Ask an Expert: I’m Jealous of My Friends’ Successes. How Do I Cope? - Deepstash
Navigate Office Politics

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How to build positive relationships with colleagues and superiors

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Navigate Office Politics

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Understand envy

Understand envy

Not all envy is bad. There is healthy envy (applauding envy) and unhealthy envy (resenting envy.)

  • Resenting envy refers to the tendency to believe that others shouldn’t have something just because we don’t have it. It’s rooted in fear. We may start to believe that for us to be successful, someone else has to fail.
  • Applauding envy, helps us understand that our friends’ achievements don’t prevent our own successes. This doesn’t mean we pretend that we aren’t jealous or sad. Rather, it refers to our ability to acknowledge conflicting emotions: We can be sad for ourselves and happy for our friends.


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Feel your emotions

Allow yourself to experience your envy fully, process it, and work through it. Begin by naming your feelings.

  • Envy can be accompanied by embarrassment, disappointment, sadness, anger, or regret — so be as specific as possible. The goal here is to pay attention to your emotions without shame or judgment when they show up.
  • Remember that there are no good or bad emotions, and no emotion is permanent. Every emotional experience is an opportunity for you to gather information about your deep-seated needs and desires — and eventually, use that information to guide your actions.


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Reflect on what you really want

Once you acknowledge, label, and validate your emotions, let them guide you to explore the motivations and fears driving them.

Think about what these rejections mean to you. While this self-reflection will not be an easy task, working through your feelings and understanding what really matters to you will inform what you do next. 

For instance, you may find that you feel jealous of your friend’s opportunity to learn new things, maybe more than the fact that they got into a top school. The former is something you have control over.


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