It’s quite common to react with feelings of envy and jealousy when we see others with things we don’t have, but people tend to get caught up in these emotions rather than using them as a tool to achieve greater self-awareness.
Understanding the impact feelings of jealousy can have and considering their root cause is the first step towards achieving a more empowered sense of self and a more confident approach to life.
Jealous and envy – what’s the difference?
Jealousy is based on a perception of a potential loss to a rival: somebody who could take something of value away. If you are attached, infatuated, addicted or dependent on a particular trait that you’re admiring in what you’re afraid of losing, you are vulnerable to jealousy.
Envy is something different entirely. This is where somebody has something that you don’t have, that you want; for instance money or success.
If a new colleague gets a promotion at work, you may envy their success. And if you were next in line for that promotion, you may be jealous that they were chosen over you.
You can envy their experience or confidence and their ability to be noticed by superiors, but you’d be jealous of them too because they are now a threat to your position and future promotions.
Jealousy has a hidden or revealed resentment attached. You resent that person for taking something from you. And you envy them as they obviously seem to have something that you don’t.
So how do you overcome these feelings when they feel as though they will suck you into a black hole of jealousy?
1. Jealousy is a tool
Consider this: if you never felt jealous you may not feel the need to grow and expand. Instead, accept jealousy as a tool in your emotional toolkit that can help you achieve a greater version of yourself.
By keeping you on your toes, you can use these emotions to strive to create a greater you. If that means you want to upskill at work to ensure you beat your colleagues for the next round of promotions, ensure you do what it takes to achieve that goal.
2. Master consciousness
The arrival of jealousy comes with a knife’s edge, as to whether you will simply embrace and use the feelings, or feel a vicious need to let the emotion destroy you.
Instead of obsessing over what others have that you don’t, refocus that energy into working out how to get there too, or realise where you already have it in your own unique form.
3. Don’t settle
Ensure that you seek what fulfils you, and doesn’t just infatuate you. You’ll pay the price if you’re infatuated with feelings of vulnerability and doubt. Instead, seek relationships and jobs that truly align with your highest values to feel validated and fulfilled.
Remember, your feeling of jealousy is partly a byproduct of not empowering yourself and should be seen as a gift to self-empowerment and not the curse you may assume it to be.
Dr John Demartini is a human behaviour expert, speaker, author and CEO and founder of The Demartini Institute.