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Be Free: The Art of Navigating Your Jealous Emotions

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Before we begin this article, let me just say:

Everyone gets jealous.  It’s okay.

In case you were not aware, we are all human.

No, but really, jealousy is a natural emotion. How you respond to jealousy is a choice. We all have to make choices on how we respond to our feelings. I have found over the years I am able to evaluate my emotions better. Jealousy is something I do not let take over my life, and it has brought me more joy than I could ever imagine.

Nevertheless, jealousy can be a healthy emotion if you learn to navigate it. Jealousy can be your biggest motivator or your strongest downfall. You choose. How do you want to live your life? Do you want to go your entire life looking at other people’s lives, or do you want to live?

Are you wallowing in your jealousy?

According to clinical psychologist, Christina Hibbert, jealousy becomes a problem “when we act out in jealousy, or we wallow in it.”  Essentially, jealousy becomes negative in your life when you let it consume you. When jealousy begins to creep into every part of your life, you need to evaluate why you are letting that emotion control you.

“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”  -Steve Furtick

This quote pinpoints the cause of jealousy. We are too focused on the exterior of another person’s life that sometimes we forget to dig deeper. Everyone has their ups and downs. You might believe someone’s life is much easier than yours, but the truth is, everyone has their good days and their bad days.

Social media is a breeding ground for jealousy. All the beautiful pictures and the happy statuses and false perception of perfection make us believe that we are the only one struggling. But isn’t this thought process irrational?

After all, social media does not show you the challenges that a person had to overcome to get to where they are. It does not show the emotional obstacles, the hard work, and the determination it took for that person to post that beautiful picture you just liked.

So What Underlies Jealousy?

Ninety-nine percent of the time, jealousy stems from insecurity.

“We feel threatened, or less than or not good enough,” Hibbert said. “[W]e fear that someone else’s strengths mean something negative about us.”

The best way to overcome jealousy is to learn how to navigate it better. In recovery, learning to navigate jealousy is an important tool because you will see people in different stages of their journey.  There will be some people doing amazing things in their recovery. However, the important thing is to remember that at one point, they were once where you were.

5 Ways to Navigate Jealousy

  1. Be Honest With Yourself.

    “Awareness is fire; it burns all that is wrong in you. It burns your ego. It burns your greed, it burns your possessiveness, it burns your jealousy – it burns all that is wrong and negative, and it enhances all that is beautiful, graceful, and divine.”Osho

    The first step is to admit you have a problem, right? Yup, this applies to jealousy too. Most people who are jealous do not even realize it. Jealousy can manifest itself as anger, irritability, anxiety, or even depression. One time, it took me an entire week to realize my reaction to something stemmed from jealousy. However, the moment I realized, I was able to overcome that emotion. Ask yourself, “Are any of my emotions arising from jealousy?” Assessing your jealousy opens the door to learning.

  2. Ask Yourself: Are You Insecure?

    “A competent and self-confident person is incapable of jealousy in anything. Jealousy is invariably a symptom of neurotic insecurity.”Robert A. Heinlein

    Jealousy stems from insecurity. The goal of this step is to acknowledge all the things you are insecure about and write them down. Are you insecure about your body? Are financial struggles holding your back? Do you have goals you never accomplished and envied others who have progressed more?
    If you answer yes to any of these questions, then you have work to do.  Use jealousy to motivate you in your journey, not hold you down. If you spend your day feeling sorry for yourself, you will get less accomplished in the long haul.

  1. Practice Gratitude.

    “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” ― Epicurus

    I know this is going to seem crazy, but one day, someone will be jealous of you. Someone is likely jealous of you right now. They could be jealous of your health, your age, your wisdom. They might even be jealous of your ears. Who knows? We all want what we do not have. Practicing gratitude is being thankful for what you already have. It is acknowledging the accomplishments you have made in your life.Tomorrow is never guaranteed. Gratitude is not always easy to practice, but it is the most powerful thing you can do for yourself. By practicing gratitude, you can put things into perspective. Stop being jealous and start being thankful.

  2. Let Go of Your Jealousy.

    “People come to me and they say they would like to be happy, but they cannot drop their jealousy. If you can’t drop your jealousy, love will never grow — the weeds of jealousy will destroy the rose of love. And when love does not grow, you will not be happy. Because who can be happy without love growing?” -Osho

    Jealousy is not an emotion you need in your life. Jealousy is toxicity in your soul. Holding on to jealousy creates hatred in the body. Tell yourself you do not need this emotion any longer. Imagine the resentment flowing through your body and breathe the jealousy you feel out of your system. Repeat a mantra and meditate until the jealousy leaves your system. Let it go.

  1. Transform Your Jealousy.

    “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”  – Nelson Mandela.

    Learning to manage your emotions will teach you how to respond better to jealousy. Jealousy is an excellent motivator. If you find yourself becoming jealous of someone’s body, lifestyle, or stage of life, you can use that emotion to make a goal for yourself. Jealousy helps you understand the things you desire for in your life. Think about the sacrifices that are required to achieve that person’s success. Are you willing to make those sacrifices? If not, why are you jealous? Learn the steps needed to obtain the goals that you see other people accomplishing. Understand your jealousy and create goals for yourself. Stop wasting time on jealousy and use that emotion to create a life even you would be jealous of. See what I did there?

Jealousy is a natural emotion everyone experiences. Jealousy becomes a problem when we let it take over our lives. If you find yourself becoming jealous, the time is now to assess your journey.  You have the ability to change your life.  Create the life you want today. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

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