By: Kalyn Wilson
Have you ever looked at the girl next to you and asked yourself why her and not me? That salty sting of jealousy rested on your heart, whether it was traced with ill-will or not.
Ever battled this feeling with your own, close friend? It’s probably one of the most uncomfortable feelings, struggling to leave your negative feelings out of their positive picture.
I know someone - who may or may not be me - who has stared in the eyes of her best friends on numerous occasions with a torn heart. One part of this girl was warm with happiness for her friends, but the other part was weighed down with confusion, sadness and...jealousy.
One of the most interesting things about life is that we have different journeys, no matter how much we all “relate” to each other. Despite running separate races, we’ve managed to make it easier by running our races with others by our sides as support. The problem arises when the person next to us, who is often a best friend, sometimes “wins” a little sooner or more simply than we do.
The jealousy complex arises here: we’re elated that our friends conquered that feat in her journey, but we wonder why someone we’ve been running alongside happened to make it out before we did. It’s all a product of the the danger of comparison.
I’m not talking about envy, which does still arise in this predicament, just with some other connotations. I’m talking about the suspicion and resentment that comes with seeing another have what you want. And I’m most specifically talking about the guilt that comes when you feel this towards someone you care about.
How do you handle this? It begins with you.
First, look at the situation. Is she succeeding in a class you’re struggling in? Is she getting job offers while you’re fighting for an interview? Is she in a fairytale relationship while you struggle for a date? Pay attention to the underlying message that the issue is suggesting: you may be feeling inadequate or overlooked.
Next, work on reversing those truths and changing your thoughts. Just because it happened for someone doesn’t mean that it can’t happen for you. Like I said before, everyone’s different. There may be lessons you still need to learn, obstacles to overcome or changes that need to be made before your next goal can be reached. Also, instead of letting her success make you feel bad, let it encourage you. Seeing her succeed should serve as testimony, and maybe you can even learn from her how to get these things, too. Remember, it’s not a competition. There’s room for everybody at the top.
Lastly, don’t make it about you. If you were the one with the new job or great boyfriend, you’d want your friends to be happy for you. Even if you have to admit to your friend that it’s making you feel kind of jealous, do that. It’s better than holding it in and potentially taking it out on them in a bad way. Sometimes, we have to be selfless and supportive, which is easier if you change your thinking and remind yourself that your time is coming as well.
This is how last weekend, in the gentleness of the crisp autumn air, I managed to look into my friend’s eyes and said, “I’m so happy for you. You deserve this.” And it warmed my heart because I meant what I said.
After she smiled back at me, I thought to myself I deserve it too, and I’m going to get it one day. That granted me the peace I needed to be happy for my friend and rid myself of any jealousy.
Now, as I continue running by her and all my other friends’ sides, I am reminded not to compare where we are, because when she wins, it doesn’t mean I lost. If anything, her victory is mine, too. It’s about believing in your dreams strongly enough to put your feelings aside and be happy for your friend.
You never know, you could get carried away in relishing over your friend’s happiness when yours comes walking by - something that probably couldn’t happen if you were too busy hanging your head in jealousy.