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9 Ways to Overcome Jealousy

Photo by Ernie Land

Have you ever felt yourself resenting another person just because of their perceived success? Do you hear yourself justifying their success with some trivial reason so that you can easily dismiss them (and consequently feel good about yourself)? Through my experiences, I have come to learn that this instinctive emotion is merely trying to protect our ego, by burying our inadequacies and insecurities. Our mind is at work protecting us in the comforts of our little cocoon shell. But to what benefit does it serve?

Not only is the feeling of jealousy not conducive for relationship building and effective communication, but it just doesn’t us feel very good. Can you relate? That uncomfortable tightness in your stomach? Why do we put ourselves through it?

In relationships, this emotion is so pervasive and instantaneous that people fail to take time, step back and evaluate it. It breaks communication, compassion and damages relationships. I know that I have been jealous and I am intimately aware of the impact it can have on a relationship. When we are in a state of jealousy, we are operating in a state of instinctual survival mode. We are acting out of scarcity. In this state, we are irrational and the only thing we can think about is ourselves. We fail to consider the feelings and impact of our behavior on other people. But when we operate from a place of abundance, we unleash the human spirit, think compassionately towards others. We can free ourselves from negative emotions.

In a workplace, jealousy can be the fear of disrespect from our peers (“if she is better than me, then I will be replaced.”); thus unloved. In a business, the fear of loss in market-share, sales, customers and bankruptcy; thus unloved.

I learned that my jealousy was very much driven from my ego’s cry for attention. Deep down inside, I was just a little child, arms wrapped around myself, scared and wanting to be loved.

The following are methods to help reduce and eliminate this negative thought pattern:

  • Fully Experience the Feeling – By telling yourself not to feel jealous, you will never be able to get out of it. “What we resist persists”. But if we bring awareness into the equation and deeply understand the situation, we’ll start to eliminate the negative emotions. Allow yourself to fully feel the feeling of jealousy. By facing the emotion directly and fully experiencing it, you’ll see that the feeling will start to diminish. I have also found this experience to work with anger towards another, and fear of a situation.Find a place alone where you won’t be disturbed. Close your eyes, and start to feel the jealousy. Observe where that feeling is coming from? How is it reflecting in your body? Does your throat feel tight? Is it your stomach? Does your heart ache? Become the observer. It’s important to fully allow the feeling to surface. Recognize that it isn’t you, but your ego’s crave for attention in the name of survival. Keep observing, and in a few seconds you’ll see that the feeling will slowly disperse. By practicing this, “you can move beyond the ego’s perspective and see reality from the perspective of a higher consciousness.””To overcome jealousy, just see how the jealousy came into your system, just analyze the sequence of thoughts and emotions in your system and then undo it by reasoning out the whole process with your intelligence.”
    — Swamiji Nithyananda
  • Love Yourself“If you don’t fully accept and love yourself as you are, you could be more prone to comparing yourself to others as a way of artificially boosting your feeling of self-worth.” — Steve PavlinaSelf worth comes with self appreciation and love. People who are truly comfortable and secure with themselves, rarely let jealousy get in the way. Look within, spend time with yourself, get to know the real you. Choose to focus on yourself, instead of the person you are jealous of. Use your understanding of desires and your mind to change your perception. Know that you have everything you need to be whole, happy and complete right inside of you. Know that if you feel something is missing that you can have it, you can achieve it.




