The Green-Eyed Monster

I am not a very jealous person, I never really have been. I’m also not a very competitive person, which is why I would have never survived as a professional dancer. My sister and I, though similar in age and appearance, grew up liking completely different things. I was into dance, she was into basketball and track. She used to only wear her hair straight, whereas I also had mine curly. We even have very different taste in boys and have never once fought over something in regards to this (though believe me, boys have tried to stir the pot). So I never really grew up having the need to be jealous of anything. I worked hard for the things I got in life, the positions I got put in for dancing and the opportunities I got from cheerleading.

Not until recently, have I truly tasted the bitterness of jealousy and the flood of guilt that it has also brought me. This feeling has taken a hold of me for much longer than I would like. I don’t like to admit to something like this, because jealousy is often looked at as a weakness and that’s exactly how I have been viewing it. Weakness and a lack of self-confidence.

So I have taken to the sometimes trustworthy internet, to see what I could find on this topic.

The first thing I read was this:

“Jealousy is typically considered a negative emotion, but it can be a compelling motivator for self-growth, and reinforce the connections that matter most to you.

Jennifer Freed, Ph.D.

I have been so focused on feeling guilty about being jealous, I have completely turned my eyes from trying to look at this from a different, more positive view. Instead of working on myself or my relationships, I have tried to distance myself, in hope, of also distancing myself from this emotion.

I would never say jealousy is on the good end of emotions because I think people end up doing and thinking more negative things when they feel this way, but I definitely think instead of feeling bad about this feeling, we can use it as a tool to step back, reflect and work on ourselves.

Here are some ways we can use jealousy in a positive way:

  1. It allows you to see the different attachments you have to people and brings to light what you cherish in that relationship and how you may be taking it for granted.
  2. If you allow it, it can be a great tool for self-reflection. For example: Why am I feeling like this and how can I improve myself to help me let go of this feeling? Jealousy often stems from an inner insecurity or insufficient sense of self-worth.
  3. Jealousy can help filter out overly competitive and toxic relationships.
  4. Acknowledge these feelings. Often when we choose to ignore them, we are shutting the door on self-reflection and self-growth. A friends success is great motivation to build our own success.
  5. Use this emotion to focus and concentrate on all the positive things you have in your life.
  6. Quite often (not always) the things we get jealous over are materialistic. Remind yourself that these are just ‘things’. These things aren’t what’s most important in the long run. It’s the relationships and memories we make, that are the most important.
  7. Concentrate on your happiness. Often people tend to be more jealous when they aren’t happy with themselves. Make a list of all the positive things you have going on in your life, surround yourself with people that you pick you up and do the things you love to do.
  • Ask yourself what you are feeling and if you want to feel this way.
  • If you do not want to feel this way, take some deep breaths and focus on the emotion you want to feel instead.
  • Make the choice to feel the way that you want to feel.
  • For example, if you want to feel happiness, focus on being happy, identify what makes you happy, and maintain a positive mental attitude.

Lindsay Oliver 

Owning your jealousy is the first step and will be the most difficult one, but once you do it, you can move on from there and grow from that feeling. In the past, I’ve gotten caught up in the idea that jealousy is bad and I am a bad person for feeling it. This is not true. Everyone feels jealous over something. Instead of feeling bad about it, we can instead use it as a tool for growth.

-A

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