Dear Stavroula

Ask Stavroula: I Envy My Friend’s Success

Dear Stavroula,

I have a friend for many years, who is a great person and has stood by me in many ways. She recently made a big change in her career, started her own business and gained made great financial gains in a relatively short period of time. Since then I feel uncomfortable when I am with her. While I love her and want the best for her, at the same time I feel that I envy her, and I am angry with the fact that everything came to her so easily and conveniently, because she had the right acquaintances, while I have achieved what I have achieved with a huge struggle. What bothers me the most is that I get this negative feeling when I am with her, especially when she tells me her news, her successes. I have caught myself commenting to her to tone down her joy and every time I realize it I feel even worse, I feel like I am a bad person. I do not know how I can handle all this and overcome it and I would like your help.



Dear Nicoletta,

Jealousy is an unpleasant emotion that warns us that we are in danger of losing something of our own or that we do not have something that is important to us, and helps to mobilize us to avoid the negative consequences of this loss or lack thereof.

However, although jealousy is a human and normal emotion, when it manifests itself intensely towards a particular person it can often mask the feeling of individual disadvantage, as it relates to the way we have learned to evaluate ourselves, to the standards we use to compare ourselves with others and determine our value. So if one has the model of financial comfort and quick success, one can feel jealous of the success of someone else who has achieved those things. And this feeling can become very torturous, because in reality it can reveal individual failure, unfulfilled dreams, insecurities, and prevailing fears. Many times, behind the jealousy one feels there is a hidden anger towards oneself for what one thought one could achieve or have and did not succeed.

Maybe something similar happens in your case. The first and foremost step is to accept what you are feeling without blaming yourself and try to understand what is behind that feeling. What is it that makes you so jealous, what do you feel you are missing and why is it important to you. Is it something you really want to have? If so, what do you think has stopped you?

At the same time, it may help to try to better understand yourself and to stop comparing what you have achieved with what others have achieved. Each of us has personal talents, abilities but also weaknesses. You achieve more when you realize what they are and cultivate the former, while limiting the latter. Comparison is fruitful and only makes sense when it comes to ourselves. Only when one accepts who he is and considers what he has achieved and in what way, can he proceed further in his pursuits, as long as his ambitions meet his real needs and possibilities.

It is also important to be able to appreciate what you have and choose to focus on it, instead of what you lack. Gradually, you will live your life more consciously and with greater joy. Gratitude increases the feeling of happiness and reduces the unpleasant feeling of jealousy.

As for the comments you make to your friend, it is important that you are aware of this behavior. This will make it easier for you to deal with it. One way is to think about why you want to say something negative and what lies behind it for you.

Another way is to change your perspective. You are lucky enough to meet a person who has succeeded in her life. How many things you could learn from this meeting! Talk to your friend, ask her honestly what helped her to develop professionally, what virtues she cultivated, what strategies she followed. Ask her to advise you, follow her steps and suggestions for ideas that can help you.

The people around us, in our environment are the ones who help us evolve in many different ways. In your case, it is as if your neighbor is building a great house on the street where you live. The neighborhood is beautified, upgraded, and at the same time the value of your home increases.


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