Your friend gets promoted, while you’re stuck in a dead-end job. Or you stew during her housewarming party, hating the fact that she can afford this beautiful home while you struggle just to make rent on your apartment. How do you deal with this emotion?
When we are jealous of someone, the problem isn’t that we don’t like her, we don’t like something about ourselves. We compare our job, home, body, life to this person and think, ‘I’m not good enough.’ We can feel pity (‘Why can’t good things happen to me?’) and anger (‘It’s unfair!’).
That’s why jealousy can be a powerful step towards self-awareness, and if we take this stance then jealousy can become a teacher rather than an ugly emotion that consumes us.
The first assumption of jealousy is that success is limited. Her success deprives you of your own success, and leaves ‘less’ for you to have. That’s not true. Your friend can succeed, but so can you.
The second assumption of jealousy is that there is only one form of success. There are things your friend has that you don’t, but you also have your share of blessings and gifts. Maybe your job doesn’t pay as well as hers, but surely it gives some sort of special fulfillment? Do you like the people you work with, do you enjoy what you do? Maybe you are jealous of her, but maybe someone is jealous of you—precisely for things you take for granted!
The third assumption of jealousy is that you are powerless to change a situation. She has something, you don’t have it, and that’s that. But you do have the power to change your life. Instead of saying, ‘I’m jealous of her because she was able to get a promotion’ try rephrasing it: ‘I admire her because she was able to get a promotion.’ Immediately the feeling shifts, and you can then see her as a role model. ‘She inspires me to work harder,’ or ‘She gives me hope that eventually hard work is rewarded.’ Hating her life wastes your energy; instead, focus on improving your own and filling it with activities and thoughts that bring you closer to your own dreams. (Read our tips on creating a wonder-filled life.)
Photo from videojug.com
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