. At its core, envy is the recognition that you want something that you lack or that others have. 

It can be unbearable and overwhelming…

We all have a deep need to feel like we belong. It’s in our DNA and it’s super important for our health, happiness, and who we are.

When we feel like we’re not fitting in — like when we’re left out at work, not invited to lunch with our friends, or treated unfairly — it hurts. This emotional pain is just as real as physical pain. Our brains see it as a threat and our natural instinct is to either fight back or run away (like ending a friendship or thinking someone’s success is just luck).

Feeling jealous or envious might be our way of dealing with that pain. And that’s totally okay. It’s just our body saying something isn’t right. If we pay attention to these feelings, we can learn more about what we need and want emotionally, and find better ways to get it.

On the Bright Side, Experiencing Envy Helps to Sort Out Your Feelings

While it’s good to not overthink whenever this feeling pops up, it is equally important to nail down the source of your envy. The more you ignore, the more these insecurities might grow and could, eventually, affect the bond you share with your friends.

Envy usually accompanies anger, disappointment, sadness, embarrassment, or regret — so be as specific as possible. The goal here is to pay attention to your feelings without shame or judgment when they show up. Looking at emotions through the lens of emotional intelligence, every feeling carries valuable information. They act as cues, signals, telling us something important.

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That’s to say, there are no good or bad emotions, and no emotion is permanent. Yes, some emotions are certainly more pleasant than others to experience, but none of them are wrong.

Just like Psychology Today puts it, “Let’s challenge ourselves to seek out the value of our emotions.”

Every emotional experience is an opportunity to gather information about your deep-seated needs and desires — and eventually, use that information to guide your actions. 

A prolonged envying of others could lead to believing that others shouldn’t have something just because you don’t have it, indicating there’s an underlying issue unaddressed. This reaction is what leads to feelings of resentment toward your friends, and even romantic relationships, and that often leads to more anxiety and stress in your body because it’s rooted in fear. You may start to believe that for us to be successful, someone else has to fail—leading you down the road you may not want to resort to in the first place.

On the other hand, you can envy your friends and still believe in possibility. This type of envy helps to understand that your friends’ achievements don’t prevent your own successes. You don’t have to pretend that you’re not jealous or sad. This just reflects your ability to acknowledge conflicting emotions.

Yes you can be sad for yourself and happy for your friends. This feels difficult, especially if you’re feeling resentful at the moment, but you can choose to shift your perspective and use this envy to help you move forward.

Reflect, Work, Reflect 

Once you’ve recognized, named, and accepted your feelings, let them guide you to dig deeper into what’s behind them.

Think about why these rejections sting. What hurts you the most? Are you afraid of letting your family down? Does it make you feel embarrassed to be around friends who seem more successful? When you feel ignored around your friend, is it because others pay more attention to her or because she makes you feel invisible?

What specifically makes you envious of your friends’ accomplishments? Is it their ability to make new connections or the attention they receive?

It might be tempting to say “all of the above,” but the more you can understand what these rejections mean to you, the clearer your path forward will be.

Write down your thoughts about rejection on paper, and be as honest and detailed as possible. Take some time to reflect on your words and look for any recurring themes. Do certain emotions come up repeatedly? What does that tell you?

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This self-reflection might not be easy, but it’s important. Understanding your feelings and what truly matters to you will help guide your next steps. For example, working through your feelings might help you realize that you’re more jealous of your friend’s booming relationship than of the attention she gets from other guys. The former is something you can control and work on changing.

Take Action

Now that you have identified your needs, you’re now aware that this jealousy is stemming from your own insecurities. It’s time to think about healthy and meaningful ways to pursue them. 

You might need to spend more time introspecting, and try to stop seeing yourself in your friend’s shadow, but as your own individual. 

It won’t happen overnight, but when you start valuing yourself, the validation you seek from others ceases to hold as much sway.

Paying closer attention to this emotional state can help you learn about your emotional needs and desires, and find new ways to achieve them.

Here’s how to get started.

01

Do Some Inner Works

Being attractive and pretty is no doubt a booster.

But your friends, family and your lover will love you for who you are and not just for how you look. 

A lot of women believe that men are only attracted to  beautiful women, but that’s not the case. All the smart level headed men I know look for confident women. Particularly, someone who would make them feel comfortable. 

Work on Your Insecurities

“I always had to deal with negative thoughts of not being appreciated or not being heard.” 

These are just insecurities in your mind. They unnecessarily make you push yourself to prove your credibility to people. Instead, work with the correct frame of mind, give your 100% and people will know what you are worth compared to just a pretty face. 

Yes, lots of people place emphasis on beauty, but, these people all have their period where they “aim high” and then they quickly get tired of it. What people really want is a connection. Good energy matters. The humor matters. The personality matters. No one wants to be close to people who can’t hold a conversation when the average looking person is right there having a good time.

Once you feel good about yourself, you will stop caring what people think about you. 

02

Brushing Up Your Appearance is nice, But is Yourself

Some people are going to be immediately attracted to you. Some people are not, no matter what changes happen with your body. If you want genuine attraction, anything beyond that casual head-turn that is such a commonly-spent currency, you need to bring yourself – your genuine self – to the table. Do so confidently, happily, and freely. Albeit you can’t get there without loving yourself. 

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And of course, that also requires putting effort into looking good too. Style your hair. Work out if needed (for example, you might want to lose excess weight you gained from binge eating your way out of cycles of depression). Dress well for your body, smile, and try to engage others in conversation, show genuine interest in meeting new people, and ask important questions.

03

Talk to Your Friends

Why not discuss it with your friends? If you don’t feel comfortable telling them the jealous part, you can ask for advice on what to improve and how since they seem to get things right and also they know you better than anyone. There are always things that can be improved. You may not be able to control some things about yourself but you can control your diet, exercise, clothing, hairstyle, and most importantly work on your character traits. Another icing on the cake is to surround yourself with people whose camaraderie makes you feel better about yourself, that really helps, too.

Closing Thoughts

We live in a culture that makes it almost impossible to avoid comparing ourselves to others. But what’s important is not to become slaves to our insecurities and not to inflict unnecessary damage on ourselves or our relationships.

It’s funny how we all envy each other at some point in our lives, and I’m not immune to this. Dealing with my own envy in the past, I was somehow able to open up to a close friend in college and then to a few of my other female friends about some of my insecurities. I found that we’re all just watching each other and assuming every other woman has it better when it comes to life matters and relationships. I would think “Only Katy…” while they were thinking “Only Grace…” And that’s not to say we’re bad or ungrateful, but I think we’ve been given such unrealistic expectations of what “should” complete us, and we’re encouraged to be competitive, that we can’t see our own gifts. The fact is, I have mine, and I always have. I’ve had amazing relationships and incredible friendships, as well as messy ones. The friends I’m jealous of for stability are jealous of me for my adventures.

If this resonates with you, you’re going to figure it out someday, I promise.

Still, I’ve always wondered why I judge myself every day by these standards I don’t even care about. And I’m not too big to admit I’m still learning to re-narrate things that don’t matter, giving myself credit where it’s due, and stop prioritizing things that don’t even serve me. The fact is that writing on topics that move me makes me just as happy as meeting new people.

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