  • Stop Comparing – Nithyananda said, “Comparison is the seed and jealousy is the fruit!”. Comparison leads to jealousy, and both are mind-created states. “Our mind is so caught up in comparison that it misses the actual quality of what it sees. We need to drop the comparing attitude to be able to see things as they are.” (Nithyananda). Start by appreciating the differences. See the benefits of you uniqueness.It is helpful to be reminded that there is no end to comparison, because there is no end to our expectations. Remember the last time you fulfilled a desired goal? Or received something you wanted? What happened to it 4 weeks later? Did you still appreciate it as much?”Mind is that Illusion which shows a tiny mustard seed to be a huge mountain until it is attained, and a mountain to be as insignificant as a mustard seed once it has been attained!
    — Raman Maharshi
  • Find What’s Threatening You? – Ask yourself and see what is it about yourself that you feel is being threatened? What are you insecure about? What are you afraid to lose? What is it that you believe you deserve? Once you understand what this is, decide to overcome this insecurity with a rough plan. See how you can see the situation from a place of abundance rather than scarcity?
  • Write It Out – I’ve always found it helpful to think on paper. By writing down your thoughts, it gives you an opportunity to express yourself, but also lays your options out clearly on paper. It’s like seeing the city from an airplane, you have a clearer vision of the big-picture. Ask yourself “Why do I feel this way?” Write out all your reasons out on paper. Write without editing, jot down anything that comes to mind. You can organize the information later. Once you have all your reasons, write beside each one what you can do about it. Dig deep within yourself, find insight from your uncertainty.
  • Be Realistic – Ask yourself,
    • Is the person really a threat to you? To your relationship? To your business?
    • Is what you are feeling or doing creating any benefits for anyone involved? If it doesn’t feel very good and it’s not helping you, then does it make sense to continue feeling this way?
    • Is there a lesson I can learn here? What is the inspiration I can gain from this situation?
  • Find Your Strength – Focus on your strengths and unique qualities. Feel gratitude for the gifts you have and abilities that you are blessed with. Once you identify what they are, then shift your focus.
  • Shift Your Focus – When we are feeling negative, it is sometimes difficult to think rationally. We are so focused on the negative feeling that we lose the big picture. Change your current emotional state by shifting your attention to something completely different. Like go for a jog, or start doing the dishes. Once you’ve cool down, come back to the situation with a clear and open mind.
  • “Is this what we want for ourselves?” – By feeling this way, we are giving this emotion our attention, in the process we are attracting to us like situations and perceptions for us to continue feeling this negative emotion. “What we sew is what we reap”. If you were in their shoes, would you want the same? How do you think the other person feel? Put yourself in their position. When I find someone more successful in my field, I celebrate their success as if it was my own, and I use their case as an example to model after.

How do you handle Jealousy? Share your experiences and insights in the comments.

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About the author

Tina Su is a mom, a wife, a lover of Apple products and a CHO (Chief Happiness Officer) for our motivational community: Think Simple Now. She is obsessed with encouraging and empowering people to lead conscious and happy lives. Subscribe to new inspiring stories each week. You can also subscribe to Tina on Facebook.

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136 thoughts on 9 Ways to Overcome Jealousy

  1. My dictionary doesn’t distinguish between any difference in envy and jealousy. I usually use the 2 interchangeably. Tina, this is a great article.

    I wrote an article of my own recently called Family Generational Patterns of Behavior on my blog where I talked about my feelings of jealousy of the relationship that my husband and daughter have. The bottom line was that I was jealous because they have the healthy father-daughter relationship that I always wanted and didn’t have with my own father. When I realized where my feelings came from, they were resolved and the anger disappeared.

  2. Hi Tina,

    I agree with a lot of your points.

    Instead of comparing you with other people, compare you with what you can achieve. Instead of look at others and being envious of others, look at inside of us, see if we have untapped potential, and maximize that potential.

    Really great article Tina, thanks for helping us to be happy!
    Robert

  3. Wonderful work, Tina. Thank you.

    Self-worth is a gift. As a gift, it cannot be earned, only accepted or rejected.

    It’s funny how people want to selectively possess elements of another’s success. For me, the element they desire is symptomatic of the person’s entire experience (and absence of our own experience). I.E. one may desire the financial achievement of another, but not really desire to have experienced the childhood poverty that has made them so driven, or desire the 7 day work weeks and the missed children’s birthday parties that were part of that financial achievement.

    Continued inspiration to you,
    CG

  4. Tina,

    What do we do about other’s Jealousy? My mother and sister were both jealous of me in my childhood. Mum still readily admits she is now (such healing when she speaks the truth..) I started to act small to save them (and myself) from that harmful place.

