I’ll admit it. I am a super, super jealous person. It’s embarrassing. Please don’t judge me.
I’m pretty sure I’ve always been a jealous person, but I think it became most noticeable back when I was about 18. I was a university dropout, living off £50 a week Job Seeker’s Allowance in a crappy flat, with a crappy boyfriend and no social life. Instead of doing something productive to further my life, I used to spend hours Facebook stalking people, seething at posts about their perfect lives and perfect relationships, wearing perfect clothes on their perfect nights out at weekends before they got back to their perfect jobs.
That’s probably the most pathetic admission I’ve ever made. But honestly, I couldn’t truthfully congratulate anyone on an achievement without internally screaming “THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN ME, YOU FUCKER.” I wanted everything that everyone else had and felt a huge sense of injustice that I was not experiencing the same achievements. I knew it was crazy but I couldn’t help it.
Jealously is a strange thing. It’s common and everyone experiences it but at the same time it’s a completely irrational response. It feels horrible and poisonous, but it’s 100% wholly controllable and self inflicted.
The thing about jealousy, however, is that it’s a double edged sword. As much as it can be crippling and disable your opportunities in life, it can also be a tool for motivation. By seeing someone else with something you want, it can drive you to work and work and work as hard as you can until you get it.
Shifting my perception of jealousy is the main reason why I have been able to achieve anything personally and professionally. Nowadays I have a pretty good grip on my envious streak and when I congratulate people (which I make a point of doing every day) I feel genuine joy, admiration and happiness for the other person. The internal niggling is still there, I think (hope) everyone gets it, but now I’ve found a few great ways to muffle it and use it as a tool for good.
One: Recognise, Record, Release
This is a technique taught by my absolute idol, Gabrielle Bernstein. She’s amazing – Google her. It’s incredibly effective for eliminating negative feelings and helps me a lot when dealing with jealousy. First of all, you need to recognise the feeling. Be mindful of how the jealousy makes you feel mentally and physically. Then record it. Write it down, see how it looks on paper. This will help for allowing you to see how rational and true your feeling or statement is. Often when I do this, it lets me see how absolutely crazy I am and it lets me separate myself from the thought. Then finally, release it. Let the jealousy move through you. Let it get the better of you for 30 seconds if you need to, but once you’ve done that, let it go and forget about it.
Two: Her Success Is Not Your Failure
Whenever I’m feeling a little tingle of jealousy, I always go back to this statement for reassurance. Instead of feeling competitive when someone else achieves something, feel like it is also yours. It’s a strange and unnatural instinct but it helps you understand that success benefits you, whether it is yours or someone else’s. The phrase, “A rising tide lifts all boats” embodies this notion. When someone achieves something else, it should show you that it’s possible. Look at the strategy they used to obtain their achievement and evaluate how you can implement it for yourself.
Three: Egg Cells vs Sperm Cells
This a weird analogy but go with me on it. I hope this is not news to you, but as women, the egg cells that we have in our bodies are limited. We’re given a set amount when we’re born and when they are gone, they’re gone. Grim, isn’t it? Sperm cells on the other hand are constantly being produced. Every day the male body creates more and more little swimmers. There’s a never ending supply. Opportunities are just like sperm cells. There are not a limited amount of opportunities in the world and if you don’t get what you want on the first occasion, you’ll get another shot.
Four: Don’t Be Judgey
Putting someone else down to make yourself feel better will only perpetuate your jealous feelings. For example, thinking: “She only got that job because her dad had connections” isn’t going to help you gain productivity; you’re just making excuses for your passivity. Accepting other people’s achievements for what they are will bring clarity to your life and help you better see where you can make improvements.
There’s pretty much nothing that a little dose of gratitude doesn’t fix. Jealousy is especially well resolved with bit of this perspective. Feel truly appreciative of the great things you have in your life; big and small and you’ll realise that you have very little to feel jealous about. Remember – happy people ain’t hating and hating people ain’t happy.