You find yourself thinking:

  • They don’t deserve this.
  • They think they are superior to me.
  • They are superior to me.
  • I can’t stand being around them.
  • I hope they fail.

And then-

  • This reflects how inferior I am.
  • I keep falling behind.
  • People will look at me like I am a loser.
  • I could have done that.

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Why It Doesn’t Feel Good When Someone Else Succeeds

psychologytoday.com

1. Depressive envy

When someone you know does better than you, it often feels like you are a loser, a failure, or inferior. You think that their success reflects your failure.

2. Hostile envy

Because the other person’s success has resulted in your feeling that you can’t stand it, you may want them to fail.

3. Benign envy

Benign envy leads us to pay attention to what the other person is doing because we often think we can learn something.

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Alice Roosevelt Longworth

If you haven't got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me.

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We tend to envy people with whom we compare ourselves. Your social comparison group is the group by which you measure yourself. We envy achievements that we think are possibilities for us but we don’t feel confident in achieving them.

We are more likely to envy someone when we think that their advantage is not deserved, since our envy often carries with it the sense of injustice.

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  • As mentioned earlier, envy often leads us to become depressed, anxious , and angry.
  • We ruminate about what has happened.
  • We dwell on the unfairness or our sense of futility.
  • We avoid seeing the other person, because it reminds us that we are falling behind.
  • We complain to other people about this.
  • We may even give up competing altogether, because we think that it just reminds us of our sense of failure or our belief that we can’t stand the unfairness.

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How Can I Challenge My Envious Thoughts?

Just because you have negative thoughts doesn’t mean you have to believe them. The advantage of cognitive therapy is coming up with more helpful, more adaptive, and more realistic ways of thinking. Look at the table above and see if any of the negative automatic thoughts are familiar to you. Then look at the rational and adaptive thoughts that can help you move past your envy.

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