In my therapy office, I've witnessed how destructive resentment can be. People who feel as though they don't measure up often grow consumed with hostility.
They feel like they're not getting their fair share in life and it takes a serious toll on their health, happiness, and relationships. It also creates a downward spiral that limits their potential.
So whether you're angry your co-worker got promoted over you, or you're feeling bad that your friends earn more money than you do, it's important to stop resenting other people's success. Here are five ways to stop feeling bitter about other people's achievements:
1. Don't compare yourself to other people.
It's easy to scroll through Facebook and think, "My family doesn't have that much fun together," or "I'll never be able to afford a vacation like that." But studies show envying your friends on Facebook, actually leads to depression.
Comparing yourself to other people is like comparing apples and oranges. Your journey is unique and it's important to remember your experiences, talents, relationships, and education are different.
When you find yourself comparing your life to someone else's life, remind yourself you're not in a race. The only person you should compare yourself to is the person you were yesterday.
2. Look at the overall picture.
The small snapshot you see of someone else's life may look much more glamorous than it really is. Just because your friend earns more money or your co-worker has an amazing side hustle, doesn't mean that person has a charmed life.
Rather than zoom in on an individual's good fortune, zoom out to put things in proper perspective. Everyone experiences hardships of some kind. And even if an individual appears to have it altogether on the outside, remember you have no idea what sort of mental battles that individual may be fighting on the inside.
3. Don't try to determine what's fair.
Saying things like, "He didn't deserve that raise because he doesn't work as hard as I do," or, "It's not fair she makes so much money when she treats her employees like dirt," will only fuel your resentment.
Trying to determine who is more deserving of good fortune isn't healthy. Life isn't always going to be--at least not in the way you view fairness. Focus on being the best version of yourself, without keeping score.
4. Reframe your scarcity mindset.
Thinking good opportunities are scarce leads to a "Lord of the Flies" mentality. And it'll cause you to believe someone else's wealth or good fortune is somehow taking something away from you.
It's easy to get caught up into thinking that everything is a once in a lifetime opportunity or that other people's success means you can't succeed too. But in reality, very few things in life have a truly limited supply.
One thing that is limited, however, is your time. And every minute you waste resenting someone else's success is 60 seconds of your life you've wasted.
5. Create your own definition of success.
When you recognize that other people are running their own race in life, you'll be less likely to feel resentful of them. In fact, it's easy to celebrate their accomplishments when you view life as an opportunity to cooperate, rather than compete.
Recognize that other people are working on their own accomplishments. Their achievements don't have to diminish or minimize your own.
Write down your definition of success. Think about what will make you feel good when you're 90 years old and you're looking back over your life.
When you keep your eyes on your own path to success, you can strive to grow mentally stronger and become better. And you'll feel less threatened by other people's achievements.