You’re Jeal­ous of Your Friend’s Suc­cess—What Do You Do?

Maria Luedeke, psychother­apist and Direc­tor of As­pire Coun­selling, breaks it down for us.

CLEO (Singapore) - - CONTENTS -

of course you love your friend, but...

De­spite your best ef­forts to be sup­port­ive, pesky thoughts like “why isn’t this me?” and “I kind of hope some­thing doesn’t work out” might creep in when they achieve some­thing awe­some.

Ac­cord­ing to Maria, there could be a few fac­tors at play—the first be­ing that you may start to feel like you have less things to bond over.

“You may not have as many things in com­mon to talk about if you’re in dif­fer­ent stages of life—be it pro­fes­sional (i.e., your friend gets a big pro­mo­tion at work and is sud­denly trav­el­ling and hob­nob­bing with a dif­fer­ent crowd) or per­sonal (i.e., your friend gets en­gaged and is sud­denly swept up in plan­ning her wed­ding, hav­ing en­gage­ment par­ties and be­ing in­tro­duced to new fam­ily/ friends of her fu­ture spouse).” Naturally, this re­sults in her hav­ing less time to spend with you.

“An­other com­po­nent is feel­ing like you’re just not mea­sur­ing up to [the same] mea­sure of ‘suc­cess’ ei­ther of your own con­struct or so­ci­ety’s con­struct.

For ex­am­ple, you may have set a goal to be a man­ager by 30, or mar­ried by 28, and if your friend achieves it and you don’t, you may feel in­fe­rior and that can cause re­sent­ment,” Maria adds.

Get­ting over it

Ac­cep­tance is usu­ally the first step to get­ting rid of those neg­a­tive emo­tions—not to men­tion the guilt that’s tied to feel­ing bit­ter about your friends’ achieve­ments.

“Be­ing hu­man means ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the whole gamut of emo­tions, some of them not al­ways pretty. But ad­mit­ting you’re hu­man, iden­ti­fy­ing the emo­tion and then ad­mit­ting that it’s a log­i­cal re­ac­tion to the thoughts you’re hav­ing is help­ful,” says Maria.

Once you iden­tify the thoughts caus­ing the neg­a­tiv­ity, you can be­gin to re­frame them in a more pos­i­tive light and take con­trol of your emo­tions. Maria rec­om­mends “shift­ing jeal­ousy and re­fo­cus­ing on your own goals and achieve­ments” and be­ing hon­est with your friend. Ad­mit­ting how you feel to your­self—and to her—can help the both of you ad­just to the new cir­cum­stances. It might not be an easy con­ver­sa­tion, but some­times, it’s nec­es­sary.

“If you’re wor­ried that your friend’s pro­mo­tion will mean that you’ll be ex­cluded from her new so­cial cir­cle… make a plan to stay con­nected,” says Maria.

Bet­ter your­self

Think about what you can do to help your­self feel hap­pier at your own job. You may be tak­ing your ca­reer and priv­i­lege for granted. If that isn’t the case, you’ll need to muster the courage to quit and look for some­thing bet­ter.

“There is usu­ally at least one driv­ing force be­hind why we have cho­sen to do the jobs we do: the money, the con­nec­tions we make, the path­way it leads to, the en­vi­ron­ment and co-work­ers, or a great boss,” says Maria.

If you go to sleep dread­ing go­ing to work in the morn­ing, feel mis­er­able through­out the day, and re­turn home in a foul mood, then it’s time to re­flect on what’s hold­ing you back from get­ting a new job. If fear is the cul­prit, Maria says your re­sent­ment could be at­trib­uted to the fact that you don’t feel “good enough” to take the risks your friends do.

Her ad­vice?

“Life is short and work should ei­ther be the means to us en­joy­ing our best life, or a part of our life’s pur­pose. For a lucky few, it can be both, but [how we think about our jobs] lies within each of us… and as a re­sult, how we feel about our jobs [is some­thing we con­trol].”

“BE­ING HU­MAN MEANS EX­PE­RI­ENC­ING THE WHOLE GAMUT OF EMO­TIONS, SOME OF THEM NOT AL­WAYS PRETTY.”

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