Y'all, if there's one thing I've got in my life, it's successful friends. For one thing, about 90 percent of them are doing exactly what they want to do in life. Secondly, around 65 percent of them are making a living without reporting to anyone but themselves. And three, around 40-50 percent of them are pretty well-known. Because of this winning combo, there are times when people will ask me if I ever have moments when I feel a tinge of jealousy.
To be honest, not really. I think a huge part of it is because none of my tribe really does what I do and vice versa. And so, it's kind of hard to feel envious when someone wins a GRAMMY (I don't professionally sing) or lands a six-figure government deal (like one of my friends who is retired from the military; I'm not in that field either).
At the same time, I do know what it's like to have moments when it feels like everyone else's world is moving swiftly along the highway of ambition while I'm kind of going the speed limit on the side streets — what it's like to be thrilled for my tribe while still wondering when my time will come. And since I highly doubt that this is something that only I have experienced in life, I wanted to share a few insights on how you can get through the season of when your homies are thriving, BIG TIME, while you? Eh, not so much.
Here’s the Difference Between Being Envious and Jealous
Before getting into how to stop quietly/internally feeling some type of way about your friends flourishing during the moments when it feels like you are somewhat at a standstill, if some self-introspection has revealed that you may have a green-eyed monster staring back at you whenever you look into the mirror and you're too ashamed to tell anyone and/or you're not sure what to do about it, you've come to the right place. However, in order to break free, let me first break down the difference between being envious and jealous; because, while they are closely related, they aren't exactly one in the same.
To envy someone is to have "a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another's advantages, success, possessions, etc." The word that jumps out at me in this is "discontent" because that's all about being dissatisfied. A relationship coach by the name of Tony Gaskins once said, "To be content doesn't mean you don't desire more; it means you're thankful for what you have and are patient for what's to come."
He's exactly right. The reality is, everyone has peaks and valleys in life. No one always has everything going well for them; not everyone experiences trying times either. In short, life is a bit of a roller coaster. Oh, but if you can master how to truly be content — how to take things one moment at a time, how to be grateful for the goodness that is in your own life and how to accept that you are in your season for a reason and purpose, just like everyone else — it can quickly dissolve any feelings of envy that you may be experiencing. Because with contentment comes peace and when you're at peace with yourself…what is there to be envious of? Straight up.
To be jealous is to have a "feeling resentment because of another's success, advantage, etc." It's kind of interesting that envy catches more of a bad reputation than jealously does because I personally think that jealousy is way more problematic. While envy has you feeling dissatisfied, jealousy can have you out here being all resentful 'n stuff and that kind of head and heart space is rooted in grade A bitterness — the kind that can lead to petty, spiteful and even hateful behavior.
Aside from the fact that jealousy simply isn't a good look, if you feed too much energy into it, I'm pretty sure you can see how it can infect and potentially irrevocably damage your friendship(s). So, if this is what you've got going on, ask yourself what the root of it stems from, figure out where your insecurities lie and then start self-love journaling, so that you can heal those broken areas. Being a jealous person sucks — and can suck so much life out of you. When it comes to your friendships specifically, it can take over your psyche and make you a very difficult person to be around. Friends look for people to encourage and support them — not drain them by being low-key resentful and bitter all of the time. Remember that.
Do You Have a Habit of Comparing Yourself to Your Friends?
Several steps down from envy and jealousy is the act of comparison. You know, an author by the name of Shannon L. Adler once said, "Personality begins where comparison leaves off. Be unique. Be memorable. Be confident. Be proud." Iyanla Vanzant once said, "Comparing yourself to others is an act of violence against your authentic self." A principle of the Zen Shin Buddhism practice is, "A flower does not think of competing to the next flower; it just blooms."
What I like about all of these quotes is they're a blaring reminder that comparing ourselves to others is really a complete waste of time. It doesn't change the facts, plus it causes us to focus more on what others have going on instead of what we could be cultivating in our own world. While I get that making comparisons is totally human, if this is something that you have a habit of doing, there's no time like the present to start implementing steps to stop.
And just how the heck do you do that? I'll get more into this in the next point. However, a good starting point is to jot down a list of the things that are currently happening in your own life. What are your short- and long-term plans? What are some of the things that you've accomplished over the past several months? What are you particularly grateful for? It really can't be expressed enough that one of the worst things about comparing yourself to other people — especially your friends — is it robs you of time (time you can't ever get back) to blow up your own life in the best way possible. Now that you know this, don't waste another minute in such a senseless mindset. It's simply not worth it.
Are You Watering Your Own Yard?
Something that life is teaching me more and more is boredom is problematic AF. There are married couples that I work with who've done some pretty unhealthy things, simply because they were bored. My goddaughters get into trouble sometimes because they do mischievous things, simply because they are bored.
And oftentimes, when we feel like everyone else has it going on but us — yep, you guessed it, it's because we're bored. And when our own lives seem dull, interesting or like we are doing the same things over and over…and over again, of course, it's easier to think everyone else is winning; like their grass is just so much greener.
You know what the remedy for that is, right? You need to water your own yard instead of looking over everyone else's fence. Start by taking a long hard look at your life and honestly determining if you're doing what you want to be doing with it. If you are, what can you do to get you further down the path? If you're not, why do you keep procrastinating when it comes to living your life differently? I'll tell you what — while the moments happen less and less these days, whenever it does seem like everyone around me has a full plate and I'd like to be doing more, I use their accomplishments as a form of motivation. Because if those closest to me can soar in their own lanes, they are living proof that I can do the same.
Do Your Friends Support You As Much As You Support Them?
This particular point, while it might not apply en masse, I think some of you will get it. If you happen to be the friend who is the on-call cheerleader, who constantly uses your own gifts and talents to help other people and who is always celebrating your folks and yet, when it's your turn, it's hard to find those who are the same way towards you, it's time to have a serious chat with those who you consider to be your friends. The reason why is because, I'm telling you, the older that I get, the more I realize that what every relationship — whether it's personal or professional — should bring to the table is reciprocity.
When you've got friends who give as much as they take, that makes it so much easier to get through the moments in your life when you feel like they are thriving and you are doing anything but. That's because their proactiveness in your world helps you to not feel alone, it can play a significant role in boosting your self-confidence, and it can fuel you to stay the course in your own life until goals are met and success is reached.
In this life, some people keep you around because they know you're helping them to make things happen. If they're not willing to do the same thing for you, well…how good of friends are they? Real talk.
Sometimes It’s Your Time; Just Not Your Turn
Many, many years ago, I heard a local pastor here by the name of Bishop Joseph W. Walker III preach a message entitled, "It's Your Time; Not Your Turn." The example that he used was standing in a line to get something and while you're ever so close to receiving it, there are others in front of you who will get it first. As a direct result, while it is indeed your time, it's not yet your turn. Hmph. That reminds me a lot of Ecclesiastes 3 that talks about their being times and seasons.
Sis, what you've got to always keep in mind is just like your friends have unique purposes and capabilities, so do you. You will never be able to bring to this world what they can and they will never be able to be as unique and original as you are either. So, while it might seem as if they are advancing, prospering and thriving while you are, well, not so much, don't lose heart. So long as you're doing the best that you can and your friends have your back as much as you have theirs (sometimes, you need to give them a heads up on what you need; busy people are well, busy) — this season won't last forever. Your "thrive time" will show up, soon enough. And your friends will be right there…cheering you along.
Join our xoTribe, an exclusive community dedicated to YOU and your stories and all things xoNecole. Be a part of a growing community of women from all over the world who come together to uplift, inspire, and inform each other on all things related to the glow up.
Featured image by Giphy