We have all done it. That eye roll we unintentionally let go of when we hear other people talking about their successes. Whether they are flaunting or not, it is very hard not to immediately compare ourselves to those doing the talking, and wondering whether we are “OK” in our current situation, or if we should attempt to be more like them.
In reality, jealousy is a filter for human thought. It only filters details of what we decide to believe, based on the very limited information that we get about others. Jealousy also colors and shapes our opinions, making them very flawed and, many times, quite unfair.
Here are 5 ways to overcome jealousy and shift toward a positive mindset.
1. Recognize that you feel jealous
Do not ignore the feeling. Recognize when you feel jealous, or you will not feel the urgency to overcome jealousy and nip insecurities right in the bud. Once you allow yourself to recognize your jealousy, you will be able to ask yourself all the right questions. Questions such as:
- What facts about me are making me feel this way?
- Is it the person’s success or my lack of success what is making me feel this way?
- Would I feel jealous if I were in the same level as the person talking?
The answers to these preliminary questions will help clarify half of your concerns and may help you feel better right on the spot. After all, learning the reality behind your thinking is the first step to being more proactive than reactive.
2. Ask yourself how the person achieved his or her goals?
The reason why this is good advice is because you will likely NEVER know the whole story on how the other person achieved his or her goal. All you get to hear about is the finished product. You will not know in detail how the other person’s journey toward achieving the goal began. Also, you will likely never learn about the struggles, tears, and sacrifices that the other person had to undergo to get there.
3. You will never hear the backstory
Continuing with the previous paragraph, the reason for this statement is that people are often too proud, or too shy, to share the darker side of their tale. However, most journeys begin with some major shakeup. Rest assured that big successes never come easily, nor quickly. If anything, learn from others about resilience, motivation, and the grit it took them to keep trying. Feeling jealous will not help you move forward to achieve your own goals.
4. What’s in it for you?
Rather than feeling angry, or jealous, ask yourself the following:
- How can the success of that person be beneficial to you?
- Is this person celebrating the completion of a college degree that could end up helping you, like a lawyer, or a medical doctor degree?
- Can this person become a mentor to you?
- Is this person’s ranking high enough for you to use him or her as a reference for a future job?
5. Allow the success of others reflect on your social circle
It is always a good thing to have friends in high places. Rather than moving away from them due to jealousy, embrace them and see how they can be of help to you or your loved ones. Think about this: Would you rather have friends who can’t achieve anything and are always complaining? Also, celebrate the fact that the success of someone else is weight off someone else’s shoulder. The more independent and successful all of us become, the less we will become a burden to others. That is always a good thing.
Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the Theft of Joy”
He was correct. The moment we stop looking within, and start living our lives through the failures or successes of other people, is the moment we stop investing time and efforts toward our own success. Jealousy is a waste of time: it only filters the negative preconceptions we have about ourselves. It does not help us improve our lives, or move forward quicker toward our goals. What it does, however, is prevent us from recognizing that other people’s successes can influence our own lives for the better. We can learn from people’s successes, benefit from them, and even celebrate them!
The basic rules are simple: We must recognize the feeling, ask ourselves the questions proposed here, and shift the mindset. Avoiding altogether the feeling of jealousy is one of the best favors we can do ourselves.