As this tumultuous year draws to an end, some people have been more affected than others. Jobs have been lost, loved ones passed on and life has just been turned upside down. Since we are about to step into a new year, hopefully with a clean slate, I thought it would be a great time to address the lingering feelings no one wants to speak of. Jealousy and envy.
It is very common for us humans to wish that we were doing as well as our friends, or that we were able to get something someone else has. After all, society has portrayed success in such a rigid way that anything that strays from the norm is often considered failure. We’ve all experienced both envy and jealousy, but neither leave us feeling good. At least I know I have. So today, I thought it would be great to talk about these feelings and how we can overcome them.
What are jealousy and envy?
Firstly, I would like to establish the difference between jealousy and envy. After searching for different meanings of these words, I found that all interpretations of jealousy had one thing in common; possessiveness. Envy on the other hand, seemed more associated with wanting what someone else has. Or rather, wishing that it was yours. Another distinct difference between the two is that jealousy is mostly used in connection to ’emotional rivalry’ whereas envy insinuates the feeling of resentment.
Although sometimes interchanged, these two are very different in one important regard; ill intent. Neither of this feelings are desirable. But we can use them to our benefit without necessarily feeding the green eyed monster. Here’s how:
Understand where the feeling is coming from
Knowing exactly where the feelings of jealousy and envy stem from is important. This is because it can give you insight on how you feel about yourself. For example, if you are jealous of your significant other spending lot’s of time with their friends, this could be an indication of either of two things:
1. That you are lacking in the self confidence department or
2. Your partner may not be dedicating enough time to the relationship as you would want.
For the purpose of this post, we will only focus on the first one.
Identifying your own shortfalls is definitely the first step to becoming the person you wish to be. So if you are feeling jealous of something right now, don’t beat yourself up about it. Oftentimes we don’t learn to deal with our feelings and tend to end up being embarrassed by our actions. There’s one problem about this; if you don’t address it, the feeling will just keep presenting itself in different situations!
Don’t act on the jealousy or envy, use it to fuel your passion
I say this a lot and I will say it again; just because someone thinks or feels something bad it does not make them a bad person! Everyone slips up once in a while, but how you handle that situation is what defines your character. Specifically with envy, feeling that way towards someone around you does not make you a bad person. We are not perfect… But that is not an excuse to consciously sabotage your peer because you want to have what’s theirs. Instead, use the feeling of envy to work harder towards your goal and establish your own ‘success’.
Sometimes (and I repeat, sometimes) you may even find it beneficial to own up to the feeling and allow someone (or even the person you are envious of) support you through that period.
Jealousy isn’t a solution. Deal with the consequences of your actions
A lot of times we can pinpoint a few reasons that could explain why we missed a certain opportunity that someone else was given. If you are envious of someone’s promotion, ask yourself honestly if you put in the extra hours. If you made your voice heard. And if you made it clear to your supervisors that you are ready for the challenge. If the answer to that is no, then you need to find ways to accept the outcome. Once you’ve accepted it, use the lesson to your advantage for other opportunities to come. The same applies to the blogging world. If your blog isn’t as successful as the next person, d
Remember that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side
How many times have we yearned for the lives of the rich and famous? Have you coveted all of the fame and fortune that they have only to be stunned months later with news of their depression and ultimately their passing? There are over 7 billion people on this planet and as far as we know, none are aliens. That means that physical and mental compositions are quite similar with slight variations that give us each our identities. What this means is that we all experience happiness, sadness, frustration and every other emotion that psychiatrists have given a name to. When that green eyed monster inside you decides to whisper into your ear, remember that the person or relationship you are envious of may not be as perfect as it appears.
Remind yourself that life isn’t fair
I wish it were fair but it isn’t. There will be some people who make billions of dollars from selling coloured extensions and others will dig themselves into debt when trying to come up with mini robots. I wish I knew why or how things like this happen, but the truth of the matter is that we just have to suck it up and move on with life. Sometimes we try our best but things still don’t go as planned or how we wish them to be. This has happened to me several times, and yet there are people who would look at me now and say that I am blessed to have made it as far as I have.
Although very difficult to deal with, both envy and jealousy are both very normal feelings that each and every one of us have experienced. Instead of falling further into the hole, use these feelings as an opportunity to learn more about yourself and improve the aspects that need growth. We will never be satisfied with what we have if we always keep our eyes on something better. So I challenge you now to accept that life isn’t fair and to truly appreciate all the blessings you have.
Have you been struggling with either of these feelings lately?