“I've recently really been struggling with jealousy- typically having to do with my friends family lives, hobbies, or other friends. I understand how toxic it is to feel this way. Do you have any tips on how to avoid feeling sad for missing out and other things like that?”
I feel you--I’ve dealt with a LOT of jealousy over the past several years. First, I wouldn’t think of feeling jealous on its own as toxic--rather, what’s toxic is letting the jealousy negatively affect your behavior towards others. I’ll come back to this later, but for now: how do you stop feeling jealous?
Looking back at past times I’ve been particularly jealous, in a number of cases I can now tell I didn’t have, or couldn’t focus on, the whole picture. In one situation about a year ago, I was jealous that someone newer in my friend group seemed to be closer to my friends than I was. It turned out than, if not then, then later in the year, many people had very strained relationships with that person. It doesn’t negate the feelings I had then, but that and similar situations help me remember I don’t always know what’s really going on.
That’s all well and good for dealing with past jealousy, but how do you cope while it’s happening? In some cases, say, if your friends seem to spend a lot more time hanging out with other friends than with you, I would recommend talking to your friends about it if you haven’t. Though I haven’t done exactly that, when I have discussed my jealousy with someone directly connected to it, talking it out gave me a better idea of where the other party was coming from, and let them know how it made me feel. Otherwise, what I’ve done is to invite my friends to spend time together, and to make an effort to talk to them, to let them know I want to spend time with them without mentioning my jealousy.
Here’s why I said I don’t view jealousy as inherently toxic: in my experience, it can be an effective and surprisingly positive motivator! The trick to this is to pay attention to what you’re jealous of in your friends, and see what you can apply from that in your own life. For example, I’ve wanted to choreograph something on my friends/classmates at dance for years. It took another dancer (and close friend of mine) doing so to give me the push to do so myself. This is something of a best-case scenario, at least for me, as it didn’t negatively affect our friendship at all.
Jealousy can be really tough to deal with. The best way I’ve found for dealing with it is to find a new perspective on it, whether by looking back on similar situations in the past, talking it out, or reframing it as motivation.
I hope this helps!