Dear Barb—The Green Eyed Victim

Dear Barb:

I am wondering how to deal with envious people.  I am an artist and I have struggled for years to sell my work.  Until recently I was not very successful, but I kept at it because I love to paint.  My family and friends have always been fairly supportive and encouraged me to keep trying, and recently a few of my paintings were featured in a major art show. 

Much to my surprise several of them sold above the price I had posted.  Our local newspaper did a write up on me and my artwork, and I have been approached by a major magazine wanting to do a story.  I am flabbergasted!  I thought my family and friends would be happy for me, but that is not the case.  Whenever I mention anything about the show or the newspaper article, they seem uninterested and change the subject. 

My mom and sister are not like that, but most of my friends are, including my best friend.  I don’t feel I am doing anything to perpetuate this, but I am very excited and happy to finally have my work recognized.  I believe they are jealous or envious and I am wondering what I can do to change their feelings?  Thanks Aleena. 

Hello Aleena:

“People who will envy you the most are the ones who are in need the most of what you possess.”

-M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

There is nothing you can do to change their feelings, but you can find a way to deal with them more effectively.  It is difficult when you have worked hard to achieve your goals and the people around you are jealous when your hope was that they would be happy for you and share in your success.

When someone expresses negativity or envy towards you, remember where they are coming from.  People who are expressing envy toward us, want to be like us.  Be sensitive to their feelings, but do not downplay your own success.  You can remind them of some of the difficulties and hard work you have endured to get where you are.  Some people will still say you were just lucky, don’t engage with them, there is no point in trying to change a person’s view.  Jealousy does not generate good feelings in the person expressing it.  It is a negative emotion and creates its own demons.  Becoming upset and lashing out will only make them feel that they were right and that you do not deserve what you have achieved.  Combat their behaviour by showing them sincere praise for things they have achieved, do not stoop to their level.  Often times jealous people will imitate the person they are jealous of.  Do not allow this to upset you.  Be gracious, do not take part in any competition with them.  Hopefully when they don’t achieve the results they wanted, they will back off and see it as their problem and work to change it.  Congrats on your success!