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Are you happy with your ‘lot’, or would you rather swap your state-of-affairs with the neighbour across the way, or your colleague in the next office?  Would you readily admit that sometimes your ‘green-eyed monster’ gets the better of you, or are you pleased when someone else gets some good fortune?

As an online counsellor working with different people from different places and with different ways of life, one thing has become clear to me over time, and that’s that we rarely (if ever) get to hear the ‘whole story’ when it comes to those we think we know.  We might envy so-and-so, or wish we had what she has, though perhaps if we were privy to the full facts we wouldn’t be so eager to swap our position for someone else’s.  A therapist’s view is indeed privileged, and one which has led me to realise that often all is not exactly as it seems.

When I started as a psychological practitioner some years ago, a wise colleague remarked that in his view if we were all to throw our problems into the centre of the room for everyone to see, we would soon run and collect our own issues rather than be left with what someone else has to contend with.  While it may look from the outside like a particular person has quite a nice situation, if we saw every aspect we may not necessarily be so envious.

Learning to live with what we currently have – the good and the not-so-good – can lead us towards a contentment that will mean we don’t have to drive the latest car or be the parent of the brightest child in the class, I would argue.  Sure, we might really wish we were going to that resort on holiday, but when we can step back and appreciate what we have that is going right in our lives (rather than focusing solely on what we feel isn’t), instead of jealousy I would suggest that we can be free to feel happy that someone else has something good that’s going right for them.

A line popularized by the Baz Luhrman song Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen) of 1997 seems to sum things up well when it says:

Don't waste time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself.”

Perhaps something for us all to bear in mind when we’re tempted to wish we were in a different position to the one in which we find ourselves?

Rob Oglesby MBACP (Accred) B.A. (Hons) BSc | Ashwood Therapy

Ashwood Therapy provides a discreet, confidential and professional online counselling service by encrypted video call, live instant messaging and secure email.  More details, including tips on wellbeing and information on current counselling session pricing, can be found at www.ashwoodtherapy.com


Jealousy | Ashwood Therapy Blog