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August 4, 2013

3 Ways to Stop Jealousy.

I’m a Scorpio.

If a title including the word jealousy and a first sentence stating this little factoid mean nothing to you then let me explain further: I’m prone to jealousy.

I’ve thought about writing a blog like this many, many times before, but never have, and for one simple reason—I don’t consider myself to be a jealous person anymore.

Sure, back in my youth, jealousy could have been my middle name.

It first reared its horribly ugly head when I was practically still a little girl and dating the boy who would become the man who would become my husband. I was 14.

I was exceedingly jealous of the other girls who had crushes on him, and, even though he had chosen me to be the gal who he spent his time with, for some reason I still saw these other young ladies as threats.

And jealousy is awful.

It’s awful, both for the one experiencing it and for the person who it’s directed at.

Still, when my jealous tendencies creep up on me now, they’re rarely of a romantic nature. (I squelched that a long time ago using some of the tips that will shortly follow.) Rather, as an adult, envy—another horridly ugly twin emotion of jealousy—can make its way into work situations or even friendships.

So, without further ado, here are three ways to stop being a jealous individual once and for all.

1. Recognize admiration.

I came to understand, after an intense amount of self-study, that the main reason for my jealousy of other women was that I could see in them traits I admire.

I notice the beauty in other people, and while I don’t necessarily feel attracted to them in a romantic sort of way, I can absolutely understand how someone else would be.

I can see those little quirks that actually make someone sexy and wonderfully special and, instead of being jealous of these little things, I began to turn them around into something more positive.

The first step towards seeing other people with loving eyes, not jealous ones, is realizing that you’re envious in the first place because you see something highly valuable within them. Then…

2. Recognize your own admirable qualities too. 

Once you’ve begun to see your jealous nature for what it truly is—the ability to see the good in others—you have to learn to develop the confidence in your own extraordinary attributes, in order for you to appreciate both other people and yourself.

So how do you develop confidence? That’s a damn good question.

My recommendation is this: start by demanding that you talk to yourself with love.

This is something that takes practice—lots of it.

When you look into the mirror, notice what you like about yourself instead of what you don’t. Stop using an inner voice that sounds like an angry Catholic nun, and start talking to yourself like a loving mother trying to soothe an irritable child. In other words, speak gently and kindly—and with patience.

Begin to take this attitude out into other areas of your life where you typically are quite hard on yourself.

Pay attention to the things that you do well throughout your day and mentally give yourself a pat on the back instead of continually picking on where you could have improved.

I’m telling you from personal experience that this attitude shift takes immense effort.

We live in a society that promotes guilt and perfection, and learning to treat yourself with love is sadly not something that’s usually ingrained along with it—but it is one of the first steps to letting go of jealousy.

And, in this case, practice won’t make perfect—it will help you understand that you’re already good enough exactly the way that you are. 

3. Stop comparing.

Okay, so you’ve begun to take into consideration that you’re jealous of others because you actually like and admire them (great place to start).

Then you put into practice your new loving self-talk—awesome.

Now it’s time to stop comparing yourself to others.

You can do this, but it will take vigilance and—wait for it—practice.

If, for example, you find yourself at work thinking, “Why does everyone like her so much? What’s so great about her?” Dig a little bit deeper and be curious.

What do you like about her? Is she good at her job? Is she charismatic? Again, the first thing to do is pay attention to the reality that you’re admiring her too—you’re just being negative with your admiration.

Once you notice this, help to bolster yourself up by remembering that you, too, do your job well, and that others could just as easily be feeling this same level of admiration for you.

Then you need to stop comparing yourself to other people in the first place.

It’s a bad, bad habit to get into—and it is a habit.

Regardless of what area in your life where your jealousy tends to carry you away—work, relationships, Facebook (ha! sorry)—the root of this is comparison.

You’re comparing something about you or your life to something or someone else—and you’re losing. So take out part of this equation (like this initial comparison) and you change the entire situation.

How do you stop comparing yourself to others?

Well, for one, you focus on step #2 (your own pluses) and, for another, you discover that you’re comparing apples and oranges.

Maybe everyone at work likes her because she’s talkative and funny, but they also like you because you’re grounded and a good listener. You’re different from her and, thank God, because that’s what makes our world such a special place—it’s filled with a plethora of personality types.

So, yes, note how you’d love to be able to rattle off a hilariously witty joke at the drop of a hat, but also take care that you’re not trying to cram your feet into someone else’s too-small shoes—because, now that you think about it, your shoes are pretty cool too.

~

I was going to add a few more tips to this list, but I’m thinking that we’ll stop here. (And maybe this will be part one if other readers find this article to be helpful.)

The thing is that, while this might only be a list of three tips, all three take a lot of hard work.

Yet, perhaps the most important consideration above all others—if you want to stop being jealous, that is—is for you to stop viewing yourself as a victim of a runaway emotion.

You are in control and you can stop being jealous, but that’s, unfortunately, exactly what envy does—it undermines you and it undermines how amazing you truly are. And you are amazing.

Now get out there and start practicing love—and use these seemingly small suggestions to begin cultivating a hugely profound change.

 

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Ed: Bryonie Wise

{Photo: Jayne Mansfield and Sophia Loren at Romanoff’s in Beverly Hills, c. 1958. © 1978 Joe Shere}

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