We all do it. As soon as we see a friend who announces an engagement/announces a pregnancy/moves to a cool place/gets a cute pet/graduates college/goes on an amazing looking vacation/gets tickets to see HAMILTON/studies abroad/gets an internship/a whole plethora of things that we wish we had but don’t, we quickly type out, ‘So jealous!’ Maybe we even say it to their face, “Ugh. I’m jealous!” And then our friends just kind of laugh, because it’s not really a compliment and it’s not really an insult, and there’s not really an appropriate way to respond to it.
I recently realized how rude it is of me to say this to my friends and I’ve been trying hard to eradicate jealous from my vocabulary. I didn’t realize how pervasive this sneaky little word is. In fact, I just recently sent JEALOUS in all caps to Andrew because his office ordered pizza from The Pie and, well, I haven’t had pizza in weeks (I miss it).
As usual, here’s a list to provide you all with my much sought-after logic, this time on the topic of jealousy.
- When I say I’m jealous of someone, it takes away from their accomplishment and happiness and turns it around to me. For example, if a friend posts a picture of their new car and I say “I’m jealous!” I take away from their hard work to get the car, the accomplishment of finally achieving it, and the happiness therein and turn it around to me, and my lack of a new car. It diminishes the hard work my friend probably undertook to earn that car. It ignores their accomplishment.
- Jealousy makes inherent comparisons. “They have a new car. I do not have a new car. I want that car.” All of the sudden instead of being happy with your perfectly adequate car that does its job in getting you from Point A to Point B, you are wishing you had your friend’s new car. Comparison tends to breed unhappiness because you’re only looking at the things other people have that you lack.
- Jealously assumes that someone didn’t struggle or have to work hard to obtain what they have. We can never know how other people struggle. They may have anxiety or depression that makes every day a challenge, they may be in debt, or have infertility issues, or family problems, or martial strife, or really anything. There’s a lot beneath the surface of everyone we know. When I say I’m jealous, I could be ignoring the trial they surmounted in order to be where they are now.
- Saying you’re jealous is not a compliment. It’s just not.
It’s been hard to try and get rid of this word. It really is one of my gut reactions to be jealous of someone when they have something I don’t. But I’ve been training myself to be genuinely happy for people when they achieve something or make a great addition to their life.
So, in summation, join me in saying ‘Congratulations’ next time instead of ‘Wow! I’m so jealous!’