Envy and jealousy can make you crazy. Envy is wanting what another person has: If your best friend has a great boyfriend, you could be happy for her, AND want your OWN great boyfriend (not necessarily hers). We all have envy now and then.
Jealousy is a nastier animal—it involves resentment and bitterness. If you're jealous of your friend, you might wish that she LOSES her boyfriend and becomes an old maid. Jealousy eats you alive and makes you feel like a you-know-what. Jealousy is rooted in anger. So if you find yourself feeling jealous, ask yourself, "Why should a friend's success make me feel bitter? Why am I so angry?"
What they tell us
But envy and jealousy give us information. If you notice, you only get envious of things you WANT. If your best friend gets into a science fair and you hate chemistry, you'll probably just feel happy for her, not envious. But, say she auditions for a play and gets a lead role—and you get envious. Maybe you have a desire to be an actor, but are afraid to try, or can't admit it's one of your dreams.
So pay attention to what you're envious of. If it's a secret dream of yours, build up the courage to go after it yourself.
Now if you're jealous of your friend, maybe you feel like she doesn't deserve a lead role. First of all, who are you to decide what someone else deserves? We all have different paths in life and get different things at different times. Maybe you think YOU deserve it and that's why you're angry. Okay, so do you? Have you taken an acting class? Or at the very least, did you audition? Promise yourself that until you take the actions, you won't be jealous of other people's results.
Tips for when you feel envy and jealousy
Is it something you want to do? Are you willing to do what it takes to go after it?
With envy AND jealousy, your attention is on what someone else has. If you're focusing on her, who's focusing on YOU? Don't waste energy feeling bad, but instead take action.
Focus on the good stuff
Finally, if you feel envy and jealousy toward a friend, consider this: Ask yourself, "Do I want to be her?" Sure it would be great to pick and choose bits and pieces of people's lives that we want. But everyone gets a mixed bag. If you look inside yours, you'll see you have a lot of good stuff going on, too. Focus on it, build on it, be happy about it. Your life will be better without envy and jealousy in it.