Why You Envy People You Haven’t Spoken To Since School? Envy is something we all face from time to time, as uncomfortable as it is to confess, which is why we wanted to address it in an episode of HuffPost UK’s monthly podcast on women’s health, bodies, and private lives, Am I Making You Uncomfortable?
When we asked listeners what makes them envious, we discovered a consistent theme: we are more envious of people we don’t know or have lost touch with than of those in our close social circle. So, what exactly is going on here?
Why You Envy People You Haven’t Spoken To Since School?
“Because we make a lot of stuff up,” adds psychologist Lucy Beresford, “the fact that we don’t know as much about individuals we hardly know makes envying them easier.” “For example, we may recall that they were popular at school, so when we learn later in life that something has gone well for them, we are delighted.
We create a storey that fits our pre-existing information in order to determine if they have a fantastic or ideal existence. Our jealousy is triggered by this perceived perfection.”
We are better equipped to alter our response to the triumphs of individuals we know well, says Beresford, since we have “more of a 360 knowledge of a close friend’s life.”
This might involve learning about their challenges in obtaining that house or baby, or witnessing firsthand how hard they worked to earn that promotion.
Consider the person in your life who makes you the most envious.
Is their age, gender, or career the same as yours?
According to Beresford, we have a tendency to envy others with whom we have certain similarities.
She continues, “It’s simpler to ignore the life of another person if it differs radically from your own because it’s as if they’re from a different ‘tribe’ in our heads.” “Comparing oneself to someone similar to you is even more distressing because it promotes the fear of ‘that might have been me.’”
It’s possible that this is why some of us are drawn to follow the apparent life development of old classmates to see how we stack up. After all, we know they had a similar start in life to us — at least in terms of schooling.
“School is extremely competitive, both academically and socially,” Beresford adds. “House points, sports day, getting picked for the school play, or who snogged who” are all examples of situations in which we are pushed to compare ourselves to someone we know well.
“In our adult years, we fail to shrug off this comparison and instead stay in the comfort zone of this benchmark.”
While our parents’ age had the rare high school reunion, social networking has made it “scarily simple” to track down folks we haven’t seen in a long time, whether it’s classmates, past coworkers, or old lovers.
So, how can you combat your sentiments of jealousy if they’ve begun to negatively influence your health?
If you find yourself feeling envious of individuals you see from afar, comparison coach Lucy Sheridan suggests focusing on the genuine relationships in your life that remind you of who you are and how you are good enough.
In the episode, she says, “Have those chats with people who truly get you, rather than feeling like you’re looking out […] trying to see what’s going on in strangers’ lives.”
Despite the fact that jealousy is an unpleasant feeling to acknowledge, Sheridan believes it is important to do so. Envy may help us realise what we want in life if we recognise it early on and establish a plan to obtain it.
Sheridan advises, “Let yourself feel it.” ”[Ask] ‘What are you trying to tell me with this? So, what exactly is going on here? What is my point of view?’ Allow yourself to feel it, though. There’s nothing to be afraid of; it won’t harm you. It’s only you.”
Read also: The age of envy: how to be happy when everyone else’s life looks better Read also: What your jealous feelings are telling you!