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“Don’t waste time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind.”~ Mary Schmich
Have you ever felt resentful of another person simply because of their success – i.e. a baby, a new home, a spouse, a promotion, or their lifestyle? Do you have a tendency to downplay or dismiss other people’s accomplishments to make yourself feel better? If so, you are suffering from a case of jealousy.
The dangers of jealousy
The truth is, jealousy, also known as envy, is not only powerful and encompassing but also highly toxic and dangerous. It is also a very common human emotion. It typically presents itself in relationships. However, it can invade any and every facet of your life – if left unchecked.
Jealousy can also lead to animosity, hostility, dishonesty, suspicion, and sometimes a breakup, separation, divorce, or a loss of friends. Everyone or almost everyone has been jealous of someone at some point in their lives; however, it becomes a real problem when it starts to negatively affect your life. In other words, when it starts to control how you behave in certain situations, it’s time to change.
What happens when we’re feeling jealous of other people’s lives
When the “green monster of envy” hits you, it can cause you to feel cynical, annoyed, and irritated most of the time – i.e. at home and at work. But, although romantic jealousy is the most common type of jealousy, other forms are just as powerful…and damaging.
In fact, you can also become jealous of other people’s achievements, strengths, ways of living, happiness, and friendships.
For example, you may feel jealous of your former college classmate who was able to snag his dream job while you are stuck working at one that downplays your education and skills. You can also become jealous of a close friend who appears to have a perfect life – i.e. a spouse, high-paying job, a young child, a stylish car, a house with a picket fence, and a cute dog.
Jealousy, in this case, stems from the perception that someone else’s life is much better, easier, and more secure than your own. Jealousy blinds us to reality. When we are jealous of others, we only see how great their lives are, in comparison to our own.
Jealousy can also destroy friendships by making you envious of friends who have more than you. For example, jealousy can pop-up after a close friend gets married and starts a family, especially if you desperately want to do the same. This can lead to withdrawal, anger, resentment, and hostility towards your former BFF.
Look for hidden triggers
Guess what else can trigger jealousy? Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and especially Instagram. Instagram is a notorious stage for bragging. People post glamorous pictures of what they own (think a diamond-encrusted Rolexes and Bentleys) on it to gain more followers and likes.
It’s trendy to aspire to be an “Instagram Star,” especially amongst young adults. Users will go to no end to be attractive (Hello filters!) and appealing (“Wow look at that nice ride!”) to other people. Seeing all of this can make people jealous, especially if they don’t realize most of what they see on these sites is fake – i.e. altered, manipulated, and manufactured.
The result? A constant fear that you won’t “measure up” to other people.
Jealousy stems from insecurity. It comes from the belief or fear that you aren’t good enough as is. This mentality causes you to feel threatened by others. More specifically, it causes you to feel that their success says something negative about you because you have not achieved what you wanted to achieve. Jealousy can also arise due to childhood or previous experiences.
If you find yourself spiraling into the dark tunnel of jealousy, don’t fret. This article can guide you towards the light, so you don’t experience the notorious “green monster.”
Embrace the feeling
You’ll never get over the jealousy if you don’t accept that you’re jealous. So, allow yourself to really feel it. Once you face what you’re feeling head-on, it will lose its power over you and your life. Then, you’ll finally be free from it.
So, how can one embrace the jealousy? By finding a quiet and private place, getting comfortable, closing your eyes, and focusing on the emotion. How does the jealousy make you feel – physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually? This is a type of mindfulness in which you become an “observer” of your own experience. The goal is to stop feeling jealous of other people by helping you see the situation from a different perspective.
Try to determine why you’re feeling jealous of other people’s lives
Next, you’ll need to determine why you are jealous of the other person. Find a quiet place and think about what is really prompting your jealous feelings. Why do you feel threatened by this other person’s success? What fears or worries are preventing you from being happy for the other person? Could your own insecurities be triggering your jealousy? Are you afraid to lose someone or something? What do you think you deserve in life?
Once you understand the true origin of your jealousy, you can address your insecurities, and ease your fears and worries so you’re not envious anymore.
Put it down on paper
Once you have a good idea of what is causing the jealousy, it will be time to put it all down on paper – your thoughts, feelings, hopes, fears, worries, etc. Writing down your thoughts in a journal or diary is a good way to express yourself without being interrupted by outside influences.
So, ask yourself the following questions, “What is causing me to be jealous of this person?” And, “How can I stop feeling this way towards him or her?” Forget about grammar and spelling, just jot down what first comes to mind – no second-guessing. Once finished, look at your list and develop healthy and positive ways to deal with each issue.
Journaling also helps you look at the situation from a different angle, so you can deal with the jealousy in a healthier way.
The worst thing you can do is compare yourself to someone else. So, stop doing that! How? By focusing on yourself. What makes YOU unique? What are YOUR strengths? How have YOU been blessed? Place the answers to these questions on notes and hang them around your bedroom and kitchen so you are always reminded of how special you are.
Positive affirmations are “word diamonds.” They are extremely valuable for your frame-of-mind, self-esteem, and self-confidence. So, use them to help you stop comparing yourself to others. Instead of trying to be like someone else, be you! In other words, try to see the beauty in the differences between you. If you’re feeling jealous of other people because of your own insecurities, work on your self-esteem and self-confidence. Focus on something you do well. And, celebrate your strengths, successes, and everything that makes you awesome!
Read the longer version
You can learn more about “feeling jealous over other people’s success” by reading the following articles: 8 Healthy Ways to Deal with Jealousy, Jealousy Is a Killer: How to Break-Free from Your Jealousy, and The Real Reasons Why People Get Jealous – And Why Jealousy is So Powerful.
About the Author
Dr. R. Y. Langham
Ph.D. in Family Psychology
Ree has a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy (M.M.F.T.) and a Ph.D. in Family Psychology. She spent over ten years counseling families, couples, individuals, and children on adjustment issues such as blended families, same-sex couples, dysfunctional family relationships, relationship issues, etc. Now she writes for famous health organizations and is a published author.
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