Believe me, I understand how easy it is to find yourself envious of other people’s money situation. I live in San Francisco where the average person earns a six figure income like it’s no big deal. However, I’m never really deal with that jealousy much myself. I live my life, do what’s right for me, and feel comfortable. So, here are my tips for how to overcome financial jealousy if that’s a predicament you find yourself dealing with.
Stop Comparing Your Insides To Their Outsides
This is a phrase I’ve learned during the age of social media. It comes from the tendency to look at sites like Instagram and suddenly feel like everyone else’s life is perfect except for yours. However, those people are posting their best images. They aren’t posting the mess. You know your insides and your mess. Therefore, you’re jealous of something that isn’t even real.
The same is true when you try to overcome financial jealousy. It’s rare that we have a true honest picture of someone else’s finances. We see what they want us to see. We don’t see the times they’re stressed about which bill to pay, overextended by buying more house than they can afford, fighting with their partner because they have different money styles. So, start by remembering that you don’t actually know their money story. You only honestly know yours.
Find a Few People You Can Have Honest Money Conversations With
With the above in mind, you might want to seek out a group where you can actually have those conversations. Choose the people in this group carefully. You want to find friends and acquaintances who are ready to have honest financial conversations. You want a supportive atmosphere. In fact, you might even seek out a money therapist to help you begin these conversations. Because, the thing is, most of us don’t know how to talk about money. But if you can find ways to be honest and open about it, then you realize that other people are having the same issues. And that makes it a lot easier to overcome financial jealousy.
Break The Pattern Of “Keeping Up With The Joneses”
Of course, this phrase is outdated now, but there’s a reason it’s been around for decades. We see that someone has something that we want. We want to be just as “cool” (or whatever adult equivalent of cool is). Therefore, we buy the same thing or something similar and even more expensive. Whether it’s the right car for your neighborhood, the right suit for your office, or the right yogurt for your children … you make the purchase because the people around you are doing it.
It’s a mistake. The sooner you can get honest with yourself about what things you truly want to own just because they’re the right things for you, the easier it is to stop worrying about what other people spending their money on. You don’t need to keep up with anyone. And remember that social media is a culprit here, as well. You not only see the great products there that supposedly make your friends happy. Additionally, you see lots of ads. It’s easy to think your life will be better if you have what the proverbial Joneses have. But you know deep inside that’s not what makes you happy, right? Worry about what you have, not what someone else has.
Make a List of the Top 100 Things That Are Most Important To You In Life
Seriously, make a list. At first it might be hard to come up with 100 things. Ask yourself things like:
- If my house were on fire, who and what would I save?
- If I had one free hour today, what would I do with it to give myself joy?
- What are the little things that make me happy every day?
- What accomplishments in life am I most proud of?
- What five things made me smile most this week?
- When the pandemic started, what things were easy to let go of and what did I begin to focus on?
- If I became very sick right now, what and who would I want around me?
These types of questions help you really begin to deeply understand what truly matters to you in life. Once you have your list of 100 things, go through the list. How many of them are material things? Chances are it’s not many of them.
Moreover, the ones that seem to be might not be after all. For example, you might have said your house. But why do you value your house? Is it the actual house? Or is it the safety of shelter, the people in the neighborhood, the people under the roof, etc. And it’s totally okay if you actually just love your physical house. But take a look at those deep reasons too.
If you want to overcome financial jealousy, then there are a few steps that are fairly easy to take:
- Notice when you feel that jealousy take over.
- Ask yourself what you feel jealous about. Be honest.
- Then actively think about something on your Top 100 list.
- Practice mindful gratitude for that thing.
By turning your attention away from wishing you had something you don’t and towards gratefulness for what you do have, you stop thinking so much about other people’s money.
Work With a Therapist
It’s okay to feel like you need help to overcome financial jealousy. Money is a weird thing, especially in America. We have all of these thoughts and feelings and assumptions and ingrained beliefs about it. We have money stories and ideas that come from our childhood, our society, and advertising. Therefore, we often don’t even know what or why we think and feel the way that we do about money.
Taking the time to work with a therapist around this issue can go a long way towards assisting you in feeling better about money. And this isn’t just about trying to overcome financial jealousy. It’s about learning how to talk about money with your partner. It’s about getting a better sense of what role money plays in your thoughts and actions. In other words, working with a therapist about money’s role in your life makes room for you to put money in its rightful place.
Get Proactive About Your Own Financial Growth
Finally, maybe you do want more money. That’s totally okay. We want more money for a whole lot of reasons, and not all of them are rooted in deep psychological challenges. Having extra money, passive income, and financial security comes with a whole lot of benefits. These include security, including into older age, options for enjoying the finer things in life when we want to, the ability to give generously to those we love, and self-confidence when earning what we know we are worth.
Notice that none of those things are about showing off our money to the neighbors so that they can feel jealous. So, stop thinking about others’ money. Focus on your own money. You have many opportunities to explore your own options for financial growth. Continue to educate yourself about saving, spending, earning, and investing. The more attention you give to growing your own money, the less you’ll worry about what anyone else has.
Are you jealous of other people’s money? Share your stories in the comments.
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