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Don't cha wish your life was as awesome as hers?

There's this woman (who shall remain nameless) that I'm incredibly envious of. We've never met, but she used to work in the same place I did a few years before I joined. I probably wouldn't ever had heard of her had she not been friends with a famous supermodel and her uber-cool posse, but every now and then she would crop up on The Mail online or in the background of a pap shot, which of course prompted office conversation.

I learned that she was a freelance journalist based in Manhattan and basically living my dream life.

She had an edgy haircut, loads of famous friends and went to the best parties, but most of all, she lived in New York which has been my dream forever. Frankly, I'd sell my granny in a heartbeat if it meant I got to move to NYC (sorry, Nan).

I started following this girl on Twitter, and soon got caught up in her feed. I loved to hate on her every tweet -- and really, she made it very easy with her adopted Yankee colloquialisms and thinly veiled humble brags.

Her musings made me rage with jealousy, and even though the logical part of my brain knows she's human, has her own problems and that her life probably isn't a fraction as cool as I imagine it to be, I developed an extreme case of life envy.

I balked at the unfairness of it all and asked so many questions, my colleagues thought I was bananas. In the end, I had to unfollow her on Twitter, such was my jealousy. However, I still have her on the oul' Instagram, just because her photos of New York are a sight for sore eyes. That's the only reason, I swear.

As a magazine staffer and beauty editor for the past few years, I've also courted my own fair share of life envy.

Now I know that this is preposterous; that free lipsticks and drinks don't pay the rent, that celebs might look chummy in photos but it's really all pretty awkward, and that magazine life isn't even a quarter as glam as they make it look on the telly, but Joanne Soap doesn't know that, so I get that from the outside through a computer screen the media life might seem pretty cool to some.

However, what Mrs Soap fails to realise is that many women in my shoes actually long to be sitting at home with a husband and three kids, and actually envy Mrs Soap's perceived domestic bliss.

Confidence mentor and life coach Anna Aparicio, of Delite Life Solutions, explains that life envy is nothing new.

"We don't know whether the grass is greener unless we are mowing that grass! However, this envy is certainly something a lot of us seem to experience at one stage or another, but that doesn't make it a healthy emotion," she admits.

"There is nothing wrong with wanting to have or do something that another person has or is doing. Some use that as a source of inspiration and motivation to help us succeed in life. It's when envy turns malicious or obsessive that we could suspect that it roots in a lack of self-esteem.

"Envious people often have a skewed perception on how to achieve true happiness. They might believe that happiness comes with the accumulation of material things, as opposed to being an emotion.


"It's not just those with lives we perceive to be better than our own that we envy, but also our own friends and acquaintances. When somebody gets a promotion, has a baby or gets engaged, it's natural to feel a twang, but if it starts affecting your relationship then that's a problem. When jealousy turns into resentment and bad behaviour, it can be the end of a friendship."

Social networking and the internet in general certainly don't help with the feeling that the grass is definitely greener in the next person's Twittersphere, and can actually feed it.

Everything from gossip sites to Facebook can project images of perceived perfection, be it weddings and new babies or awards ceremonies and glitzy premieres.

These snapshots are edited down and out of context, without the nitty gritty realities of daily life, but they're still in your face. If you're sitting at home in a dressing gown eating Pringles with nowhere to go, it can make you feel awful. This isn't just FOMO -- fear of missing out -- because this isn't just your social life we're talking about, but everybody from Kim Kardashian to Kathryn Thomas to Kate from school, and their seemingly fabulous careers, romances, style and material things.

It's natural to compare ourselves to other mere mortals and find ourselves lacking, but when celebs are the source of life envy the comparisons are anything but fair.

I often think that if I were Mila Kunis and flitted between film sets in New York and LA, everything in my life would be perfect, even though I know that's total crap. The poor girl may be incredibly beautiful, rich and talented, but also gets ripped to shreds when she reaches a normal body weight, and her every date and movement is scrutinised.

Still, I watched Friends With Benefits recently and was consumed with envy, so much so that I was in a fouler with my fella afterwards cos he's not Justin Timberlake and his family don't own a beach house in Malibu.

Yep, I let a film get to me and actually, a wholly unrealistic one for that matter. I knew watching it that the staff at GQ magazine wouldn't be allowed carry on like that, and that Mila was primped, preened and made-up to within an inch of her life in every shot, not to mention underweight after Black Swan, but I still got swept up in the fantasy. Ridiculous, but still a real feeling of jealousy with negative effects.

"Becoming consumed with envy can be very destructive," warns Anna.

"It's happened throughout history, starting with the Bible's Cain and Abel. It's possible to become consumed with life envy to the point where your behaviour is harmful, and obsessive envy and harmful envy have been linked to narcissism and even paranoia."

So, life envy is real on many different levels and across social strata, but what are we to do about it? First things first, we need to really realise that there is no such thing as perfection or ideal when it comes to life, according to Anna.

"So many people who seem to live perfect lives are simply not, because there is no such thing. We only get one life, and it's not that long so it's important to put things in perspective."

Sometimes it takes a big world event or a trauma to remind us of what's important, but Anna advises that the negative event isn't necessary to spur feelings of gratitude.

"My advice is not to put that shift in thinking off until something bad happens. It doesn't make sense to postpone happiness, because the truth is we don't really know if we're going to be here tomorrow."

It all sounds good, but although we all know this at the back of our minds to be true, it can often be hard to look past the horrible surface feelings that jealousy brings about and see the bigger picture. When green-eyes strike to the point where it's becoming a major downer, try and big yourself up so you don't feel so bad.

"Write down your own strengths, talents, accomplishments and blessings," encou rages Anna.

If you still feel like you have nothing going for you, write down the stuff you really want from life, as many ascribe to the belief that visualising what you want in life is the best way to go about achieving it.

Anna agrees. "As renowned psychologist Owen Fitzpatrick says, 'You are not what you do, you are everything that you can become at your very best'."

It'll also do you good to remember that life envy affects everyone, no matter their station in life.


My New York "friend" likely has her own idols and objects of envy, because the funny thing is once you get to where you want to be in life, it gets old and you want more.

We all acclimatise to fabulousity (Kimora Lee Simmons' word, not mine) pretty quickly.

The thing is to know when to stop, cop on, and quit begrudging others their good fortune.

I've stopped letting envy consume me, and instead have made a change in my life that might put me a step closer to my own Big Apple fantasy.

Channel envy correctly, and you know what? It's a bloody good kick up the you know what.