Let’s get one thing straight: they don’t call it the green-eyed monster for nothing. Jealousy is definitely a monster that has the power to rip your happiness to shreds with her long, un-filed nails and burn your productivity to a pile of ashes with her nasty fire-breath. And it’s one thing when you feel jealous of a celebrity or some random person on Instagram… But when you are experiencing envy of another member of your tribe, it’s a whole different ballgame. That monster just takes a seat right on your little shoulder, props up her feet like she owns the place, and whispers torturous things in your ear all day, distracting you from your purpose and trying to transform you into a monster yourself.
When it comes to some things (like this), giving “Five Steps to Combat Jealousy” might not seem all that helpful. The roots of envy most often grow deeper than we’d like to acknowledge and for this reason, these feelings are likely not going to change or disappear overnight or by following five simple steps. However, hopefully these five things will be a good place for us to start. What can make these feelings worse is when you feel like you have no control over them. So try and consciously implement these things into your life by taking baby steps and be patient with yourself in the process.
…it’s one thing when you feel jealous of a celebrity or some random person on Instagram…But when you are experiencing envy of another member of your tribe, it’s a whole different ballgame.
A problem that is pushed under the rug will never be solved. And yet, so many of us choose to use denial as the primary antidote for our envy. You don’t have to go shouting it from the rooftops. Even just confessing to yourself is a huge act of bravery and is a powerful sword that can help you slay your monster. As soon as those thoughts pop into your head, stop and say hello to them. For example, if you get the urge to speak negatively about someone in your tribe, ask yourself if those thoughts have anything to do with your friend or if they are just birthed out of your own emotions or desire to have what she has. Call these thoughts and feelings what they are so that you can then decide what to do with them.
It might seem counterintuitive… but researchers have proven over and over again that ‘fake it till you make it’ actually works more often than not. So even though those feelings might be telling you to do otherwise, try graciously handing your friend some praise and encouragement for her accomplishments. You will probably find that it actually wasn’t as bad as you thought it would be. Your friend will probably treat you with gratitude and grace and might even feel more comfortable opening up to you about her own insecurities once she feels your support for her. And if you just can’t get yourself to compliment your friend about the specific thing you are jealous of, try complimenting her on something else first. Or if you can’t say it to her face, send her a text or comment on one of her posts instead. Like I said, baby steps!
One of the quotes I’ve seen running around the internet lately is, “Someone else’s success is not your failure.” Isn’t it true, though?! Just because someone else has something you want or is extra talented at a skill you would die to have doesn’t mean that you somehow failed or missed the boat. With certain things, we can use collaboration as a tool to fight together. If you’re a photographer and feel envy toward another talented photog friend, see if you can combine efforts and collaborate on a new project together. Or if a friend has something that you want, like a dream job or a super cute apartment, ask for her advice on how she got there. Ask her what the downfalls of the job or cute apartment are too, in order to give you a more realistic picture.
Take your eyes off of everyone else for a while and concentrate your efforts on yourself. Can’t stand how well her blog is doing compared to yours? Just stop reading it for a couple days if you need to (you can go back later and catch up; she’ll understand). Zero in on you and your stuff. Refocus. Remind yourself who you are and why you are doing the things you’re doing. As my favorite cousin always says in his weird high-pitched voice, “You do you, boo-boo.”
STOP. WAIT HERE. Don’t skim anymore. If you don’t read anything else in this article, read this:
I believe that the most powerful tool we have in combatting jealousy of those close to us is our ability to celebrate who we are. If you know your own worth, the likelihood of being able to celebrate the members of your lady-tribe instead of feeling envy and bitterness towards them increases twentyfold.
Please celebrate that! Accept and embrace **who you are. **I know it sounds cliche, but it’s true! As the one and only Dr. Seuss says, “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you!”
For example, I am fully aware that I will never have long, thin legs. It’s just the way I’m built and I literally have ZERO ability to change that. So spending my time staring longingly at my friend with legs for days that should be walking her down a runway… what good is that time doing? Instead, I can spend that time being thankful that I have strong legs, legs that move me around, that carry my weight around the world and allow me to do all sorts of amazing things.
Unfortunately, jealousy happens to all of us. It’s not something that we can get rid of with a few magic steps. But let’s start here. Let’s start together. Let’s call our jealousy what it is, join forces when we can, and really embrace the individuals that we are. You might just find that your little green-eyed monster doesn’t feel at home on your shoulder anymore. You might hear the sound of her filing her nails and brushing her teeth as she packs up her bags and scoots on out of your life.
Photos by Chelsea Francis