Is Jealousy All Bad?
Jealousy is considered a negative emotion, right? It doesn’t exactly give you those warm and fuzzy feelings. But, what if we flipped the switch on jealousy? Do you think putting a positive spin on jealousy is doable, or are you rolling your eyes right now? It’s always a good thing to find the positive side to life, am I right? I hope to give you something to think about, even where the green-eyed-monster is concerned.
Just before I go any further, a little note. This blog is not in relation to romantic jealousy. I am talking jealousy of the status, career or attributes of another person kind. I am also NOT encouraging the negative emotion. Sounds like I’m blowing apart my own argument, doesn’t it? Lol. Bear with me, I want to take a closer look at the psychology behind jealousy.
Looking at Why We Are Jealous
In most cases jealousy is more about you than it is about the person you are directing your jealousy at. If you are open to explore it from this angle, in a weird kind of way jealousy can be a positive thing. All it takes is for us to take a closer look at what it is we are jealous of. Is it a physical attribute, someone’s financial or career status; or is it the way someone handles themselves in a certain situation? Once we’ve established the kind of jealousy we can narrow down on the why we are jealous.
Unfortunately we don’t ‘process’ our jealousy. Instead we just let it make us mad at the other person. If we thought about the root cause of it instead we would be able to find the lesson (about ourselves, not them!), and work towards sorting out what’s causing it.
The Different Types of Jealousy
Like I mentioned before, I’m not touching the romantic jealousy here. That is a different kind of beast altogether. Yes, it comes down to an insecurity, but not the kind we want to address here. I want to look at the jealousy that we can trace to what I will very carefully call ‘helpful’ insecurities. I say this because IF you pay attention to what they are saying about you, you can learn an awful lot that will benefit you in the long run. These are the different kinds I want to look at, that I believe have helpful lessons for us underneath those icky feeling.
Jealousy of the Material Kind
While our immediate response to our own jealousy is a tightness in the chest and a feeling of anger towards ourselves, what it really means in your heart of hearts is that you would love to have the same for your own life. What’s wrong with that? Here’s where the problem comes in. We believe we are wrong for wanting. How ridiculous! You are not wrong for wanting. You are wrong for assuming you are not good enough to have the same as someone else. Use the jealousy as a cue for what you should be chasing after, working towards, saving up for! Whatever it is, if you feel jealous, you are secretly pining for it. Forget about being angry for someone else for having what you want, work towards getting it for yourself instead. Use the energy in a positive way.
Jealousy of the Intellectual Kind
This is an insecurity of our own abilities. Why do they have ‘all the brains’? Why do some people achieve so much in life and I just can’t seem to string a sentence together properly? This is my Achilles heel of insecurities. Lol. I always felt envious of people who I deemed smarter than me, assuming I could never reach the level that they did. But, if you take a healthier approach to this and use it to fuel the fire for your own, completely separate goals and dreams, this envy is super healthy! All you have to do is to learn to work to your own strengths and stop trying to use the same measurements that others use in their lives. You can never hold yourself up to someone else. Where you see yourself as less than, there will always be something you are stronger at. Find that! And work with it.
Jealousy of the Physical Kind
Whichever way you look at it, comparing yourself physically to someone else is not a good thing! Using someone else’s attitude to how they treat their body, ie. healthy eating habits or exercise regime on the other hand is great! If you see something on someone else and wish you could have the same: flat stomach, toned legs etc. don’t waste your time sending negative energy out to them! It’s not their fault YOU don’t have a flat stomach! Realize that your jealous feelings are about you, that you can take action instead of using these feelings as an excuse. Don’t you want to rather take control of your own life and let go of the negative feelings that are causing problems in your relationships? Remember, you are the captain of your own ship.
Finding the Positives
Let’s face it, if we looked at all our woes in this life from a positive take-away perspective, we are more likely to learn from them and grow from them. This in not easy with jealousy! Jealousy is basically anger with a sting. It is not interested in playing nice or finding the silver lining. It’s out to get you. So, facing it head on might be a challenge.
Write a list of things, situations and people in your life that you are jealous of. Then analyse your jealousy and where it is stemming from. Can you find a positive behind the initial green-eyed-monster reaction? Jealous of your neighbours beautifully decorated, immaculate home? All this means is you actually long to have this for yourself. Why focus on the negatives in that? Focus on the clarity behind realizing you want it for yourself and find ways to make it happen. The same applies to being jealous of the confidence you see in someone you work with. You long for that confidence yourself. But, confidence can be taught! Look for the positives, and the solutions to your jealousy.
Using Them to Heal
If I could, I would sprinkle my own version of pixie dust over this world. I would see that everyone sees this world through rose-tinted glasses. Find the positive in their situation instead of focusing only and always on the negative. A positive mindset is like one of those vitality boosters you get in video games, it recharges you and gives you a boost in life. If you want to succeed in life, in any area of your life, you need to have a positive outlook.
Jealousy teaches us so much about ourselves and what we are hiding from. Our deepest desires. Our weak spots that need a bit of nurturing. When you look more closely you give yourself the opportunity to understand yourself better, rather than blocking it out, avoiding it and stopping all growth in its tracks. We are often scared to hear the voice of our authentic desires. We have a range of reasons for this, from feeling they are too big and intimidating to feeling we don’t deserve them. Next time you feel jealousy creeping in under your skin, stop and think about it a little before you push it aside as a negative emotion. You never know, you may actually be able to learn something from it.
Starting to Grow from the Lesson
The aim of this blog is not to encourage the feeling of jealousy. What I want is for us to take the lesson from the inevitable emotion that arises when we long for something for our own lives that we see in others. Don’t encourage the bitterness, rather zoom in to the cause of the emotion.
We have so much to learn about ourselves. At every turn in our lives we can choose to grow from the experience, and the negative experiences are usually our greatest teachers. So, try to understand your emotions when they arise! They are there to show you something about yourself. Take the focus off the other person, the ‘Joneses’, and focus on what has been triggered within you. Now, start working on making your own life everything your green-eyed-monster imagines those ‘Joneses’ to have.
Thanks for reading!