Whether you’re using Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat, it only takes a moment to be bombarded with images of celebrities with seemingly perfect lives, or perfect European getaways, or friends wearing designer shoes worth more than your car.
While it’s really no surprise then that feelings of envy and jealousy arise, it’s how we use these emotions that really counts.
You’re not alone in feeling the red hot flashes of anger or nauseating uneasiness. These are often signs of envy and jealousy when we see others with things we don’t have and are jealous of what others seem to enjoy more of, whether that’s money, a relationship, or an overseas holiday. We tend to get caught up in in these emotions, rather than using them as a tool for greater self-awareness.
Rather than just acknowledging those feelings of jealousy, dig a little deeper and try to uncover the root cause. This process of discovery is not only the first step toward resolving self-depreciation, but can also help to achieve a more empowered sense of self and a more confident approach to life.
It’s also really important to distinguish whether your feelings are stemming from jealousy or from envy, as this will help you determine the course of action that you should take.
Jealousy is based on the perception that we could lose something to a rival— the feeling that somebody could take something of value away. So, if you are attached to, infatuated by, addicted to, or dependent on a particular trait in someone that you’re afraid of losing, you are vulnerable to jealousy. Envy is something different entirely. It is similar to desire, where somebody has something that you don’t have, but want, like money or success.
For example, if you were dating someone whose intelligence you envied, and another woman came in who had a more intellectually stimulating conversation with your partner, you would envy her having the intelligence to relate to your partner in a way that you cannot. You’d also possibly be jealous of her.
While you can envy her ability to communicate with your partner, you’d also be jealous of her because of the risk of losing your partner. And you would covet that dynamic. Jealousy has a hidden or revealed resentment attached. You resent that person for possibly taking your partner away from you and you envy them, because it seems obvious they have something that you don’t.
So how do you overcome these feelings when they threaten to suck you into a black hole of jealousy?
1. Jealousy is a tool – Consider this: If you never felt jealous, you wouldn’t feel the need to grow and expand. So, instead of seeing jealousy as negative, accept it as a tool in your emotional toolkit that can help you achieve a greater version of yourself. By keeping you on your toes, these emotions can be used to create a greater you. If that means you want to up-skill at work to ensure you beat your colleagues to the next round of promotions, ensure that you do what it takes to achieve that goal.
2. Master consciousness – When jealousy comes, you’re on a knife-edge. You must decide whether you will simply embrace these feelings and use them to help you develop, or feel a vicious need to let them destroy you. Instead of obsessing over what others have that you don’t, refocus that energy into working out how to get there too – or realise that there are places where you have gotten there already in your own unique way.
3. Don’t settle – Whether it’s for a job, or a relationship, ensure that you seek what fulfils you, and not only what infatuates you. If you’re infatuated with feelings of vulnerability and doubt, you’ll pay the price. Instead, seek relationships and jobs that truly align with your highest values to feel validated and fulfilled.