I used to be jealous.
Back in high school, I wasn’t the most “popular” kid. I wasn’t hated by all or anything, but I hovered around the bubble between being “cool” or not.
I let it bother me. I wanted to be taller, more athletic, and better-looking. I never despised myself, but I often let jealousy dictate my behavior.
In hindsight, this was foolish. I should have been proud of the quirky kid I was, rather than let the opinions of others infect me.
It took time, but I can now honestly say I never spend time wishing I had someone else’s anything. And I’m proud of that!
Jealousy is a prison, and it’s damn liberating to escape.
The 3 Truths About Jealousy
1. We’re conditioned to be jealous.
The media teaches us to idolize actors, athletes, and music artists.
Signals everywhere tell us that we can be happy and awesome if we have a God-like physique and outrageous wealth.
Our consumer culture tells us to buy things to be sexier, happier, or to belong.
These messages teach us that we are lacking something, that we’re not good enough just as we are.
They condition us to perceive other people as being better than us in some way.
2. Jealousy arises from fear and insecurity.
When we’re surrounded by propaganda telling us to want to be more like someone else, we begin to view ourselves as deficient.
We become insecure about who we really are and are afraid we aren’t good enough.
We paint unrealistic images of who we could be, and our fears create a strong desire to be that ideal.
When we see others who are closer to our fantasy ideal than we believe ourselves to be, we want to be more like them.
3. Jealousy is a poisonous liar.
We waste mental energy by spending time envying the lives of others.
Jealousy is a harmful habit of mind that only leads to anger, self-hatred, and dissatisfaction.
The idea that we would be happy if only we could just be more like someone else is a disgusting lie.
Real happiness is not a result of gaining anything, but of appreciating what we already have.
How to Overcome the Green-Eyed Monster
Jealousy is a dangerously addictive way to view the world, and it isn’t something that can be cured overnight.
If you’re a jealous person, it is probably firmly engrained in how you see yourself and see the world.
Defeating the green-eyed monster takes time, reflection, and diligence.
1. Stop measuring yourself with others’ standards.
When we allow the opinions and expectations of others to dictate how we view our lives, we fall short. We feel unworthy and wish we could be different.
You need to evaluate how you’re measuring your self-worth. Are you basing your lifestyle off of how other people think you should dress, act, and think?
2. Redefine the standards for how you want to be.
It’s important to decide for yourself what makes you successful, happy, important, beautiful, etc.
You should ponder these concepts with an open mind. Don’t allow the status quo or the opinions of others to shape your views.
It might be helpful to see how I define a few words:
- Success – Being proud of who I am, doing meaningful work I enjoy, being a person of integrity, and making the world a bit better.
- Happiness – Fully appreciating my positive qualities and shortcomings; accepting life’s highs and lows; being at peace with the Universe.
- Importance – Being the best son, brother, boyfriend, and friend I can be; treating others with courtesy and respect.
- Beauty – Having the courage to be myself, completely and honestly, no matter what.
Helpful Exercise: Write down your standards. Hang them on the wall above your desk to remind you to live on your own terms.
3. Learn to embrace and appreciate yourself and your life.
At the basis of jealousy lies a lack of acceptance and appreciation of ourselves.
To rid yourself entirely of a desire to be like others, you have to embrace your awesomeness and your flaws.
This can take time and discipline. Redefining your standards and being realistic about who you are should get you on the right track.
After that, you must make an effort to focus on the positive and to appreciate the good in yourself and in life.
By repeatedly reminding yourself to accept the imperfections and to embrace the positive, you can positively shift your mindset.
I’ve also found that by striving each day to be someone I’m proud of, it’s become much easier to view myself positively and to appreciate my contribution to the world.
Go forth without envy…
Jealousy is a contagious epidemic in the world today. We simply cannot be truly happy if we allow it to pollute our minds.
The world would be so much better if we all accepted who we were and didn’t wish to be anyone else.
It is the richness of difference that makes our human family so magnificent.
I hope you can learn to appreciate your own difference. I hope you can realize you are enough.
You are kickass and beautiful and have splendid qualities that others love about you.
Please, don’t forget this. Now go forth and be awesome.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jordan Bates
Jordan Bates is the creator of Refine The Mind and an English teacher in Busan, South Korea. He earned a BA in English Literature with minors in Philosophy & Spanish at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Read the story of Refine The Mind and follow him on Facebook and Twitter.