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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. Ruth

    Thank you for writing this article. It really help me see the light at the end of the tunnel; I have been struggling with jealousy for 6 years now, and I feel like I’m finally ready to get past it. I see now what I was doing wrong and how I can change my stupid ways of thinking. You may have just saved my relationship.

  2. Tyler

    You said in order to not be jealous you have to be happy with yourself. But what if you have no self confidence no self worth no self esteem? mine was tore down pretty recently and I can’t seem to get it back. how can i not be jealous with no self esteem?

  3. Drag

    Youre article is great, however, I have suffered through many years of jealousy . Like one of your posts wrote, it’s solely in regards to other women’s appearances. When I am out with my husband and we are in the presence of a very attractive woman, I get physically sick where I almost want to throw up. What do you do with this? My husband isn’t doing anything out of line, the women are usually not either…. But when I compare myself to them, I always feel bad about myself and then I become angry because I wasted more unproductive time in my life. Please help me… As many years of therapy didn’t help, landmark didn’t help and Im scared that as my daughter gets older, she may notice my mood shifts and that would be devastating

  4. Mithun

    when i was reading this i felt i came accross the same problems….and thank you for letting me realize myself….from now onwards i will try my best to be a good guy! thanks allot!

  5. Joe

    “Feel the jealousy” probably the most important thing on here. And not just feel it, undestand it and use your intelligence to move forward and rationalize from it. Man, I am one jealous guy, mostly in my relationship. I looked up this article after my partner was being pursued by an outsider, I took it all out on my partner and was way destructive with my words, not to mention my jealousy triggers an anxiety which makes my actions even more impulsive. After reading this I could see more clearly, it’s really about “what’s the worst that could happen?” end up alone? Not as bad as it sounds, and not what would most likely happen, but it’s that idea that is triggering the jealousy and destructiveness that needs control.

  6. I give trust and more love its the only way to kill the pain when I don’t understand the reason well.

  7. gypsy

    Like so many of the other posters, I am struggling immensely with my jealousy. I am insanely jealous of the girl my boyfriend works with and shares an office with. They are together every day, and while I’m at work, I make myself sick imagining what they are talking about or how close their relationship is getting. His work environment is extremely small and everyone makes inappropriate jokes all the time. They even all went on a trip to Mexico (3 guys, 3 girls – no significant others). He has given me no reason to distrust him and the girl is always nice when I’m around her. But I can’t shake this doubt in my head. I try not to compare myself to her, we are actually very similar – same hair, same style, same type of job – she’s just a much better-looking version of me. It makes me physically ill to where I can’t eat and even throw up. We have discussed it many times and he assures me that nothing is going on, I can’t keep bringing it up. And I know continuing on this way is only going to damage any reason he fell in love with me in the first place. The article is very good, but since he’s around her EVERY day it’s tough to maintain my negative emotions. And he’ll casually bring up how the office is going out for drinks and I immediately get sick and can’t even look him in the eye. No matter what I try, I can’t get out of this rut. What do I do with this??

  8. Missy D

    This is just amazing. I’ve always been jealous of those who are better looking and more charismatic & find it easy to flourish in social situations. Also there was one particular case recently where a woman had become (still is) really well known and loved for a quite rare thing that I know I can do well too, but had no way (I thought at the time) to actually go and do it myself. I wanted so bad to have what she had, even almost wishing she could be forgotten, almost like she’d taken “my thing” but that is totally irrational, unreasonable and she seems like a genuinely nice lady what’s more.
    It had me acting like a right total idiot whenever she was around or being talked about & her exploits fondly remembered. I wasn’t focusing on anything nice at all, within myself or others. It was just yucky.

    When I sit down and think about it, using some of the stuff in this article, in reality I *can* do what I’ve been wanting to do so badly and do have the opportunity, and will probably have a touch of admiration for being able to do this rare thing that well. I am my own person and should just enjoy my part, her having done it too does not threaten my own ability. We are not actually in direct competition for one role or prize.

    Basically I love your wisdom on where jealousy comes from and ways to help overcome it as it really is not fun or helpful!!

  9. This is a great article. I am going through a bunch of jealousy right now with my relatively new boyfriend. With Facebook being a major culprit, jealousy is very real and painful. Even though no one is doing anything wrong, the thoughts are there. I think these exercises you suggest here will be a good start. Kind of like “the only way through it, is to go THROUGH it” and feeling those feelings and being aware of them could just be the key. Thanks!

