How I Handle Jealousy

Posted on September 23, 2010


Jealousy is a natural emotion. Yet we’re told that feeling jealous is not nice, which adds to our misery. Because when we feel jealous, not only are we feeling left out, we’re also feeling guilty, dirty, bad, un-nice, selfish, etc.

I have to say that I feel jealous all the time. Everyday in fact. I am jealous of my best friends. I am jealous of my sister too sometimes. But that’s just it. I feel jealous and I can say it openly. I de-stigmatize that emotion. And then I am free.

Here’s how I handle jealousy…

1. Admit it openly –

A lot of energy is spent in NOT feeling jealous. A lot of effort goes in hiding it. But the guilt and the shame persist and more often than not, so does the jealousy. I feel jealous about the amount of money people have, about their body shapes, about the holidays they take with their partners, their fame, their emotional stability, their uncaring attitude, their loving parents, etc. etc. etc.

I have learned that the more I tried to hide it from them, the more foolishly I behave. So now I can easily tell people, and even the person concerned, even when it is happening, “Hey, you know I wish I had the kind of money you spend!” or “I am jealous that even though I am as intelligent as you, you are more successful than I am!”

Mostly people take it well. In fact, the moment I say it, I can see their faces, “I wish I could be as open as you!” HA! And there the circle ends. Once the emotion is out in the open, it is easily dealt with…the game of hide and seek with oneself and the world ends.

2. Do I really want it? Why don’t I have it?

More often than not, we’re jealous of something we don’t really want. For e.g. the money that someone spends at a club every weekend. I wish I had that kind of money, but am I willing to change being a mental health professional and take up a job that pays me more? Am I willing to give up being who I am at the core? Well, usually not.

For most of us, the “Why don’t I have it” bit is related to the fact that we’re not really ready to work towards it. For e.g. a lot of my friends who have good money, work their butts off for that…! They may take fancy holidays, but the rest of the year is really stressful and crazy. I, on the other hand, well, I have a relaxed life. I get time to read, write, go out with friends, chill, have a relationship and most importantly take time out EACH DAY to reflect and pray and be grateful.

3. Is my life really so bad? Being grateful for what I have –

I get into a huge cycle of self-pity. I feel bad for myself. For e.g. not having ginormous amounts of money, I can live with. But not having things like love, a partner, a mom, can all throw me into depths of depression. Alongwith feeling jealous, I also become unsympathetic. I feel like no one understands me, I am all alone, you know what I am saying, right? The works!

So, I have just started feeling grateful for all the things I have – daily! And I force myself to think about what I HAVE especially when I am down. The trick is to not give up listing down things till you’re filled with joy and contentment.

4. Looking at the flip side of a good thing –

In Psychology, this is called the “sour grapes” phenomenon. It really helps me.For e.g. If I am jealous of someone who has a nice car, then I try to think of all the negatives of possessing such a car, like, high fuel costs, being stuck in traffic jams, parking issues, maintenance costs, heartburn when scratches appear (lol), etc.

For e.g. I feel jealous of people who write really well. If I wrote really well, then I’d feel the pressure to become a best seller. That’d be hard if I didn’t become one. So if I am not a great writer, I at least have some consolation. Or for instance, if an untalented writer becomes a best seller…I feel jealous, but if I had the choice of becoming a best seller or an acclaimed writer, I’d sure as hell prefer the latter. There’s no money in being a best seller these days! So let’s go for the talent…let’s change lives, I say!

5. If I were someone else –

I look at my life from another person’s perspective and imagine how they might perceive my life and list down all the things that they’d be jealous of related to me! This one really works. I have five things I can think of right away…that’s not so bad, right? It puts me in a good mood too, and also makes me more sensitive to those who might react to me strangely owing to that jealousy!

These blog posts really help me. They help me to organize things in as single place for posterity and refer to them when I need. And you thought that this post was to help you? Just how naive do you think I am. We all need to find our own workable solutions, so I was just telling you mine!