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You Vs. Jealousy: How to Win

5 strategies to overcome envy and not let it poison your life

Photo by Moviestore Collection/Rex/REX USA (939453a)
Jayne Mansfield ,  Jayne Mansfield,  Sophia Loren
Film and Television
Photo by Moviestore Collection/Rex/REX USA (939453a) Jayne Mansfield , Jayne Mansfield, Sophia Loren Film and Television

Think of someone you are jealous of (be honest with yourself, nobody is judging!)

It can be a mom of 2 with a perfect body you are following on Instagram, or your school friend who married really well and never fails to remind you about it, or a successful entrepreneur who quit her corporate job and now travels the world (major #FOMO as you spend 8+ hours daily at your desk).

Feeling jealous is very time and energy consuming. It always involves comparisons and judgements that occupy a lot of our mental space. Jealousy makes us feel inferior, small and insecure. And with polished and curated social media becoming our primary source of information about other people’s lives, it’s hard not to feel like we are behind and need to keep up.

So how do we take control of this sneaky feeling?

Start by paying attention to what you usually do when you feel jealous. To get your wheels turning, here are some likely scenarios:

1. You gossip and seek validation. Any form of finger-pointy envy is a sign that what you gossip about resonates with you on a deep level. Which means that you either have *insert your subject of gossip* in yourself and don’t like it, or you really want to have what another person has, but don’t want to admit it! (Been there, done that)

2. You try to make another person jealous of you. Classic competition. Might give you short-term satisfaction, but later makes you feel like sh*t. (Learned it the hard way)

3. You destroy yourself in your own head. You repeat to yourself that you are a failure compared to a handful of “successful” people and find excuses not to do anything to make your own situation better. (Favorite flavor of procrastination)

4. Your compulsive behavior shows up. Someone whose lifestyle you envy make you want to keep up, but instead you choose to numb yourself (why not binge on ice cream?)

All these are protection mechanisms used subconsciously to prevent you from confronting your jealousy. Here is the truth: all behaviors listed above are action signals telling you that..

..You MUST shift your focus from the person you are jealous of to yourself!

Here is how:

1. Become aware. Make a decision to be honest with yourself every time envy shows up. Don’t ignore it, and don’t judge yourself for experiencing it. Just be aware and thank it for being your teacher. Mindfulness is always the first step towards making a change.

2. Focus on inside, not outside. It’s deceptive to think that someone has it all based on their social media profile or possessions they like to show off. They might have your dream car and go on vacations you can’t afford, but they might also have panic attacks every night because they are deep in debt living life they can’t afford

3. Get rid of the trigger. It’s one of the most challenging things to do, but making a conscious effort to minimize interactions with people you are jealous of can make a huge difference in your life.Mute them, block them, delete them, don’t attend events they are attending, don’t compete with them. Commit to shifting your focus and stick to it. You will be surprised how this jealousy vanishes when you accidentally run into this person few months later

4. Let it fuel you. When it comes to other people’s achievements (not possessions), you can use jealousy as motivation. Instead of finding excuses about why you would never be able to achieve something another person has, put this energy towards very simple things you enjoy doing alone. Notice what gives you spikes of positive energy and double down on that. It can be walking in nature, drawing, or reading a book you’ve been wanting to dive into. Doing simple things like these (a.k.a. focusing on yourself) often lead to some profound realizations.

5. Be grateful! Being jealous of other people’s possessions makes us ignorant about all the wonderful non-materialistic things we have in our lives. Practice finding at least 5 things you are grateful for every day and put them down on paper. I am often grateful for things like abundance of fresh air, an interesting conversation I had with someone, or an awesome podcast I discovered. Have a notebook on your bedside table to write it down first thing in the morning or before bedtime (I use 5 Minute Journal for extra inspiration).

And here is one more thing to keep in mind as you declare war to jealousy:

You are exactly where you need to be — and you can never be behind on your own path.

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- MARCUS AURELIUS

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