Jealousy. This is a big one. Think about all the times you’ve been jealous of someone in your life. Now think about all the times someone has been jealous of you. Whether you’re at the receiving end of it or you’re the one dishing it out, the fact of the matter is that it doesn’t feel good either way. But when you think about it, jealousy is SUCH a natural emotion! I see jealousy being expressed by children so often and so freely that it makes me wonder why we make it such a big deal as adults. What if we’re supposed to feel jealous? What if jealousy is not such a negative emotion after all? More importantly, what if we can use jealousy as a tool to actually improve our lives and the lives of those around us?
Here are the 5 things I’ve learned about jealousy that have changed the way I look at it.
Jealousy can be sneaky.
Unprocessed or unexpressed jealousy can manifest itself in tasteless projections to and from other people. Have you ever been taken aback by a comment a friend made towards you and wondered where that came from? Or have you ever said something rude without really meaning to and then realized later that it was really because you were jealous? When we are not aware of our own jealousy, we project it onto the people around us, sometimes without even realizing it. We are used to covering it up because most of us grew up being told that jealousy was a bad thing. We fear that jealousy makes us terrible human beings or friends or lovers, so we choose to internalize it instead. I’ve learned over the years that it’s important to externalize jealousy and nip it in the bud as soon as you sense it. Whether it’s coming from you or someone in your life. You’ll see that jealousy is actually a great conversation starter and a really good way to connect on a deeper level with someone. So don’t be afraid to be vulnerable.
Here’s an example of how you can externalize jealousy with a friend:
“Hey, I noticed that when you told me about your new job, I started to feel super jealous. I imagine that’s because I feel like my career is not exactly where I want it to be and your success is making me feel uncomfortable. I feel like I could be doing something more. So in a way, the more I think about it… I’m actually feeling inspired, so thank you.”
I know that jealousy is a big thing in romantic relationships too but this would be a whole ‘nother blog post, lol. While I don’t have all the answers in this department yet, from my research I’ve learned that it’s best to share how you’re feeling with your partner without placing blame. Then discuss why you might be feeling this way and what both of you can do differently to resolve the issue. The point is - don’t internalize and risk blowing up about it later on… It might just make things worse.
If you feel uncomfortable sharing your feelings of jealousy with someone, you can always write about it and keep it to yourself. The most important part is that you process it and do something about it. Don’t let it fester in your body. When you externalize it, it literally goes POOF! It alchemizes into motivation. ;)
2. Jealousy works the opposite way you want it to.
You might think you can use jealousy as a weapon to zap everything that threatens you off the face of the planet but unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Jealousy actually makes the things and people that threaten you to become even more apparent and triggering. It’s counterintuitive, I know. But trust me on this - jealousy is a double-edged sword. Think of it like a magnifying glass. It makes you focus on all the things and people that make you feel bad about yourself. And guess what, it’s addicting! It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy because when you use it as a weapon, you push away all the people and things that could’ve been opportunities for you to propel yourself forward if you had used jealousy as a tool instead.
3. Jealousy is poison to your mind, body and spirit.
If you dwell in jealousy, you are poisoning yourself and others with negativity. If you don’t put jealousy to use – if you don’t use it to discover more about yourself and then get up off your butt to do something about it, you are literally spreading venom within your mind, body and spirit. Then that venom spreads to everyone around you through contact. It’s contagious! Except to those who are immune to it… ;) see my next point.
4. Jealousy can be a self-improvement tool if you use it correctly.
I love the idea of looking at jealousy as a compass. A friend of mine, Sommer Lowe (who is an amazing human being and photographer by the way!), actually told me this once and my jaw dropped. She said she uses jealousy as a way to see what’s possible for her. For example, if she feels jealous of someone for moving to LA or for going to Bali, that’s an indicator that she can do that too and she probably should. Isn’t that genius? So use jealousy as a way to figure out your desires. If you are jealous of what someone else is doing or something someone else has, then that means you probably want to do the same thing or have the same thing. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that! Life is like Pinterest. You’re constantly going to see amazing things that you can’t help but want to obsessively pin to your boards! Use jealousy as a root for inspiration to grow in your life. Then water it with action! I also like how my girl, Natalie Levy, puts it: “Jealousy is a barometer to show you where you are, where you want to be and what’s possible.” Check out our podcast episode here, to hear us talk about it!
5. Jealousy is an overgrowth of self-hatred.
Oof. This one is deep. I was inspired by my pastor boo, RC Blakes, to include this one (watch his videos on YouTube if you haven’t done so already!) The root of jealousy normally stems from a lack of self-esteem and self-worth. Let’s put it this way:
If you have to compare yourself to someone else in order to feel good about yourself, that’s a sign you have misplaced your crown and your power, boo.
Here’s the thing – the only other person you are in competition with is YOU. Don’t ever get that TWISTED, okrrr? So if you find yourself swimming in a sea of self-hatred, jealousy is most likely your life vest. Jealousy is a symptom of a deeper issue. More often than not, it stems from consistently not feeling good enough or deserving of the things you want in life. If this is the case, the great thing is that you are aware of it and now you can start to work on changing that inner dialogue that’s creating this ‘unworthy foundation of being’ in your life. It is possible to change and grow out of it if you’re willing to invest the time and effort into doing so.
Jealousy can be a positive emotion. Jealousy can be a tool for growth + self-actualization when we use it as root for inspiration and water it with consistent action over time. Remember, looking at jealousy in this way is a practice. It’s a whole new paradigm shift, so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t become a jealousy master overnight. I still slip into old patterns of jealousy at times but I catch myself in the act much faster the more I practice! The general rule is… if you get jealous, get curious!
Oh and one last thing to chew on… My friend Daniel Eisenman once said that “jealousy and respect are two sides of the same coin.” To me that means when you are jealous of somebody - and that jealousy is rooted in lack - not only are you disrespecting them but you are disrespecting yourself. You are dishonoring their divinity and in turn, dishonoring your own as well.
It’s a lose, lose situation.
Hope this helps! Much love. <3