    Now I know my fear of other’s jealousy gets in the way of my achieving what I know I must.

    What should I do?

  5. Hi Joanne (The Nourisher),

    That’s an interesting question you have. Thank you for being so open and realizing that this ‘fear’ is affecting your potential for achieving your goals.

    Since you mentioned the word ‘fear’, instead of focusing on what to do about other people’s jealousy, focus on what we can do to overcome this fear. All fears have their roots based on the same thing if we drill deep: fear of death. And so, perhaps, the fear comes from the possibility that other’s won’t love us anymore. Lost of love is deep rooted instinctively… if a baby did not have love, it will die.

    Another possibility to consider: Is the fear an excuses to delay action in doing those things which the fear is holding you back from?

    Another question to ask yourself: What is it about this fear or story that I’m repeating in my head which I like?

    I will expand on this topic in a future article.
    Here are two related articles that can help:

    + 6 Steps to Deflate Self-Defeating Fears (different fears but still applies)
    + How to Fight Your Fears (short article, will expand on it in future)

  6. jd

    Well framed.
    I also think Andrea put a fine point on it — a “lack mentality”

  7. MB

    Hi ;-)

    all your advice is very good, but my envy relates almost entirely to other women´s appearence.

    Since I was a baby I was used to getting a lot of attention, and I think thatis the reason I feel so threatened and green of envy, when a beautiful woman walks in.

    I focus all my attention to that person and compare myself to her and notice all the attention that person gets – which in makes me feel self pity, ugly, sad and unappreciated.

    These methods are good and I´m sure they work well – but how do I apply them in the present moment, when the jalousy or envy takes over and ends up ruining my day.

    I also tend to talk about it with my mother, and it takes the emotion away for a while – it doesn´t solve anything in thelong term though, and ends up making her feel bad and frustrated.

  8. Dynastii

    This article has made me realize the real root to my jealousy in my relationship. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such an aspiring article. I just realized I’m not jealous of other girls around my boyfriend just because. I changed so much for the worse because of our past that I’m completely a different person. I was so perfect before the past. This article has asked questions that really made me think deep enough to finally understand why I get so jealous. It’s because I’m not me anymore, I became someone people don’t want to be around opposed to the person everyone loved. I’m scared he might leave me for someone else after everything I went through and he finally changed for me, and then I’ll lose him. Now, hopefully I can channel all the jealous emotions,heart aches, and stomache aches into changing back to the loveable person I was, regaining the passion and security in my relationship, and for the best never having to feel this way ever again. Thank you so much for this article once again.

    ***************************
    REPLY:

    You got it girl! Thank you for sharing your insights, I felt moved by your comment.
    Just focus on the beautiful qualities about him and your relationship. Take time to give gratitude. Spend time with yourself and love yourself. Allow him to be him and allow life to happen naturally. :)

    I wish you all the best!

    Love,
    Tina

  9. “Fully Experience the Feeling” I’m adding this one to my notes on break-ups. People rarely if ever allow themselves to feel what they feel. Very important. I’m glad to see that we share a common perception in this department.

  10. Muhammad Ali

    Nice Article

  11. Chelsea

    Tina,
    This has helped me to understand the how and why of it all, and I see that I am being unreasonable, but I’m afraid that when I’m put in my “situation” again, I’m going to feel just a jealous. The reason I’m really up the creek without a paddle is because it’s affecting my boyfriend as well. I think he’s beginning to see a more insecure, unattractive, and maybe even annoying side of me, rather than the cute, carefree, outgoing, charismatic girl he fell for. I know I’m still that girl, but how do I show that to him, and in order to do that, how do I get over this jealousy of other women. Please, please email my address, there is a more ‘personal’ side to this message.

  12. Chelsea,

    You gotta spend time nurturing and loving yourself first. When you do that, you will not only a new sense of inner peace and happiness, you will also strengthen your self confidence and self-image. When that happens, jealousy will subside. Trust me.

