One night I was scrolling through good old Facebook when I came across a friend of a friend of a friend. (Yes, it was that kind of night.) She was just fascinating, so allow me to share what my train of thought was like as I “stalked” her:
This girl is so pretty. And skinny. Wait … she published a book! [Checks out her LinkedIn page.] OMG she’s got a Masters and a PhD and she’s a professor at [insert prestigious school here – not divulging for sake of privacy] teaching [a super cool, TV-worthy subject]! [Goes to her website.] Wow, what an amazing website. OMG and she was featured on TV in several legit news channels, too! AND she’s currently on a book tour to promote her new book! WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE???
My tanned tropical tone turned a deeper shade of green with every click and every scroll until I was practically the Hulk! I was looking back at my life and asking myself “what didn’t I do this instead of that?” It was a very toxic environment until I finally, and thankfully, snapped out of it.
Yes, I know it is toxic to compare myself to others and that there is always going to be someone who is prettier, smarter, fitter, and/or more successful in their career than I am. But I can’t help it! And you know most of you out there are guilty as well. So why don’t we turn that feeling into something constructive instead of whatever happened up there ^
First of all, I researched extensively on the topic. Just kidding, I Googled “jealousy vs. envy.” According to Psychology Today:
Envy occurs when we lack a desired attribute enjoyed by another.
Jealousy occurs when something we already possess (usually a special relationship) is threatened by a third person
And so envy is a two-person situation whereas jealousy is a three-person situation. Envy is a reaction to lacking something. Jealousy is a reaction to the threat of losing something (usually someone).
Aha! Contrary to this blog title, I was not jelly, I was envious. Step 1 to recovery is admitting you have a problem. And Step 2 to recovery is helping other through it. Not really – I just needed a good transition to my advice on how to turn that green-eyed monster into something constructive 🙂
1. Reflect on your life and be grateful. Look at where you came from. Look at how much you’ve accomplished. Not bad, right? There is no reason you need to be envious of this other person who clearly had a different life and different opportunities to begin with. Be thankful for where you are now and for all the challenges you tackled to make you, you.
2. Review your plan for a successful future and have faith in it. If you don’t have a plan, make one! Create a BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) and steps to accomplish it. Even if you don’t accomplish it in your lifetime, you’ve made the necessary steps towards it and guaranteed you would have done something amazing or created something wonderful during the journey.
3. Connect with this person and become friends with them. Sure, it may be painful at first since you were probably wishing the worst on this person the first time you came across their Instagram profile. Then it’s a little intimidating because you’re thinking they’re out of your league! But you need to surround yourself with people who are better than you in order to grow. Learn from them and get inspired by them. Make deep connections by giving and receiving life hacks, lessons, and other connections to widen your network. If you’re constantly finding yourself the smartest person in the room, you’re doing it wrong.
Unfortunately I did not become BFF’s with my new girl- crush up there (seeing as she’s from a different country), but I learned to respect her and am now rooting for her, which feels a lot better than the green toxic pool I was initially wading in. The next time you’re feeling “so jelly”, relax and take a breather (and get off social media). Everyone gets a little envious sometimes, but you can quickly turn it around into something positive and productive 🙂