Envy is an odd and insidious emotion. It weaves its way into your unsuspecting heart, snuggling into the nooks and crannies, causing a commotion when you least expect it.
But jealousy doesn’t have to eat away at you for all eternity. Like any emotion, coming at it from another angle can do wonders for your well-being. Often, it’s an opportunity — a window into our deepest desires. And seriously, anything that helps you zero in on what you want out of life is a gift from the universe.
Besides, wallowing in envy is entirely pointless. We’re on this earth to be the fullest version of ourselves, not some tired, secondhand version of someone else.
Luckily, we can turn jealousy around. If we use it right, it can even help teach us how to get happier.
Spend some time with your jealousy.
Get to know it. Hang with it. Explore it. Ask yourself, what is it I really envy about this other person? Hone in on it, narrow it down — be clear on what it is that inspired your envy. Know your envy inside and out.
Question your jealousy.
Ask yourself, do I really envy what I think I do? Maybe you’re jealous of a high school classmate because their Facebook feed is all about their gorgeous family, huge house, killer job, hefty bank account. But do you really want those things? Or do you just want to be happy? Acquisitions and achievements don’t equate with happiness, so we’re often wasting time envying all the wrong things.
Look for the root of your jealousy.
Often, we’re living via value systems we didn’t choose for ourselves. TV and magazines and Instagram may lead us to believe that a thigh gap and Christian Louboutins are everything, but are those the things we truly value? Frequently, we’re lugging envy around over things we don’t even care about. Shining a light on your true values can often make the green-eyed monster head into hibernation.
Use it as a chance to count your blessings.
When you’re faced with a bout of jealousy, take the time to unleash a whirlwind of appreciation about your own life. Work on your appreciation journal, or just mentally inventory everything amazing about your existence. Fall in love with the trappings of YOU. There’s so much to be grateful for. While the grass may look greener elsewhere, it’s really just a different hue.
Hang with the person that makes you go green.
An up close and personal look at their existence might be an eye-opener. Often, people’s lives aren’t what they appear, and witnessing that they’re a human just like you are might help your jealousy evolve into something more life-affirming.
Look for opportunities.
If you truly admire qualities in someone else, ask yourself how you can weave those attributes into yourself. Make their traits your own. We’re all capable of growth, improvement, evolution — and this is an opportunity for all of the above, if you choose to see it that way. Instead of stewing miserably in your own covetousness, see it as a glimpse at what you really want out of life — which makes identifying what you DON’T want a whole lot easier.
(If you’d like some additional reading, check out this post by my friends The Minimalists on opting out of jealousy altogether. Good stuff. )
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