  10. Joy

    I have struggled with jealousy for years though and I feel like I’m drowning myself when it happens because I refuse to tell my partner. I never knew how to deal with it. This article has already helped me so much. I tried what your first point was. To just sit and focus on what I was actually feeling. Reading that was the first time that I realized that what I felt was emotional AND physical. My throat does tighten, my chest aches. It just gave me an insane amount of comfort reading that. Thank you so much.

  11. fatima mario

    hi I’m Mario,

    I’m at a stage where there’s jealousy in my life and i don’t know what to do with it. I have talked it over with my girlfriend but it seems to haunt me down every time i see a comment on face book , or when she finishes work late, or when she gets anonymous calls while we are together. She tells me to trust her but half the time she ignores me, or she uses excuses to change the subject.

    I try very hard not to think about it but it just slips into my mind. I love her very much But i don’t know whats happening. I’m afraid to ask her because she thinks that i Don’t TRUST her. We have a kid and i love them both very dearly so What shall I do?, this situation is very fragile and its to risky to lose.

  12. Cori

    Very useful suggestions for dealing with the feelings!

    The article could go from very good to great if you distinguished between envy and jealousy, which are similar but different.

  13. Jen

    I have struggled with jealousy for many years now but it has just gotten worse with time. My contacts are far and few between so it is understandable that I have a fear of being alone. I experience jealousy as anger-I find it hard to deal with the fact that I am so intensely loyal and I don’t receive the same in return :*( I think I am just deeply hurt that my affections are often unrequitted. While this is very disappointing and heartbreaking, I suppose it really isn’t anyone’s fault. People can’t help the way they feel or the way they are-I just have to focus on finding more rewarding relationships.

  14. Mia

    hi tina,
    i have this jealousy on my husbands friend . i can’t help it but to be jealous every time that i read messages from her even though my husband always keeps telling me now to be. but i since i know that her friend likes him the jealousy always comes out. i really wanted to overcome this feeling because its difficult to feel this way. my thoughts are always playing the “what if” things that may be happening to the both of them.. i really need help.. thanks

  15. @Mia: try to practice what you can learn from this blog and this may help you. We can only show you how, but the rest is always up to you.

  16. suzy

    hi tina,

    i have recently been divorced and then remarried my first love. i had been struggling with this issue of jealousy for as long as we had been married -the second marriage, i mean. i tried to control it thinking i could do it on my own but have been failing miserably. it is now threatening, as you had pointed out to destroy, not only my relationship with my husband but my close friends as well.

    thus i came upon your article in a desperate search to make some changes and overcome this hated emotion. i am trying to digest and apply the principles you had pointed out.

    explain to me, if you will, tina, what you meant by this “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.

    how do you operate from a place of abundance? what is this place of abundance?

    at this point, I truly need to have everything made clear to me as that is what I am striving for -clarity.

    thank you and i believe your article will help me overcome my issues of jealousy and jealous behaviour.

  17. Jas

    Great post. Thank you for this awesome tips. You know i’ve been very jealous this past few days. My husband had new work and i’m jealous of people he will meet especially the girls. I told him directly not to befriended them too much for they might misinterpret it. My husband is reallt friendly and i’m scared that he will meet someone. I’m so jealous and i dont know why. It’s wrong to speculate i know but i just cant help it. It seems craziness already or just abnormality. I hope i can overcome this feeling. It really do sucks.

  18. Bridget

    Hello everyone,

    I have been reading everyone’s posts on here and I have to tell you although jealousy is a very damaging emotion it is actually comforting for me to know that there are others suffering from the same problem.

    I read gypsy, drag and Mia’s posts and they are all parts of what I feel. I have been married to my husband for 16 years and in 2008 we had a problem in our marriage and he left me for someone else, he was acting like a totally different man than the man that I had fell in love with and of course it devastated me that he was acting so differently towards me and treating me like I did not matter.

    To make a long story short, we ended back up together in 2010 and we remarried this past February and I have been so happy ever since but there are times that my jealousy rears its ugly head and I find myself questioning my husband about every female he talks to and we end up in this argument that makes my stomach turn, he tells me repeatedly that he is never going to leave me again and that I am the love of his life.

    I find myself not being able to get away from the doubts and it utterly drives me insane at times and the thing that bothers me the most is that when he does talk to another female he talks to her right in front of me so I can hear everything he is saying and if he is texting or facebooking he also shows me every message, every text. He always tells me, if I was doing something behind your back, I certainly wouldn’t be showing you and telling you everything that we are talking about and then after that I feel like a complete fool.

