Seeing Jealousy For What it Really Is
To call an emotion worthless isn’t exactly accurate. Contrary to what we may think, some good can come out of jealousy, even if it’s just the act of knowing we’re exhibiting the behavior. But jealousy doesn’t serve us well in relationships with either friends or lovers. Comparing yourself to others reduces your own self worth.
Mudita: Unselfish Joy
Taking joy from other people’s fortunes actually brings us happiness. Buddhists call it mudita or unselfish joy. It’s the belief system that jealousy is unbearable because it’s not based on reality, it refutes the truth that we are all connected. Mudita is the ability to be happy for others because we are able to see ourselves in everyone. We have enough compassion to spread that love to all those that surround us and we understand that jealousy in the end, only brings us pain.
Envy starts young on the playground and it’s a difficult emotion to shake. It rises to the top when we feel insecure about ourselves. We take things personally and put ourselves in the center of the universe. It's really about getting to the root of why we’re feeling insecure.
Why Are We Insecure?
"If you don't get a promotion, for example, what is it you feel that you're not getting? Do you feel a loss of respect and recognition because you don't think you're good enough?" says Marcia Reynolds, a psychologist and executive coach on USA Today. "Do you feel the loss of control and predictability" because you don't feel in control of your career and fear losing your job?
Jealousy is about wanting something we do not have and demonizing ourselves for not living up to our own expectations.
"Jealousy and envy can be poisoning if you let them," Reynolds says. "Look at this as a way for you to learn, as a way to maybe get you to do things you might not have done before. That way, it becomes a gift because you can grow from it."
Concentrating more on what you do than what others do is a great place to start turning jealousy into action. Action removes that feeling of worthlessness that’s caused by jealousy. And then, instead of comparing yourself to others, remind yourself that you can’t be someone else, you can only be your best you.
Photo: Digital Vision