You can tell a lot about a person by how they react to other people’s happiness and success.
For many, we seem to get easily threatened when we see other people doing better than us in some area in life. We find it hard to be happy for them, but instead we have feelings of jealousy and envy.
I remember when I was young and whenever I used to see my peers succeed at something – whether it be grades, sports, relationships, jobs, etc. – I used to always try to downplay it. Good grades? “Lonely nerd.” Good at sports? “Dumb jock.” Good job? “Sold his soul to corporate America.”
But the root of all jealousy is ultimately low self-esteem.
I’d see a friend’s band play a show and I would think, “They aren’t really that good. They make boring music. I could do better.” But the truth is that it was better than anything I could’ve done at the time. I was just protecting my ego from getting too hurt.
Jealousy is a form of self-protection. And we can get jealous of all different types of success, merely because we aren’t experiencing them yet in our own lives.
Maybe you see a friend in a happy relationship while you’re still single, so you brush off their relationship as superficial or you say things like “it’s never going to last” behind their back.
According to one study, feelings of jealousy and envy are particularly strong for those who spend a lot of time on social media, like Facebook and Twitter.
We live in a very jealous world these days. It seems like everyone’s success and happiness is scrutinized and ridiculed, whether it’s talking down on athletes, or musicians, or actors, or actresses, or any type of celebrity.
It’s hard for us not to be haters sometimes. Some psychologists even say we’ve evolved to experience emotions like jealousy and envy as a natural response to our perceived “social rank” in society.
But that’s the key – it’s ultimately a perception – it’s your own judgment of yourself compared to someone else. And while jealousy may be a natural response for many people, it’s not necessarily healthy or beneficial.
Healthy tips to minimize your jealousy
- Accept your jealousy. – Jealousy is natural. Jealousy happens. Be honest about your feelings. Be honest about your slightly bruised ego when you see people do things you wish you could too.
- Try to avoid comparing yourself. – Remind yourself that everyone is on a different path in life. We all have some strengths and some weaknesses, but those don’t define us as a complete individual. See the value in yourself without having to feel “superior” to anyone.
- Reframe jealousy as inspiration. – The truth is you feel strongly because someone has done something that you didn’t accomplish for yourself. That can fuel jealousy, but it can also fuel inspiration and motivation. Instead of downplaying people’s accomplishments, think to yourself, “If they can do it, I can do it too!”
- Compliment people’s success. – Make it more of a habit to compliment people on their success and accomplishments, even if you don’t particularly like them. Celebrate with them. Be happy that they are happy. It’s a whole lot healthier and less stressful than being a hater.
- Pay attention to your “envy reflex.” There can be a wisdom to envy and jealousy. What are the things you tend to get the most jealous about? That could be a valuable sign pointing you to the areas in your life that you need to put more focus in.
Are you someone who gets easily jealous? Do you feel like it’s holding you back from achieving your full potential? I hope these ideas will help you handle your feelings of jealousy better in the future.
Stay updated on new articles and resources in psychology and self improvement: