How to Turn Jealousy into Inspiration
We all know that jealousy is a toxic emotion, but it’s also a part of being human. A significant portion of our happiness is relative, meaning that we rely to a great extent on feeling equal or even superior to those around us.
In an age of equality, social media and reality TV, this natural tendency can easily get out of control.
Gaining a view into the lives of the successful has never been easier. Instead of dwelling on the negative feelings that comparisons can generate, use these tips to turn jealousy into inspiration and your own version of success.
Appearances Are Deceptive
People naturally seek to present the best versions of themselves to the outside world. With technology and the internet, this trick has never been easier to pull.
Social media, blogs and personal websites can be used to display highly edited versions of our lives. We see the happy family shots, exotic vacations and fancy parties, but nothing of the things people would rather keep hidden. We hear about the promotions, finished projects and exciting launches, but nothing about all the hard work, mistakes, past failures and sacrifices.
People simply won’t broadcast the negative aspects of their lives to the rest of the world. This fact can help us realize that what we see and hear is often not an accurate representation of reality, and can teach us to keep others’ successes in perspective.
Define Success for Yourself
In our society, money, careers and material possessions are the most common markers of success. But there’s no definite reason for this. Success can mean a whole range of things, and is most accurately defined as excelling at anything we deem important.
Success can mean being a good friend, being kind to strangers, or learning everything there is to know about a subject you love. The specifics don’t matter: The important thing is that you’re the one who chooses.
Once you have a firm grip on what success means to you, you’ll be less derailed by what others around you are doing. You’ll realize that success can mean different things to different people, and you don’t need one set definition or standard to live up to.
Success applies to many different areas of life — not just material or financial — and it’s very rare for people to excel in all of them. Success often requires compromise, whether in one’s career, family, relationships or free time.
Someone with a large home, expensive car and all the latest gadgets probably makes a variety of sacrifices in order to afford their lifestyle. Another person may opt to rent rather than buy a property or cut down on spending in other ways so that they can afford to work fewer hours and spend more time with family and friends.
Analyze Your Jealousy
Although jealousy is an ugly emotion, a meaning or potential purpose is often behind it. Jealous thoughts and feelings can act as a guide in helping you to pinpoint your true values and desires. If you stop to look past the negative emotions and get to the core of why you feel jealous, you might uncover valuable information about where you want to be in life.
For example, people are commonly jealous of others due to income and material possessions. Envying people for their large home, fancy clothes and flashy car might seem superficial. But if you get to the core of the emotion, you might realize you desire material comfort, security or status and recognition from others.
Learn From Others Instead
What if the person you envy truly embodies your own definition of success? Then the best thing you can do is to learn from this person.
The problem behind jealousy isn’t the act of comparison itself, but that it involves negative feelings towards the subject. The trick to turning jealousy into inspiration is to view that person in a positive light.
When you’re feeling jealous, instead of dwelling on the negative, think about what you can learn from them. Stop viewing life as a competition and think instead of this person as providing a great living example of what you want to achieve.
Analyze how they do things, read up on their background story and look for any interesting techniques or unusual methods you could pick up on.
Perhaps you could even reach out to them: Developing a relationship is the fastest way to learn from someone, as well as to expel negative emotions, and even snag a valuable mentor.
Whatever your approach, don’t forget to harness that jealousy. It could be your greatest inspiration.