Our mind health Q&A columnist Athena Lazarides is a qualified psychologist and the author of You’ve Got This. She’s on a mission to help you clarify your purpose so you can move onward and upwards in your life. You can see her work here.
This week, she received a question from Meg. See what she wanted help with, below:
My best friend is moving on with her life and I feel left behind. I’m starting to feel sorry for myself. It seems like only good things happen to her… Why am I being left behind? What can I do to keep up? Thanks, Meg
Sounds like the green-eyed monster has you by the hair! Jealousy, envy and unnecessary competitiveness will lock you into a state of inaction. But don’t despair – you’re not alone. It’s okay to feel left behind.
The main thing is to acknowledge your self-pity and be kind to yourself. A helpful exercise (to shift what you are feeling) is to come to the present moment and experience gratitude for all the current good in your life. Write a list of what is working, then become aware of what you think is missing from your life (which is perhaps reflected in your best-friend’s life).
Is she in a loving relationship? Does she excel in her career? Has she reached some of her financial goals? You can have all those things but you need to stop feeling sorry for yourself and move on to your own dreams and passions. If you need help figuring out what those are, a creative visualisation exercise (see below) may be helpful.
Imagine your best life. What does it look like to you? How does it make you feel? Are you in alignment with your purpose? Self-reflection is key here.
Sometimes we sabotage the good things in our life because we hold an inner belief that we are not worthy or deserving of the good that others have. Exploring what your internal beliefs are can help you move forward.
Don’t forget to kiss that green-eyed monster goodbye. You are worth so much more than self-doubt and jealousy. You deserve success. My question is, can you believe that?
Note: There is no right way or wrong way to do this. The only requirement is that you are honest with yourself. Allow yourself to simply imagine and see what comes up for you. Take note of all the attributes of this experience, even the ones that you may consider to be bad or negative – they are all markers in helping you identify any emotional and psychological blocks you may hold.
- Set aside some time for yourself when you will not be disturbed.
- Take a few deep breaths to quieten your mind and bring yourself into a centred space.
- Begin to imagine what you would like your ideal [ENTER DREAM/GOAL HERE] to be.
- Focus on one issue at a time. Be clear to focus your energy on that one thing.
- Imagine what it would feel like, sound like, be like if you were already in your ideal relationship/job/home.
- If any unexpected visitors arrive (i.e. memories or emotions) in this creative envisioning process, take note of them and allow them to pass through your mind.
- Notice how you feel in this process. Do you feel light and easy? Do you feel heavy and anxious? All of your feelings are valid and helpful markers in showing you what you may be resisting.
- Once you have completed this exercise, jot down anything that may have stuck out for you.
- Ask yourself the following reflective questions:
- Could you imagine your life in the way that you wanted?
- Did your mind automatically shut this process down?
- Did your thoughts simply dismiss the creative process of imagination?
- Did your thoughts afford you some leeway, offering you one triumph over another – a good job but never a loving relationship?
- Did you get stuck on the ‘how’ of it all?
- Work towards your core feelings and goals.
You can get the full audio training, which discusses this creative exercise, here.