There’s no denying that success comes in different “shapes and sizes”. You could be successful financially, romantically, or health-wise. And if you’ve always found yourself to be advantaged in some way, then you must already know that some people feel a little envy towards you, (and may want to take what you have), but you can understand where they are coming from. However, what is perplexing is when the people you’ve always known suddenly become jealous when you begin to win or shine more. And when you think about it, the logical conclusion would be “they should be happy for me now that I’ve achieved success”, but this is not the case at all times and that’s the harsh reality of life.
Why Do People Resent Your Success?
The thing about success is that it creates a huge – and very noticeable – gap. There is a big difference between someone making $10,000 monthly, and someone doing $1 million monthly. There is a huge difference between a single person and someone who is (not just dating but) married. There is a major difference between someone who is obese and a supermodel. And so on.
And that gap brings about a lot of awkward feelings – even for those who still wish you well.
Success (in any endeavor) is by nature hard to reach, and achieving it automatically places you in a higher position – no matter how humble or friendly you might be. If it were easy, then everyone would have achieved it. And, since it might be something other people in your industry want but can’t get to, it makes sense that they feel a bit distant from you (as they feel like you are now above them), which breeds envy.
Envy is a desire for something someone else has that you do not have. Not everyone would feel envious about you – especially if they do not value, or want what you have. For instance, getting a Ph.D. may cause fellow students to feel a bit envious, but it won’t faze an athlete – because having a Phd. is not a milestone or something they wanted to have in the first place.
But, on the other hand, even people who do not need nor want what you have may still feel jealous over your success; not necessarily because you have succeeded, but because you have become “successful”.
You see, jealousy comes when they don’t want you to keep what you already have. A friend may begin to feel jealous because you now get to hang out more with other people (who are now in your new “higher” league) and less with him/her. Family may feel jealous that you left the small town for a big city. And unhealthy friends may feel jealous that you now look more fit and visit the gym more often whilst spending less and less time in the bar and McDonalds…
Whether envy or jealous, they all happen because of your success, and they can’t be helped by those feeling them. In fact, if someone denies feeling a bit of those – i.e. if they deny not feeling a bit jealous or envious – chances are that they are lying to your face. Jealousy and envy are as natural as laughter and anger.
The issues only arise when they get out of control.
“There are two types of people who will tell you that you cannot make a difference in this world: those who are afraid to try and those who are afraid you will succeed.” – Ray Goforth
Not Everyone Is Happy About Your Success
Toxic levels of envy and jealousy can be very, very destructive; so you should watch out for those.
Jealousy or envy is popularly referred to as the “green-eyed monster” because it actually feels like another being emerging from inside. It takes a lot of self-control and the proper mindset to conquer the green monster. It takes a greater level of personal development to transmute envy and jealousy into inspiration and drive.
There is a famous saying which goes, “There are two ways to build the tallest building in town: Build a taller building, or tear down all the other buildings around it.”. While most people would allow their jealousy to just seethe within them without doing anything (because of the law and their inability), few would go out of their way to rain on your parade, throw you under the bus or crash the party altogether.
They may try to downplay your success, push your buttons, spread rumors about you, connive, betray, and sabotage you; as well as attempt to punish you by withdrawing from or ghosting you. The result of all these is often messy.
So, how do you deal with it?
How Do You Deal With Someone Who Is Jealous Of You?
Experiencing jealousy and envy are common in life – especially for those who are always looking to improve their lives – hence it is crucial that you know how to deal with jealous people (especially if they are family, friends, or colleagues). Below are some very simple things you can do that helped me deal with envious people:
- Empathize: Accept that it is a natural response that most people can’t help. Don’t feel disappointed by their jealousy. Understand and empathize with them.
- Don’t Take It Personal: If they might have said or done something out of jealousy, it is important to realize that it is not about you; rather it is about them – and their own insecurities.
- Don’t Apologize: Don’t feel bad for succeeding. It is a good thing to succeed. Success is the best thing you can do for yourself and the world. If someone is lagging behind, it’s not your fault they’re behind. They are the ones who need to put in the work and level up, who need to transmute their jealousy and envy, who need to strive to succeed because you have proven to them that it is possible.
- Don’t Attack: In most cases, the envious or jealous person cannot do much to you if you don’t dwell on them. They would try to trigger you, but you are better off ignoring them.
- Encourage Them: You can become the bigger person by sincerely encouraging them – this is particularly important if the people who are jealous of you are under your leadership. You want to make friends, not foes.
So when next you see someone acting out of envy or jealousy, don’t be quick to think they hate you. It is just one of those awkward things that comes with achieving success. It is just one of those things that make success interesting. It is just a spice to life.