Why jealousy & envy are ruining your life! (and what to do about it)


[standfirst]Jealousy & envy, alongside regret, are the most pointless emotions that your stupid brain can conjure. But, conjure them it will. Stupid brain. [/standfirst]

The green-eyed monster – or envy, FOMO, jealousy, whatever – is hard to keep at bay, especially when you’re ambitious, type A, and a hard worker. It sneaks up when you least expect it (“Ugh. I can’t believe they have XYZ more followers than me”), and it can seriously fuck up your day. Like, seriously.

So what can we do? Do we just sit on our arses, carving frown lines into our youthful faces, obsessing over someone else’s career? No. Do we fuck. We channel that shit into something productive. We use it to ignite our fires, we use it to push ourselves further, and we use it to make friends.

God, do I get envious of people. 

With their beautiful products, their tight, tight copy, and their ridiculously sick hair. I still can’t braid my own hair, it’s one of the great disappointments of my adult life.

It took me quite a while to get a handle on the best way to process these emotions. I think it’s something that comes with age and experience, and I don’t want to tell you how to suck eggs or assume that you’re just a huge ball of jealous rage. Nah. I just want to give you some tips into handling those jealous & envious moments in your career, a few tools to make working alongside your “competition” a joyful experience.

Before I go any further I have an important public service announcement. There is no such thing as competition.

Whhhaaatttt?! Mind. Blown.

It’s true. All those people who you think are your competition? Nah. They’re your co-workers. They’re your support team. They’re the Ed Sheeran to your T-Swizzle.

I’ll talk more about the “no competition” theory in another post. But seriously, life is too short to think that everyone’s trying to compete with you. Unless you’re a professional tennis player or something, then they’re definitely trying to compete with you. Sorry.

So, back to the program. Envy.

What should you do if…

  • You see a peer featured in a magazine 
    Dude, you need to celebrate their win. They work hard, too. They work as hard as you. Suck it up, be graceful, and give them a well deserved pat on the back. And then get back to work and hit up the editors of that magazine on twitter, it’s your spot next month.
  • Everyone on instagram is in London going to a super awesome event
    It sometimes feels like I live on the other side of the planet up here in Yorkshire, so far from the bright lights of London. Luckily, we live in an age where you’re never that far away from the event thanks to twitter & instagram. So, you missed out on getting stuck in the rain, a free glass of cheap champagne and a vol-au-vent or two (although if you promise me a vol-au-vent, I’m there!), catch up with the buzz on the internet. Follow the hashtag. Ask how everyone enjoyed the event. Start conversations. Make friends.
  • That Person never seems to fucking fail, and you just metaphorically fell flat on your face
    Everyone is fighting their own battles, not everything makes its way to Twitter. Not everyone is a chronic over sharer like you, love. They might seem constantly faultless, but I bet they once had chronic diarrhoea and felt like the world was going to end. Revel in that a little. Not too much, because then you’re a bitch.
  • That other brand just got stocked in a gallery that rejected your work
    Last year I got rejected from a nice little gallery, a couple of weeks later one of my peers promoted their work being stocked there. Shittyfuckingwankingshit.
    Then the National Gallery placed an order for my work. Swings and roundabouts. Just keep at it. Use it as a learning experience. Question why their work was accepted and yours wasn’t, there must be a reason (even if it’s just them being friends with someone who works at the gallery!).
  • You didn’t get a spot at that super cool craft market
    I heard it was shit anyway. Go out and have fun that day, that’s way better than sitting behind a stall for 8 hours while kids put your wares in their mouths (true story).
  • That work you pitched for went to someone else
    That’s business, baby. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. It’s not about you or the person the work went to. It’s about the client, and who they feel a connection with. Don’t resent the other person because of the client’s choice (resent the client a bit, if you have to!).

This article on Huffington Post about being happy about other people’s successes is a good read, too!

We all get jealous & envious, we just need to channel those emotions the right way and not end up damaging what could be excellent relationships.


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  • You kinda come across as really bitter. The sentiment behind the post is really great.. but you follow it up by putting your failures down to being because someone else had an unfair benefit (being friends with someone at a shop) and not wanting to get into that awesome craft fair because “it’s better to be having fun that sitting behind a stall for 8 hours.” Chances are you would have been over the moon if you’d got your work into that shop AND you would have LOVED selling at that craft fair had you been given a place.

    To truly accept our failures and support others in their successes, we have to stop making excuses for our bad behaviour. You probably didn’t get accepted by that shop because they already had a bunch of jewellery and not because your jewellery is bad.. but it might have been because they didn’t think you’re good enough. Learn to deal with that, rejection makes us stronger. Making excuses and saying “I didn’t want to do it anyone” makes you look hella bitter!

    • Seriously didn’t get my sarcasm/humour, did you?

      Of *course* it’s lovely to be accepted by shops, fairs… whatever. I’m totally not denying that. Nor am I downplaying other people’s successes, rather just picking something from a list of reasons (note how I said “even if it’s just…”, denoting that it’s an unlikely reason).

      “Learn to deal with that, rejection makes us stronger.” – oh sweetie, I’ve been rejected plenty, if I hadn’t learnt to deal with it I’d be working a 9-5.

      “Chances are you would have been over the moon if you’d got your work into that shop AND you would have LOVED selling at that craft fair had you been given a place.” – you’re right, I would. But also, when we don’t get a spot at these things it’s always better to look on the bright side, right? Thus, not sitting behind a market stall all day.

      Commenting anonymously & calling me bitter? well.. that’s just pretty pathetic. Own your fucking opinion, don’t hide behind anonymity.


  • Someone told me not all that long ago that there is a difference between envy and jealousy – jealousy, you want what the other person has for yourself and for them not to have it; envy, you’d like the same as what they have, not instead of them. That has helped me process my emotions in this area, simple as it sounds.

    PS – I love your response to that previous comment. Well played, sir!