My girlfriend just got a new laptop. It's a small Ultrabook that basically is the same spec as my laptop except it has a nice chrome finish, a better graphics card and a touch screen interface. It's running Windows 8, so that means she can use this new input to take advantage of all the gestures and apps that are based around touch. Oh and it's much slimmer and lighter than mine too.
In other words, I'm not happy. This is not the natural order of things: I am the man, the geek no-less, and I work from home all day long writing articles and programming apps. It should be me who has the latest all-singing all-dancing computer, and especially seeing she's unlikely to make much use of everything hers can do anyway.
Of course I'm not really all that jealous – I play it up for her benefit because I'm nice like that. But the green eyed monster nevertheless is a very real demon that many of us face, and almost everyone has at some point found themselves struggling because their friends have moved into a much bigger home, or had an impressive salary increase. Surely this kind of reaction isn't nice, and it can even drive a wedge between you and the people you're closest to. So how do you deal with this kind of jealousy and avoid letting it consume you? Here we will look at some tips that can help.
Focus on Your Own Goals
Being jealous of someone else can often make you want things that in reality you have no use for and have never wanted in the past – which can actually be detrimental to accomplishing your goals. Try to focus on the things you want out of life rather than getting too caught up in what other people are trying to accomplish.
If anything, seeing someone else achieve something should be an incentive to try harder yourself and in that way it can be inspirational or motivational rather than jealousy inducing. If you are jealous of someone then often you will be jealous of their results and their accomplishments, but they won't have always been in that position and they probably had to work to get there. Recognise this, and remember that with the same work you can accomplish the same things. And if your nose is out of joint because they got lucky then that's immaterial – if you're so much more deserving then you just need to work smarter to accomplish your aims.
Many psychologists believe that comparing ourselves to others is one of the quickest ways to become dissatisfied with what we have and thus unhappy. Instead of comparing yourself to someone who has what you want then, instead compare yourself to someone who has less. By doing this you should be able to get back some perspective and thus feel more grateful for what you have rather than being bitter about what you don't. Even if you aren't comparing yourself to those in a worse off position, just thinking about the things you are thankful for and that you've already accomplished can remind you that you have no reason to be jealous. It might even be that they're actually jealous of you too in other ways!
Be Happy for Them
At the same time you should also find you are able to feel less bitter by focusing on the positive aspect of just how happy they will be. Think about your friend and all the nice things they've done for/with you, and then this should make you happy by extension.
What can also help here if you're struggling to empathise is to think about how you might benefit from their newfound fortune. If they're richer then think about the nice things you'll be able to do together, and if they've just bought an amazing house then think about what a great hangout that could make for you and any mutual friends.
Keep it to Yourself
At the end of the day though, you might find that however hard you try you can't help but wishing your positions were reversed. If you find you're still jealous despite your best efforts then the only thing to remember is to keep that feeling to yourself – smile, nod and take an interest in what they're doing and recognize that your jealousy is out of order and not a valid reason to be unhappy. If you say anything detrimental or avoid your friend then you will sour what should be a very happy occasion for them, and this is what will potentially put a strain on your relationship and cause negative obsessions in your own life.