When someone we actually love gets something wonderful and the first thing we feel is ouch—this is jealousy.
Over the years, I’ve learned to recognize and use jealousy as a vehicle for practical applications of love.
Jealousy is something we’ve all faced from time to time—it’s common to the fallen human nature. Jealousy can rear up over anything: we struggle with jealousy over other people’s looks, careers, and possessions. There are even times when we aim to make others feel jealous on purpose.
Why do we do that? I’ve often wondered over my own bouts of jealousy, “Will I constantly feel drained by it, or is there a better way to handle this beast?”
I’ve learned that the first step in fighting jealousy is learning how to spot it. Once we do, then we can choose how to respond—it’s a practice.
This is what jealousy looks like:
Jealousy doesn’t acknowledge us. I used to associate with this young lady with whom I shared many similar physical and personality traits. Though we also possessed some of the same abilities, she was faster, and it seemed to me she was more skillful.
This made me feel off about her because of it. When she posted on social media, I intentionally scrolled past her pictures as though I never saw them in the first place. The more she posted, the quicker I scrolled, leaving no room for comments.
It wasn’t long before I unfollowed her—I was done watching her progress. Her pace made me feel stagnant—like I wasn’t doing enough. As time passed by, our communication became less as if we naturally drifted apart.
Jealousy doesn’t celebrate with us. As a single woman, I endured many moments seeing my friends and associates get married. It often left me wondering, “When will it be my turn?”
In some engagements, I genuinely felt happy for the couple, as we were close, and I knew what it took for them to come together. Yet, there were “those” couples who made me think, “How in the world did this even happen? How did they get married before me?”
I found myself saying things like “congratulations” and “I’m really happy for you two.” In reality, I was thinking, “You’ve got to be kidding me!” My thought process did not match up with my words, so this made it hard for me to genuinely celebrate with them.
Jealousy doesn’t share with us. You might wonder, “What do you mean jealousy doesn’t share?” Well, jealousy has selfish tendencies.
I remember I had a few favorite toys as a child. When friends came over, I kept my favorite toys away from them—I preserved the best ones for myself.
I thought if I let them play with my favorite toys, they could like them and play with them for too long, which meant I’d have less time playing.
It was important to me that I have full access to my favorite toys at all times. It seemed threatening for someone else to have a relationship with them. This is a telltale sign of being jealous—jealousy does not want to share the best of what we’ve got.
Now that we know what jealousy looks like, how do we defeat it?
The answer is “love.”
Love is a powerful force that is expressed through actions, and it takes practice. Love keeps our actions aligned with our thoughts. It also influences healthy changes in ourselves and generates positive responses from others.
Here’s how we can defeat jealousy:
Step one: acknowledge jealousy.
When I felt off about my friend doing better than me, I had to be honest with myself and acknowledge my negative feelings. It was like gazing at her through the green-lensed glasses of envy.
Love removed the envious root of jealousy and enabled me to see her as the amazingly talented person she is.
Step two: choose to practice love.
For instance, if a friend tells me she’s engaged, and it makes me feel a little down, this may be a sure sign that jealousy has something to do with it. When I reminded myself that I love my friend that I was empowered to choose and practice love.
So what does practicing love look like? Love celebrates with others and shares their excitement. In the process, we become aligned with the friend we desire to be and show the love we want to feel from others.
I’m sure we can agree that jealousy feels awful—let’s choose to love instead.
Step three: feeling scarce? Find what you can give.
“Sharing is caring.” Love actually expresses itself through care. When we learn how to open up with our time, gifts, material possessions, and so on, we practice love by putting ourselves in a place where jealousy can’t coexist with love.
So the next time you feel like getting a pizza and devouring it alone, try giving a few slices away first. The more you give or share, the more comes back to you. I know this to be true from my own lifestyle with practicing love.
I think we all agree that jealousy is not foreign to any of us—we’ve all experienced its draining grip on our emotions, influencing how we treat others.
We have to be willing to recognize when jealousy shows up and the moment when we choose to practice love.
Love defeats jealousy and wins every battle.