    Here are some related articles that may of be help to you:
    The Secret to Self Loving
    Insecurities: A Slice From My Diary
    How to Get Over Breakups – Not suggesting a breakup, but there are tips here that you will find helpful.

    Jealousy and Insecurities will destroy relationships. Trust me, I was there once, and I’ve learned it the hard way. :) Trust me. Spend as much energy as you can loving yourself.

    Warmly,
    Tina

  13. radiradi

    I feel that my spouse loves my sister. The first time I felt that was 2 years before our marriage; however though we had many difficulties for marriage (our parents were objecting) my spouse tried much to marry me. I tried twice to put an end to our love but said him that I want breaking up because our parents are not satisfied while it was in fact because I felt that he loves my sister more but he said that he cannot even think about breaking up. All those happened when my sister was leaving our country and after so many difficulties we get married; I tried to forget that feelings and believe him when he was telling me that he loves me much. But he asks me sometimes if my sister comes back to our country, he appreciates her face, and I see his interests to her when he watches her picture.
    I have sent a same thread to this site a while ago and a good friend sent me this reply:
    ***************
    I think you need to love yourself…if you define yourself with regards to whether or not your spouse or anyone else loves/needs you…then you set yourself up for continuous disappointment. Love yourself…be happy with yourself..and all else will fall into place.:)
    ***************
    For some reason that I don’t know my previous userID and thread were lost so I had to create another userID and a same thread to be able to receive more replies.
    This is the most logical comment I could receive however, this feelings are too killing me to be able to love myself and just forget this. Because, my spouse always reminds me of that.
    I know that I should think positively and just forget this problem to help it be removed but I don’t know how. Please tell me some ways to be able to overcome this problem. Actually, I’m getting more disappointed and upset everyday.
    by the way, could it be due to being jealousy? generally, I’m not a jealous person

  14. Andyie

    My friend is stealing all my friends away. I wasn’t entirely affected by this at first, but when she starts talking about them, she really pushed my buttons to the limit. I sat down at a corner and tried to calm myself down, I tried to look at the bigger picture and said that its okay. But it didn’t work for long, when it all happened all over again. I just can’t figure it out. I’m so afraid that she’ll steal everyone from me. Its the fear inside me, jealousy. I keep telling myself that I’m great the way I am. But I’m scared this means overconfidence. I don’t know what to do. I’m lost.

  15. I don’t usually feel jealousy or envy towards others. If there is something I admire about someone, it gives me a good feeling. I do have huge problems with other peoples jealousy and have my entire life. I want to be optimistic but always feel dragged back by other peoples emotions. I can relate to Jo’s (the nourisher) experience of acting small. Being a recipient of jealousy/envy is akin to feeling death, always giving way to the other persons hatefulness. Not pleasant at all. No doubt a lot of people do feel jealousy and lash out in subtle and not so subtle ways. It is truly horrible. For sure loving yourself is important because from that place you can begin to understand anothers perspective without judgement or emotional attachment to their perspective. I notice that there is also an immense amount of sympathy for the jealous person and very little for those who are subject to others jealousy. It is as if there is a general concensus that the OK person should handle those barbs without complaint. It is not OK at all and it does not really come back to a fear of being rejected. If you are physically hurt repeatedly in the same place thousands of times, it is fair to assume that your progress for recovery is likely to be unsucessful. It is the same when a jealous person tries to dismiss you, undermine you, ignore you, block you, say unkind things and a whole variety of other techniques at their disposal – it hurts (**** them feeling better, try thinking about being nice). I think the most useful thing for a jealous person to realise is that there are a lot of you out there and the person or thing that makes you feel jealous doesn’t just have to put up with your jealousy being directed at them but also have to deal with the many thousands of you out there directing their jealousy at them as well. So stop it – IT HURTS far more than your own individual jealousy does. We are all important and have gifts – find yours and start admiring things, if it is something you would love to be or be able to do, start being it and doing it. Ban jealousy for LIFE

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