Do you ever yearn for what your friend or neighbor has? Do you secretly resent his success or wealth? Believe it or not, whom and what you are jealous of reveals who you are on the deepest level. Sure, we all express happiness at the good fortune of others at social events. But, when you want something you don’t have, does it cause you anguish, even agony at times?

Truth time. Do you sometimes wish they didn’t have it either? What do you covet most? A fit body? Your body type is hourglass with extra minutes? Perhaps you envy his skill, her personality, relationship, or his wealth? I know. You hate Math, but you love counting money, right? You want a fat bank account and a thin body, but somehow the two keep getting confused.  You’ll do anything to lose weight – except eat healthfully and exercise. For my summer diet, I start with a nice big salad bowl…and then fill it with ice cream. Truth is that the first thing you lose on a diet is your sense of humor.

Sometimes you get so preoccupied with the perfect image she posts on the Gram, that you’re actually happy if she loses some of it. “Whew, she gained the weight back. He didn’t get that promotion after all.” Why the sense of relief?

If begrudging him becomes all-consuming, you can become resentful and begin to view everyone as a rival you must beat. Perhaps you respect her and strive to be more like her by being more positive or working harder. It’s okay to pattern yourself after someone you admire.

It could be that he had a challenging journey to achieve his hard-earned success. You know that all you are seeing is the very best part of her life on Instagram or Facebook. Are you still comparing and competing? You know Facebook is a lot like your fridge. You know there’s nothing there, but you still check it every ten minutes anyway.

Suppose you want to gain something at someone else’s expense. If you hear yourself saying: “I should have that instead of her” – please become aware of that feeling. Holding him in high regard or admiring him will not encourage you to gain something at his expense. Do you feel unkindness or even meanness toward her? If so, you know you are looking at her with a jaundiced eye.

Sometimes observing what others have may incentivize you to work for it for yourself, as well.  Now, you’re really motivated to get that new house or those shoes. Go ahead, heel thyself with those fabulous shoes. In the immortal words of Cinderella: One shoe can change your life. And hey, when one door closes, a shoebox opens.

“Why does he to have that and I don’t?” That is not the same as: “Wow, I wish I had that.” If you find yourself feeling unkind or even hateful, then your desire has morphed into envy. The green-eyed monster has shown up full force. Jealousy has been called the ulcer of the soul. Not only do you not try to emulate her, you become aggressive and may even seek to hurt her. You are clearly counting someone else’s blessings instead of your own.

Indeed, we are all aware of what our neighbors have. We even know our friends’ social standing – courtesy of the Internet. Humans may be naturally competitive, but how often do you keep tabs on what others have and are doing in their lives? Do you sometimes think of how much you have relative to your friends or neighbors? Is that how you measure your status, standing, or self-worth?

Wow. Look at her Insta photo with that Insta caption. Did you know she took 37 pics before she finally got it right? Selfie with no filter? Yeah. Right. Scrolling through that Instagram feed can actually make you hurt. What if I told you: You can eat without posting it on Instagram? Heh.

What do you suppose is underneath that jealousy or resentment? Perhaps it is the desire to be successful, or to feel as though you matter. Do you secretly wish to be admired or seen? Your discomfort can offer you a better view of your true hopes and longings. Now your envy has become your teacher. Use it to discover what truly matters to you and what you can do to act on it.

Can you be happy for someone who has something you crave? Do you see most others as rivals, competitors, or even the “enemy”? Instead of a friend or possible role model, you view him as an adversary or antagonist. And that, of course, shapes your entire perception of him. She is seen as a competitor and is now a source of pain instead of pleasure. How can you be friends with someone who wants your life?

Please stop obsessing about what you don’t have in this life. Appreciate and applaud yourself for what you do have and what you have done. Keep being you, and keep truckin’. You know what they say: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and leaky tire.” Heck, some of us need a six-month vacation, twice a year.

All jealousy provides is a limited worldview. Remember, sweet friends: You don’t lose simply because someone else won. You are a winner, too.

Share your feelings with a trusted friend or loved one. Things you keep hidden tend to fester like mold. Reassure loved ones of their importance to you. And above all: Travel light. Remember: Laughter is the only medicine without side effects.

Caroline is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis counselor, and writer with an office in Queens.  She works with individuals, couples, and families.  Appointments are available throughout the week and weekends.  She can be reached at 917-717-1775 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or at