Whether you’re a Facebooker, Instagrammer or Snapchatter, you need only use one for a moment to be immediately bombarded with images of celebrities with seemingly perfect lives, European getaways and friends with designer shoes worth more than your car. It’s no surprise then that feelings of envy and jealousy arise, but it’s how we use these emotions that really count.
It’s quite common to react with feelings of envy and jealousy when we see others with things we don’t have, and jealous of what others seem to enjoy more of, whether that’s money, a relationship or an overseas holiday. People tend to get caught up in in these emotions, rather than using them as a tool towards greater self-awareness.
Understanding the impact feelings of jealousy can have and considering their root and cause, is the first step towards resolving the self-depreciation and achieving a more empowered sense of self and more confident approach to life. The first step is to recognise whether your feelings are that of a jealous or envious nature and understanding the difference between the two.
Jealousy is based on a perception of a potential loss to a rival, somebody that could take something of value away. So if you are attached, infatuated, addicted, dependent on a particular trait that you’re admiring in what you’re afraid of losing, you are vulnerable to jealousy. Envy is something different entirely. This is where somebody has something that you don’t have, that you want, for instance money, or success. Desiring is similar to envy; you are wanting something that another person has.
If a new colleague gets a promotion at work, you may envy their success. And if you were next in line for that promotion, you may be jealous that they were chosen over you.
You can envy their experience or confidence and they’re ability to be noticed by superiors, but you’d be jealous of them too because they are now a threat to your position and future promotions. Jealousy has a hidden or revealed resentment attached. You resent that person for taking something from you. And you envy them as they obviously seem to have something that you don’t.
So how do you overcome these feelings when they feel as though they will suck you into a black hole of jealousy? Here are some tips:
1. Jealousy is a tool
Consider this, if you never felt jealous you may not feel the need to grow and expand. Instead, accept jealousy as a tool in your emotional toolkit that can help you achieve a greater version of yourself. By keeping you on your toes you can use these emotions to strive to create a greater you. If that means you want to upskill at work to ensure you beat your colleagues for the next round of promotions, you ensure you do what it takes to achieve that goal.
2. Master consciousness
Upon the arrival of jealousy comes with it a knife’s edge, as to whether you will simply embrace and use the feelings, or feel a vicious need to let the emotion destroy you. Instead of obsessing over what others have that you don’t, instead refocus that energy into working out how to get there too or realize where you already have it in your own unique form.
3. Don’t settle
Ensure that you seek what fulfils you, and doesn’t just infatuate you. You’ll pay the price if you’re infatuated with feelings of vulnerability and doubt. Instead seek relationships and jobs that truly align with your highest values to feel validated and fulfilled.
Remember, your feeling of jealousy is partly a by-product of not empowering yourself and should be seen as a gift to self-empowerment and not the curse we may have assumed it to be.
Dr John Demartini, Founder, The Demartini Institute