By Erika of Inner World Travels
While we would all like to win the title of Miss Congeniality in Life’s Pageant, sometimes it’s difficult to be happy for other people when our own life looks less-than-ideal. In our slumps, we can let emotions like envy and jealousy fester and take over.
But the truth is that life is simply a lot better when we’re happier and if we want to be truly happy for our friends AND for ourselves, we cannot let negativity take root. Easier said than done, right? Don’t worry — I understand. That’s why I’ve come up with 6 ways that you can be genuinely happy for your friends who seem to have it all while you, well… you’re working on it.
1. Be grateful for what you do have.
Sounds simple, but this is difficult when you’re running low on cash or you’re dateless and alone again on a Saturday night or your favorite pair of jeans stopped fitting a couple of months ago. And it’s even harder if your best friend is rolling in the dough, has the sweetest spouse, and looks like a supermodel. But before you start decorating for that pity party of one, take time to reframe your perspective.
Instead of focusing on everything that’s going wrong (especially in comparison to others), focus on what’s right. What is going well in your life? What’s something that you kick butt at? Even if it’s watching Netflix TV shows like it’s your job, wear it like a badge of honor. And then be grateful that you even have a Netflix account!
Just know that whatever it is, there can always be a sunny side! Or, if you need to look at it with a little less pixie dust, just realize that things could always be worse.
2. Know your worth doesn’t come from external things.
Your value as a person does not come from the clothing you wear, the restaurants where you eat, the college you attended, or the job you have. Your worth has never come from those things and it never will. What you offer as a human being cannot be quantified or commodified (even if people would have you believe differently). And while it’s the nature of life to have ups and downs, your worth is not like the stock market: a low value-per-share isn’t an indication of your worth to the world. And guess what? It’s easier to be genuinely happy for your friends when you realize this.
You always have something of value to offer the world and you don’t need anyone else’s validation to know this. Maybe it’s your sarcastic wit which lightens the mood or loosens people up. Maybe it’s your infectious smile that just makes people feel good. Maybe it’s the way you listen to others without interrupting or how you give the best hugs. These things are independent of all the material stuff. I mean, you could be a millionaire and suck at those things! At the end of the day, money and status don’t make you a better person or even a good person. And neither does being single versus being married. So if this is the case, what’s the point of comparing yourself to your friends?
3. Be inspired (instead of discouraged) by their success.
Instead of being jealous or thinking that your friends don’t deserve their happiness, be inspired! Be happy that your own friends have such beautiful things happening in their lives — and take it as a sign that it’s possible (and likely) for you, too! Take the time to examine the sorts of things that your friends do that may be different than what you’ve been doing. Maybe they eat healthier or make time to volunteer or meditate in the morning. Think about the healthy habits they have and consider giving some of them a try. The point is not to become all “Single White Female” and take someone else’s identity, but to open your mind to more soul-nourishing activities.
4. Know that there’s room for both of you to shine.
Even if your backgrounds are identical and you’ve been presented with very similar opportunities and experiences, understand that you are unique. There’s no one else who is exactly like you — not even your identical twin (who you were separated from at birth, right?). And because you are different, it means you have a different purpose to serve. Just because someone else’s path has been made clear and yours hasn’t doesn’t mean you are a failure — it just means you need to tap into what it is that you’re meant to be doing.
This means, my dear little slumperella, you have to stop focusing so much on other people and turn within to ask the tough questions. If things aren’t working out, then why not? Is there something you’re overlooking? Is there something you’re unwilling to let go of? Instead of blaming your circumstances or being upset that things aren’t working out like they “should,” take time to empower yourself and blaze a trail of your very own. Be happy that your friend has found her place and trust that soon enough, you’ll find your own.
5. Stop feeding the negativity monster.
Listen, I understand that it’s hard to be happy for other people when your life feels like it’s falling apart. It’s only human. And in those times when you can’t muster up the ability to separate their circumstances from your own, take some space. It’s okay! If you get angry every time you see this person update something positive on Facebook (or happy when they post something negative), then hide their profile from your feed. Don’t give yourself fuel to keep yourself down. If you can’t think anything nice, then it’s better to not think about them at all.
Keep your distance and work on YOU. It sounds counterintuitive, but the distance could actually SAVE your friendship. It gives you time to focus on your best assets outside of being compared to that person and lets your individual skills develop and flourish. Grow in your confidence so that when you’re around that person again, you are secure in yourself and not threatened by their awesomeness (because you realize you have your own brand of it, too).
6. Trust that your version of happily-ever-after is on its way.
If we could all just know that everything would work out fine in the end, maybe we wouldn’t envy our friends or acquaintances who seem to have it all figured out. If we knew that we would be happy and would have our basic needs (and then some) met, maybe we wouldn’t fret so much. But it’s the nature of life that we don’t know the ending — and that can be overwhelming.
Still, begin to trust that things will work out for you. Trust that you’re in the most perfect place to start accomplishing your goals. Loosen your grip on planning everything and analyzing everything and get into the here and now. Whether or not you worry about the future, you can’t completely control it anyway. Begin making decisions that reflect who you truly are and who you strive to be; start being the kind of person who has the life that you want. Try this for a while and you may find that things begin to follow suit.
It’s important for us to be the kind of friends to others that we want to have. And I know I only want people in my life who are rooting for me, who see my victories as their own and vice versa. When you allow yourself to love someone without comparison, their joys can begin to lift you up. Why not be happy that your friends are so successful and happy — they’re a reflection of you, after all (and you’re a reflection of them)!