Sometimes when those close to us reach a level of success in their careers or personal life, we tend to wonder why we are not as fortunate. Human beings have fundamental difficulties with handling success—in particular, the success of others. We accept that strangers are successful, but we just don’t like to see our, old friend, a former classmate, and sometimes even our own siblings succeed, though we genuinely care and have love for them.
Success comes in many forms. It might be having a new cool job, losing a lot of weight, or finding a new boyfriend/girlfriend. And success among our closest friends is often the most problematic. If you’ve ever felt a hint of jealousy in friendship or perhaps been envious of your friend’s success, it is important to take the time to figure out exactly why is it that their success bothers you. Otherwise, you can risk losing a friendship.
The foundation of most friendships starts with the perception that you are each other’s equal and that balance is shifted when one party is successful while the other is not. Many successful entrepreneurs have said that the more success they achieve, the fewer friends they feel they have.
Jealousy is a normal emotion that everyone experiences, but if you’re not careful, however, jealousy can grow into resentment and bitterness.
Where does jealousy in friendship come from?
Jealousy is a normal emotion that everyone experiences, but if you’re not careful, however, jealousy can grow into resentment and bitterness. Therefore, it’s perfectly normal to feel a little jealous from time to time, so long you are genuinely happy on your friend’s behalf. In fact, a bit of jealousy can be healthy and may motivate you to reach the same achievement as your friend.
However, if you feel envious, you are on the wrong track. Feeling envious can mean that you have low self-esteem and might feel tempted to talk badly about the successful person either face-to-face or, even worse, behind his or her back.
So instead of being envious, take this opportunity to transmute those emotions into positive ones by allowing yourself to be inspired by your friend’s success, and finding out what you can learn from them. Be proud of your friends, and don’t try to use their success as an explanation for your personal lack of success.
Below are a few tips to help you overcome any feelings of jealousy you may have of your friend’s success.
Most importantly remember, success is not a limited resource that will deplete because other people become successful. There is plenty of success out there for all of us!
Soulaima Gourani is a lecturer, corporate advisor, and author of three books. She has had held many titles including one of the “40 under 40” European young leaders, a TED mentor and one of the “Inspiring 50 Nordics” women in the tech sector. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and their two children.