Picture the scene. You’ve just been out for lunch with a group of friends. Yes it was great catching up with your amigos. But funny how it also felt like a bit of a slap in the face.
Fran has just had her second promotion in a year and has almost doubled her salary. Jen’s boyfriend proposed and she’s on cloud nine. Jaz is leaving his job to go travelling and then surfing for 6 months.
It’s not that you wouldn’t want your friends to have those things. You feel good for them, you really do. But if the deepest, darkest truth be told, you feel a bit jealous too. There’s this question, why not me? And with that, a little dose of feeling ashamed too, I imagine.
So is it ok to feel jealous of your friends (or siblings or colleagues)? Difficult word that one, jealousy. Like envy. It’s very close to the French word for desire – envie. The want of something. You want something that you haven’t got, that they may have.
This post isn’t one of those ‘how to get the life you always wanted’ guides. I wish I knew how to answer that one. It’s about two equally important things:
- being true to your feelings, whatever they are
- tuning into what your feelings might be telling you about your life
So, I’m not saying you should blurt out ‘I feel jealous of you’ when you realise that’s what your true feeling is. But if you notice that feeling and are able to identify it, it can help you make a choice about what you do next.
What do I mean by that? Well, if we get all forensic for a moment, do you know what happens when a feeling of jealousy comes up? Do you tell yourself you’re no good and here’s proof? Or do you feel angry with the world for not treating you fairly? Do you put a brave face on with your friends or go moody and withdraw? Or maybe it’s something else.
There are no rights or wrongs
There are no rights or wrongs here, you’re just noticing what your typical response might be. And how does that give you choice? Well if you notice it, you can say to yourself, yes I’m comfortable with that response or you can choose to have a different one.
Because the likelihood is that jealousy is a mask over something else deeper and more painful. If you cut past it, maybe you can allow yourself to feel sad about something that’s missing in your life and at the same time happy for your friend. Oh by the way, it’s completely possible and normal to feel both those things at the same time.
And the other thing?Jealousy can also be a reminder to yourself about what you need and want, that you are missing. When you want what someone else has got, it might be a sign that you haven’t been able to give yourself what you need. I don’t mean materially, but just in terms of feeding yourself emotionally, taking care of your own wellbeing, rather that someone else’s.
This week’s Lifeline
Here’s a brief ecotherapy exercise you can do to help reconnect with your deeper needs. If you can do this outdoors, all the better, but at home is fine too.
Picture a tree that is meaningful to you, either by type or an actual tree you know -if it’s a real one see if you can sit or stand against it. Close your eyes and go to a quiet space within. Now imagine yourself as the tree. Your roots go deep into the earth, they nourish you, support you, keep you in touch with your place in the world. They can not be seen by others but you know their strength.
These roots feed you with all you need from the earth. Breathe deeply into the roots. Allow yourself to travel deeply into that connection.
Now picture your branches, covered in springtime leaves. Your vibrant green is your call to life. You take in light and make it your energy. You reach out to the world in your visible beauty. Allow the energy of light to flow right through you. You are nourished and you nourish.
Take a moment to feel your connection with the earth and this energy. Allow yourself to breath in this vibrant aliveness of green.
When you’re ready come out of the visualisation and ground yourself with some deep breaths and bring yourself gently back to your awareness of what’s around. Take a moment to reflect on and remember the power of that experience.
Need help to work through your feelings?
If you feel caught up in difficult feelings about friends and family, why not book an introductory counselling session to get help to move through it.