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6 Ways to Turn Jealousy Into Joy

Is jealousy destroying your relationships?

You all know that sinking feeling. You try to share some good news with a friend and there is no response. Consider the following scenario: You are delighted that you have gotten your COVID vaccine. You attempt to share that moment of joy with a friend and there is silence. It is a painful silence. Ouch. It stings. Your friend is not happy. Your friend is jealous. She thinks, perhaps, that you have much better luck than she does.

Or how about the following? Your friend's child just got into her first-choice college. You know that she wants you to congratulate her but instead, you feel a rush of heat. You are not feeling happy for her. You are, unfortunately, overwhelmed with jealousy. After all, your own child is going to a school that you don't feel inclined to brag about.

So, this jealousy, this feeling of resenting the accomplishments of others, is so toxic and so miserable in so many ways. It not only has the power to ruin relationships but it also can eat away at your own feelings of self-worth. No one is quite sure how to deal with jealousy but almost everyone has felt the sting of being on the receiving or giving end. Today, we are going to go on a bit of a journey together. I will explain the reasons for jealousy and then attempt to have you think of things in a different way so that the jealousy can be defused.

  1. You make assumptions about the lives of others without knowing the entire story. So, you assume that the other person only experiences positive things in her life. That leads to intolerable jealousy. Consider an alternative possibility. Perhaps this person shares her joys but withholds sources of distress. Get to know her better. You will likely learn that she experiences the good and the bad. As you get to know the full picture and the story of her life, you will be better able to celebrate her joys. Jealousy will diminish.
  2. Perhaps you feel that there is not enough success to go around. This belief, of course, leads to misery and jealousy when your friend is sharing good news. Consider shifting this belief to understanding that there are limitless supplies of success. No one person owns all of the success in this world. Changing your beliefs about this may very well lead you to feel good about the success of others and your own achievements.
  3. Maybe you have grown up being taught to focus on competition rather than connection. If so, that's a shame. Home must have been a difficult spot. Rethink that style of relating to others. If you focus on your connection to others then their celebrations may become your celebrations and what a joy that could be!
  4. Keep in mind that success does not necessarily lead to happiness. Yes, your friend, for example, may have gotten a gift that you covet but that doesn't mean that she is free of depression, anxiety, and all of the other stressful feelings that most individuals contend with at one time or another during their lives. Understanding this may also help you turn your jealousy into something that enables you to be happy for your friend at this particular moment in time.
  5. Maybe you believe that the world is full of winners and losers. The world is not divided that clearly and simply. In fact, the world is full of people who succeed at some tasks and have challenges with others. This new way of thinking is also likely to defuse your jealousy and increase your ability to feel happy for others.
  6. Make a list of your own unique strengths. With improved self-esteem, the accomplishments of others are significantly less likely to feel like assaults on your own sense of self-worth. Again, there are all kinds of reasons to feel proud of yourself and others.