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Candid Conversations

Spirituality | Mental Health | Personal Growth

Candid Conversations

 Mental Health | Personal Growth | Wellness

When Envy Strikes: How to Cope with Jealousy and Comparisons in Your Close Relationships as an Adult

* Note: while there is a distinction between envy and jealousy- will be using the two terms interchangeably in the post.*


Today's post is for the times when you see others close to you moving on to milestones that you wish you had, making you feel like you are falling behind.


First things, first. Know that you are not a "bad person" for having these feelings. Jealousy and envy are often paired with a sense of shame or embarrassment because growing up, we're taught that it's wrong to have these feelings towards others.


To further complicate matters, the closer your relationship is with the person who triggers your jealousy, the stronger the sting. The effects of envy aren't as strong when we see a stranger with the things that we want. Unfortunately, jealousy tends to have the greatest impact when it's a close friend, family member, colleague or even partner acquiring the things you wish you had. And, of course, this complicates things because, on top of feeling envious, which is an uncomfortable emotion in and of itself, you may also feel guilty or ashamed.

If this has been your experience, remember that:

  • Emotions are complicated and layered. You can feel happy and excited for your loved one's accomplishments while also feeling sad and a sense of longing for yourself.

  • You are not alone and this experience is more common than you might think. Because of the shame that is often attached to the emotion, most people keep their feelings of envy to themselves. But just because it's not talked about freely does not mean it is uncommon. Everyone has their fair share of this experience at various points in their lives. You are not a bad person, friend, family member or partner for feeling the way you do.


So what should you do the next time you feel envy or jealousy coming to the surface? Here is a three-step process I generally practice with clients.



3 Steps to Coping with Jealousy, Envy and Commpasirons.


1. Practice Compassion

The first step is to acknowledge, validate and hold some compassion for your experience. Remember, envy tends to be most potent when triggered by the people you're closest to, so don't feel ashamed if seeing a loved one accomplish milestones you wish you had creates a sense of sadness for yourself.



2. Non-Judgmentally Explore What Your Jealousy is Trying to Tell You

Like with any other emotion, your jealousy is trying to tell you something, so at this step, you'll want to get to the core of what's being triggered. Envy often signals one of the following three things:

  • An unmet need, desire or goal

  • An insecurity

  • An unaddressed hurt or unhealed wound from the past



3. Act On Your Insight

After you've identified what's being triggered, the next step is to take action. This could mean working on accomplishing the unmet goal, addressing the identified insecurity or healing past wounds.


Note: Gaining insight and holding compassion for yourself are two essential steps that I recommend you take before moving on to the action stage. If you skip the first two steps, you risk acting from a place of judgement, competition, or compensation for not having or being enough.


Taking these first two steps before acting makes you more likely to move forward from a place of acceptance and understanding. Here the energy also shifts from one of competition and playing catch up to one of intrinsic growth, healing and personal development.




Pro Tip: don't try to do this all in your head.

I highly recommend that you write this out or speak this through with another person. Speaking with a professional would be most helpful here because we are trained in helping you get to the core of your emotions and in taking effective action on your insights.


As a therapist and life coach, I provide a warm, relaxed and non-judgemental space for you to explore your thoughts and any challenging emotions you may experience (such as jealousy and envy).


If you're interested in learning more, I invite you to book a complimentary 15-minute consultation. During this time, we'll discuss what's going on for you now and explore whether counselling or coaching could be a good fit.

You can do that by clicking here.


See you around,

Jenine
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About the Author

Jenine Shaw, M.A. is a Certified Coach and Qualifying Psychotherapist who works with adults experiencing anxiety, stress and burnout. 

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