    I love this man so much, I fell in love with him when I was 17 and now I am about to be 35, that should say something about how much we love each other. I really do need help in knowing what to do when I am in this situation and not make a face or make a comment that sets him off. I can totally understand where he is coming from and he told me that he can understand where I am coming from and we both agreed when we got back together that we were going to let the past go and I have yet to do that, when I feel threatened I bring up things from the past and I have noticed about myself that when he brings up things about me I then want to change the subject and its not fair on my part to do that to him.

    I am told all the time by my husband how beautiful he thinks that I am and he tells me that all the people that he is in contact with think the same thing, but for me, I don’t see it because I am so focused on him and what I make up in my mind that he is doing. I like one of the ladies mentioned earlier, I imagine in my own head what he is talking about with these other women and if he is doing something with them behind my back and all its doing is tearing me down inside and he is not a jealous person by any means and that drives me crazy!!!

  19. Bridget

    Hey Everyone,

    I have really been enjoying everyone’s comments and as harsh of a emotion that jealousy is its comforting to know that I am not the only person dealing with this damaging emotion.

    I have been married to my husband for 16 years, we had a problem in our marriage in 2008, we ended up divorcing and got remarried in February of this year. I have been struggling with jealousy ever since we have gotten back together and I am driving my husband crazy and I might add that he is not a jealous person which in my mind makes it worse for me.

    We have gotten in many arguments over him talking to other females from work and just from people we meet in our every day lives. The part that makes me mad about myself is that my husband tells me everything and shows me everything that he writes and what happens at work.

    We have noticed a pattern with me that I am jealous of any and every female that he talks to, it doesnt matter if she is prettier or uglier than me. I always feel threatened and I am so sick of feeling this way. My husband tells me I am beautiful every day and even the women he talks to makes compliments like that about me.

    I just need help in over coming all of this jealousy!! I love my husband and don’t want to lose him!

  20. Linda

    Hello. I believe my jealousy is the creepiest monster here. Please help me.
    My parents were married for 14 years, when my mother got pregnant again (I was 13 when my brother was born). My father betrayed my mother. When she discovered she became very upset and my brother was born one day after. She became sick with a strong anemia. He fetched her down because him, my mother and this woman work at the same company) My mother hears bad comments everyday about him. My father is never sorry. They’re still together but even after 5 years my father still betrays my mother.
    I know, that’s their issue, but I feel very bad. I have a boyfriend, he looks like a reliable guy, but I can’t avoid getting jealousy for anything, I’m usually feeling threatened. I feel like I will never be able to be happy. Is there any hope or I’m going to grieve forever?

  21. sheila_mariel


    I stumbles on this website after feeling is low over my boyfriends successes. Let me start from the very beginning. My mom always wanted me to be a successful nurse abroad (as most mother’s dreams) but i failed, because for one thing, I don’t want to be nurse, I didn’t took the board exam, and got pregnant out of wedlock. Though I am a single mom, i had a great job in the BPO industry. But i decided I have to stop working to become a full time mom to my 3 year old son. Now I am working from home, earning 300 to 400$ a month. Though I am happy because I am with my kid, with my family, (don’t have to worry about rent, monthly bills) I am still not happy. and I hate feeling this way. My self worth is so low. Every time I wake up in the morning, I feel very bad. The contentment I had felt being with my kid and my family is now gone. I want more out of this life.

    After reading this content, I recognized now what i am feeling. And i need answers or guide on how to stop comparing myself to others.

    That’s why every time my boyfriend becomes successful in every situation he is in, or a friend becomes happy with something, I feel so bad. And I know this is not good. Why do I feel this way? Why am I like this? How can i stop this negative feelings from destroying my relationships and ultimately myself? please help.

  22. Samantha C.

    This was a great article and I did as you said and wrote. I have 2 pages down right now and I feel phenomenal about myself and not worrying about her. Thanks! I’ll keep doing this if the feeling comes back!

  23. Jayce

    I have several problems with jealousy with my boyfriend because he’s always worried about me hanging out with guys, even though it’s always in public, but I brought up that I was jealous one time and it’s because a really pretty girl said she wants to work with him and it bothers me because she’s so gorgeous, an he got upset when I brought it up, WHAT DO I DO?!

  24. tom

    Thanks this is really useful!!! But I was wondering how do I find out whether a girl likes me as a friend or otherwise, if I don’t compare our relationship?? And when I do compare our relationship this is when I become jealous… The stupid thing is I become jealous regardless of whether her relationship with someone else is close or not!! Maybe I dont think im good enough for her or something, I dunno… Well any advice will be apreciated!! :)

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