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How to Handle Jealousy and Focus on Yourself

Danielle Dahl, Lead Contributor

Jealousy is one of the basic human emotions—and handling your jealousy can be quite the challenge. We’ve all been bitten by the green-eyed monster of envy. It is even easier now to get jealous because of social media.

Everyone posts the amazing things that happen to them on their Facebook wall or Twitter feeds. Just like it is human nature to be jealous—it is also human nature to want to share your triumphs. Social media gives us an avenue to share our successes with everyone.

What can you do when you feel jealous of everyone around you—from your best friend to the person you envied in high school but haven’t seen in years? These tips will help you get a grip on your envy and bring the focus back to you—which is essential.

“The surest route to breeding jealousy is to compare. Since jealousy comes from feeling less than another, comparisons only fan the fires.” — Dorothy Corkille Briggs

Additional reading: How to Replace Your Social Media Jealousy with Inspiration

Understand why you are jealous

Jealousy springs from something inside you that is deeper than just wanting what you see someone else getting in life.

For instance, you might feel jealous if someone you know gets engaged. It’s likely not because you are in love with their fiance. It is much more likely because you are lonely and feel you will never have this kind of relationship.

Do you get jealous because someone posts about reaching a career goal on Facebook, while you have been passed over for a promotion again? Or maybe you get envious of their happiness with their path because you can’t stand your job? It is important to understand this isn’t really about them.

If you look deep inside yourself and are honest, you might recognize that you are feeling inadequate. You might feel jealous they are doing well, but it could stem from a place of being angry at yourself.

Maybe you have seen the amount of work and dedication they put in, and know that you don’t put in as much effort as you should. If you haven’t seen the work they have done behind the scenes, you might feel you just aren’t good enough.

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No matter the situation that brings about jealousy, there is a deeply rooted problem that only you can fix. Most of the time, it is going to come down to increasing your self-worth. You have to believe that you are worthy of good things! Look inside and see what you can do to grow and the rest will follow.

“Jealousy lives upon doubts. It becomes madness or ceases entirely as soon as we pass from doubt to certainty.” — Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Handle jealousy by looking at it from a different angle

Jealousy is often thought of as a bad thing, but it doesn’t have to be! In fact, it can be a great thing! It all comes down to how you look at it.

If you let your jealousy consume you and make you bitter—that’s definitely not great. However, if you look at it and realize that it is a sign that there is a disconnect between what you have and what you want, then you can make some meaningful changes.

If you took the time to get to the root of your jealousy, then you are one step closer! Let’s go back to the earlier example of being jealous about your friend’s engagement.

Maybe you realized you are jealous because you really want a meaningful relationship, but you keep dating the same type of person—the one who only wants something casual.

Look at your jealousy as a chance to course-correct. Be honest about the type of people you have been seeing and how you handle those relationships. What can you do differently?

It could be something simple, like going out on a date with someone who isn’t your type. It might be deeper, like figuring out that you don’t date people who want to have meaningful relationships because you think you don’t deserve them. Maybe you didn’t even realize you wanted more than what you had going on.

Whatever it is, look at your jealousy as a chance to learn more about what you desire. It could be a turning point for you to make some changes in the way you live your life. Jealousy doesn’t have to be a monster at all!

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“We all have the same core emotions of love, jealousy, rage—it’s just how they’re expressed.” — Sophie Cookson

Practicing gratitude is an effective way to handle jealousy

Remember when I said that these tips were going to help you cope with jealousy by focusing on yourself?

So far, you have learned how handling jealousy requires you to do some introspection and ask yourself tough questions. You have realized that like much in life; you have a choice about how to look at jealousy. The next step is figuring out what you are grateful for and learning how to practice gratitude.

Sure, jealousy rears its head when you realize you don’t have something you want—romantic love, the perfect career, or stuff. The easiest way to control the emotion of jealousy is to combat it by being grateful for what you have. Someone else’s life might look picture perfect on social media, but you don’t actually know what their life looks like.

It is quite possible they are jealous of something you have to. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have though, make a list of everything that you are grateful for. Actively practicing gratitude doesn’t just help with jealousy—it has many health benefits.

I guarantee you have some good things going for you! Every day that you wake up is a reason to be thankful. It means you not only have time to enjoy the good things, but you get another day to make some changes. What are you thankful for? Start each morning out with a list of the positive things in your life and watch your jealousy lessen and your life improve!

“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” — Epictetus

Mindfulness is another tool you can use to handle jealousy

While we are on the subject of practicing things that help you focus on yourself and not on the lives of people around you, let’s talk about mindfulness. Being mindful of your emotions is a critical part of learning how to cope with them.

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Practicing mindfulness also allows you a way to examine your emotions without placing judgment on them. It gives you the chance to acknowledge what you are feeling—and then move on.

Untangling yourself from these powerful emotions will also help you stop comparing yourself to others. The key to handling jealousy is to be aware of yourself, and mindfulness will help you get there. Your worth is not defined by what other people have or experience. It is your journey.

Mindfulness will also give you the space to show yourself some compassion. Self-esteem and self-worth can both be improved by being mindful and learning how to recognize and react to your emotions.

“Anger, resentment, and jealousy doesn’t change the heart of others—it only changes yours.” — Unknown

Don’t get jealous of the things you see on social media

Hopefully, understanding how to look at and handle jealousy will help you not be so jealous of other people’s social media. They are out there living their lives and you should be too!

Don’t compare your world to theirs. Especially when you are only seeing the best of what they have going on through the perfect lens of a social media post.

Instead, discover the root of your envy and work on self-love and your own growth. Learn to look at jealousy as a motivational tool to make your life everything you want it to be.

Remember to be grateful for the things you have and approach each day as a new opportunity. Being mindful of yourself and your emotions will help you acknowledge emotions and then move on before they have a chance to take root in your heart.

What are some ways that you cope with envy? Have you experienced positive changes in your life from using tips like these to handle being jealous of someone else? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

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