It goes a little something like this: your best friend goes on an amazing trip to Europe, you graciously “like” all of her Instagram photos, but you’re seething with jealousy. Or your cousin had all of her education paid for by her parents, and you think she’s a spoiled brat for it. Jealousy comes up a lot, especially when we take money into consideration. It’s totally natural, but it can also make you start resenting your loved ones.
So not only will you be jealous, but then you’ll be pissed off at your favorite people for their circumstances, and then you’ll probably feel bad for feeling that way. It’s not a great cycle to find yourself in, and there are ways to work through it.
When you’re constantly comparing your own life against others’, you can forget how fortunate you already are. Take a moment to look at your life instead of your friends’ and see what you’re most grateful for. Make a list of all the things you’re lucky or privileged to have. This doesn’t have to only apply to things related to money. Make a list of every single thing you’re grateful for. It could be as simple as the delicious coffee you drank this morning.
Practicing gratitude rewires your brain to look for the positive, rather than focusing on the negative. It also takes your mind off of what you don’t have and allows you to focus on what you do. This is an especially helpful task if you suffer from anxiety or depression.
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What are the three things you’re most grateful for today?
Get Off Social Media
I love social media as much as the next person, but it absolutely has a way of making me feel inadequate. Don’t forget: most of us are only showing our highlight reels. We aren’t showing the days that aren’t going so well. So it’s easy to feel like everyone else has it all figured out and has everything they want when you’re only seeing what they want you to see.
If you find yourself getting jealous or resentful of your friends, or feeling inadequate yourself, get off social media! Take social media breaks throughout the day or week. Not only will you feel less jealous of your friends, but you’ll probably notice an improvement in your overall mental health.
Have a Conversation
You never know what is actually going on in someone’s life unless you ask them. Your friend who doesn’t have any student loan debt is fortunate, but she might have medical debt you don’t know about. Your friend who had a lavish European vacation may have saved up for that trip for years before she could finally go. Or they might be struggling with things that have nothing to do with money!
No one’s life is perfect, and it’s important to have perspective. But you can never understand someone else if you just watch them from afar.
It’s also important to talk about your own life. Sharing your financial limitations or stresses will make you feel less alone, and you might even learn something about your friends that you weren’t aware of. More people are struggling than you might expect, and opening up conversations about that will make us all more honest and connected.
Analyze Your Own Life
What is it about your friends’ lives that you’re jealous of? It’s important to ask yourself this question. Perhaps it is signaling something that is missing from your own life. Maybe it can be used as motivation to get your own financial situation in order.
If you want to be traveling or buying nice things, you need to plan and save for that. What kinds of changes might you need to make in order to make your life into one that you really want?
This exercise might also show you that you’re jealous for no good reason. If your friends are doing things that you have no interest in, like buying a house, then there’s no reason to not just be completely happy for them. So get clear on what you actually want and either make changes or let that jealousy go.
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