Jealousy makes us act in ways we never thought we would. It makes us feel absolutely rubbish about ourselves while potentially sabotaging our relationships with those around us.
But once you are able to curb your jealous tendencies, you’ll realise that life isn’t a competition between people; it’s a journey you go on to develop as a human being.
And that will bring you freedom and self-confidence.
The root cause of jealousy
Jealousy comes down to one thing. Comparing yourself to someone else. When you feel like your life isn’t where you want it to be or are just generally unhappy with your life, you look to other people that seem happy and try to work out what they have that you don’t.
And if you feel like certain people have an unfair advantage or have something you want, it can cause jealousy.
There is a strong sense that when someone has something you want, that it personally takes away from you. And so sometimes jealousy comes from a feeling of being robbed of an object, person, or opportunity.
For example, if someone gets a promotion over you, you may feel jealous because they now have what you wanted.
And when jealousy becomes a typical emotion for you, it can cause mental health problems.
Jealousy, depression, and anxiety – a chain of thoughts
What happens when you feel like you aren’t good enough to have what other people have? Or worry that you could never have the success of your childhood friends?
You start to view life through a negative lens.
And when we become fixed on said negative lens, we fall into the very probable likelihood of developing anxiety or depression.
And from there, it’s a never-ending cycle. Jealousy fuels depression and anxiety, which fuel jealousy, and so on.
So the most important thing you can do is to stop comparing yourself to others and being jealous, so you can start to appreciate the very real positives you bring to the table that make you the unique and amazing person you are, even if you can’t see it.
Six steps to stop being jealous
Find your triggers
Everyone has at least one thing that triggers their insecurity. It could be their education, looks, money, relationships, career…
And so, whenever someone trips that trigger by being better or having more than you, jealousy kicks in.
But by understanding what your triggers are, you can start to develop coping mechanisms so that you stop comparing yourself to others and learn to truly appreciate what you have.
An excellent way to recognise your triggers is by writing them down. For example, every time you feel jealous, sit down with your journal and write about how you feel and why. What specifically about the situation is making you feel jealous?
This exercise is the first step to understanding yourself better and finding the strength within to realise your worth.
Re-evaluate your life
Often, jealousy stems from others having the life and success we think we should have.
And that’s because we’ve been fed a steady diet of media that tells us that to be successful, you need a highly paid successful career with a beautiful home, gorgeous partner, and incredibly good looks. Miss any of these, and you might as well call time – you’re a failure.
But just because we’ve been conditioned to believe we have to reach unrealistic expectations to succeed, it doesn’t make it true. And contrary to what you may think, you can not have any of the above and still be highly successful.
The key is to work out what success means to you. What will make you happy in life? Because once you re-evaluate what you want, you can create your own path to success. One that doesn’t worry about those around you. One that is unique to you.
Learn to appreciate what you have
Jealousy stems from “lack”. That is, you are lacking in one or many aspects compared to someone else, which is causing you to be insecure.
A great example of this is the millionaire living on a street of billionaires. To you, the millionaire is incredibly rich and very lucky in wealth. But to the millionaire being surrounded by billionaires, they feel poor and jealous of their neighbours' wealth. Which means rather than celebrating their extreme wealth, they aren’t happy because they want more, like the people around them.
And so you see, jealousy can sabotage your mind into believing you don’t have anything good in your life because you compare to someone else who maybe has more than you. But just like the millionaire who didn’t stop being rich just because those around them were richer, someone having more than you doesn’t stop you from having what you have.
So next time you feel jealous, think about what you have rather than comparing yourself to someone with more.
When you make it a habit to find the good moments in the day to be grateful for, you cultivate an abundance mindset. That you have more than enough to make you happy and have a fulfilling life.
So every day, set yourself a reminder to spend five minutes every evening making a list of three things that day that made you grateful. Maybe a smile from a stranger or finding a penny buried at the bottom of a bag.
Remember, it doesn’t have to be big or extravagant for you to be thankful for it.
Look at the bigger picture
In life, we’ll always have parts that are abundant and parts we need to work on. But having areas in life that we need to work on doesn’t take away from the areas we are “rich” in. Sure, maybe you don’t have a job at the moment, but it doesn’t stop you from having friends and family that love you unconditionally. Or perhaps you don’t have a partner at the moment, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have a roof over your head.
An interesting exercise you can do is to use the wheel of life. It outlines different areas of your life and asks you to rate each one. You’ll see that the result from one area doesn’t affect the other area, just as the examples above are independent.
Once you can see your life for the bigger picture – that you have things to be thankful for and provide you happiness and success, you don’t need to worry about comparing it to what other people have.
Carefully curate your social media
Social media has given us the ability to communicate with anyone, anywhere in seconds, which is great! Until you start misusing your social media.
What many people fail to remember is that people tend to only post their “best self” on social media. And often using filters or artistic licence.
And if you see someone that looks like they have an incredible life plastered on your feed, you might start comparing yourself to them and become jealous.
So the best thing you can do is unfollow any accounts that make you feel like less than. This could be specific influencers, brands that try and sell you on products by feeding your insecurities, or even friends that constantly brag about their accomplishments that make you feel jealous.
It’s your space, and you get to decide what you let in.
And don’t forget…
It’s always easier to look at other people and feel like you are missing out than to truly appreciate what you have. But once you do, you’ll realise the only competition you have is you.
For more daily inspiration, follow us on Instagram @malpaper