Now, much is said of jealousy, but rarely do I hear about how jealousy actually feels in our bodies. It’s a very unpleasant and awkward emotion, and it sort of shocks us when it first crops up.
I don’t think anyone wants to stay feeling jealous for very long: it aches and it tears in all the wrong places. But just like all the other emotions we tend to feel, jealousy is simply another note on the spectrum of human emotion we can’t avoid feeling.
So, how do we deal with jealousy? Well, whenever I experience jealousy cropping up in me (when I see someone succeeding in their writing career in the way I wish to succeed), I try to acknowledge the ways in which this jealously is not serving me. I examine what jealousy is doing to me, and notice the ways in which jealousy is tricking me into believing its nasty lies:
How Jealousy Isn’t Serving You
1. Jealousy Gives You A False Comparison
When I get jealous of someone, I usually notice that this pang of jealousy carries with it a deep sense of unfairness.
When you grow jealous of someone you might feel the same way:
You are convinced that you and the person you are jealous of have been working off the exact same “owner’s manual,” but somehow the both of you are getting different results. His plane is soaring, while your plane remains grounded. So, if you’re convinced you’re both working off of the exact same owner’s manual, the only way you can explain his success is by coming to the conclusion that he just got “lucky.” But the idea that someone else “just got lucky,” no matter how great it is for the other person, always stinks of unfairness to you.
But this, I find, is where jealousy is at its meanest: it starts convincing you that life MUST be “favoring” this person over you.
But that’s a lie. Because you and the person you’re jealous of are not the same, and, what’s more, your journey’s in this life are not the same. It’s not as if life is an unlevel playing field–where some get all the lucky breaks and some of us don’t–it’s that we’re all on completely different playing fields. So, comparing your lack of achievement with another person’s achievement is like comparing apples to oranges.
If we understand that our jealousy is a false comparison, then we might find that we we’re not meant to live out the successes of the person we are jealous of. We are meant to live out our own.
2. Jealousy Is A Waste of Your Energy
You can’t help but feel jealous once in a while, but when you let jealousy consume you and motivate your day-to-day actions then jealousy can become a tremendous waste of energy.
Jealousy can even become dangerous to your health if, after a while, you begin to think about ways to thwart this other person, sabotage them, or try to pull them down to your “level,” or even below your level. You must catch yourself before you start to slip this deep into your jealousy.
You need to ask yourself:
Do I really want to spend another minute of my life wasting my energy on trying to sabotage someone else from succeeding? Or is that energy better spent doing something more productive for me, in my own life?
3. Jealousy Perpetuates The Scarcity Myth
Jealousy’s most potent venom consists of one very innocent-seeming–but very deadly–lie. The lie is that there is only a scarce amount of success, love, and abundance in this world. It is no wonder, then, why jealousy often leads people to want to thwart or sabotage another.
The jealous person is convinced that the other is actually harboring something that belongs to him, and if he doesn’t get it back, the jealous person is convinced that he’ll be without it for the rest of his life.
The myth of scarcity is the most dangerous way in which jealousy does not serve us. To think that love, abundance, and joy are limited is to live in a world filled with envy. If everything is scarce, then we must rush to cling, to hoard, to grasp, to steal, to lie, to cheat–whatever it takes to make sure that we hold on to the scarce resources of this world. The last thing we want is to look like a fool when we discover that, after the scuffle, we are the ones left empty-handed, and the other is left coveting the riches we were after.
But this is what often happens when you use the negative energy of your jealousy to try to thwart the other. Despite tearing the other down, you end up lifting the other higher up, and you feel exhausted and wasted by the end of the process. Scheming a devious plot, or mastering a cut-throat technique to thwart another person is unnecessary and, in the end, counterproductive.
How To Make Jealousy Serve You
Here’s how you can use the energy of jealousy to serve you:
1. You Can Use Jealousy To Remind Of Your Own Unique Journey
Jealousy can remind you that your journey is unique, and that it has its own unique challenges that are incredibly different from everyone else’s.
When envy rears its ugly head, let the nasty emotion remind you that there’s nothing wrong with you. Let it remind you that it’s not that you haven’t tried hard enough, or that life is unfair, or that god doesn’t love you as much as someone else. Realize, instead, that god loves you too much to give you a journey that is exactly the same as someone else’s. God wants you to have your own unique story to tell, and he’s got unique lessons only you can learn and teach to others.
In this way, what you lack, or what you think you lack, becomes holy. It becomes essential to who you are and to who you are slowly becoming. To look at it another way: the big gap between you and the person you envy is meant to be there. Because that big gap is going to push you in a direction the other will never go, or experience.
Who knew that what you lacked could end up becoming something that others could be envious of? But it’s true.
2. You Can Use Jealousy’s Energy to Propel You Forward In A Positive Way
Before jealousy can get to its most venomous state (the state of needing to sabotage others) you must shift jealousy’s energy and utilize it, instead, to put energy behind your own projects. Use jealousy’s energy to make your own dreams come true.
3. You Can Let Jealousy Remind You That There’s Enough Love, Wealth, and Success To Go Around
When you feel jealous, be happy for the person you are jealous of, and then realize that their happiness doesn’t threaten your own happiness. Realize that love, success, happiness–all things worth having in life are in abundant, limitless supply. You don’t need someone else’s treasures. Why? Because you have your own to find.
(FYI: The more you waste time chasing after someone else’s treasures, the longer you leave your own treasure abandoned.)
What To Do When You’re On “The Other Side” of Jealousy
Finally, there may come a time when you’ve moved past your own jealousy and you find yourself on the other side of it. When we are on the other side of jealousy, we may fear being happy or successful because we are wary of attracting the jealousy of others.
But we shouldn’t fear our own happiness or success. Because when we are happy and successful, it’s not because we’re stealing happiness or success from the rest, it’s simply because we are tapping into the well of abundance that is available to all of us, all the time.
To not let ourselves be successful and happy, simply because we fear the jealousy of others, is an injustice. Think about it this way: if none of us ever allowed ourselves to be successful and happy, just because we feared the wrath of jealously, then who would be left to show us that happiness and success is even possible?
The Antidote To Envy
Call me a dreamer, an idealist, or a foolish optimist, but I truly believe that we are all brought into this world to live out our highest potential, fulfill our dreams, and help others to do the same. We are not brought into this world to teach others how to steal; we’re here to teach each other how to give. We are not brought into this world to hoard “the scarcity of riches,” but to teach others how to find their own, unique riches. We are not brought into this world to steal the happiness away from others, but to be happy for others, and then find out what that happiness means for us.
What do you do when jealousy starts to get the best of you? Please share your wisdom with us in the comments below!
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