Using Jealousy To Transform Your Life

“To cure jealousy is to see it for what it is, a dissatisfaction with self” ~ Joan Didion

Everyone has been jealous at one time or another. As well-adjusted, well-mannered and well intentioned we may be, we have all felt the pangs of envy. Someone got the job, car, hot guy, hot girl or fabulous opportunity that we wanted. As much as we may fight the urge, we’re annoyed and irritated at their success. Questions like, “Why them”, “Why not me”, and some a little less tame fly around our hearts and heads.

We make inappropriate comments, become competitive and mean. We feel bad about it. We’ve been taught that jealousy is a bad thing. After all, the best among us tell us to be happy for others, celebrate their successes and take the high road.

And we can.  If we are willing to step back, look at our jealousy, learn from it and take constructive, not competitive action, jealousy can catapult us to the next level.

Jealousy, is, first and foremost an indication that we are not satisfied with the way things are.  It is not about “them” and what “they” have or did.  It’s about us.  By sitting down and asking the question “Why am I so envious?” we can learn a lot and develop a plan to get to where we want to be.  Looking at our own envy can teach us:

  • What we like or don’t like
  • What we don’t like about ourselves
  • What we’re unhappy about
  • What we want more of in our lives
  • What we would like to be, do or have
  • What we wish was different.

This gives us plenty to work with in terms of goal setting.  Instead of spending the time and energy seething over what the next person has or received, we can turn Jealousy around and use it as a springboard.  The next time we feel it creep up here’s a 4 step plan to build a blueprint for a new life.

  1. Build Your Jealousy Bucket List.  Ask, “Why am I jealous?” Is this situation or person showing me what I really want, or illuminating things I don’t like about myself?  List all the things that cause that sinking feeling. Reframe them as things you would like to have.  For instance “I’m so tired of _____ getting picked to work on all of the best projects” turns into the goal of “Awesome Project Management Skills” or something to that effect. Keep going until you have a good list of things to do be and have.
  2. Pick A Goal.  From your new Bucket List, pick a goal or two to work on. Picking a goal is a way to stay on track and set in motion a path to getting what you want to have.  Having a list of wants is good. Goals take thing from wants to things we are going to do and have.
  3. Develop An Action Plan and Deadline. Ask yourself”What do I need to do, have, be to achieve this goal”?  MindMap everything you need to do and set a deadline for when you want to have it.  Break down your “need to do” list into weekly activities and schedule them on your calendar.  If you need to, have someone hold you accountable, like a coach or mastermind group.  Before you know it, a dream life is not something to be jealous of; it is something that is realistically within your reach.
  4. Work On Your Self Esteem. While working on your new life, turn the motivation from “I’ll show everyone that so-and-so isn’t so special’, to “I feel great about me, I’m working every day on having life I dream of”.  Build an appreciation list.  Look at all of the great things you are and do.  Celebrate your victories and pay attention to the wins you have. Pretty soon, your focus will shift from idolizing or developing hostility towards others for living out loud and having what they want, to getting more of what you want and genuine appreciation for your gifts and ability to achieve.

By shifting our energy around jealousy and transforming it into a powerful tool for self-discovery and goal setting, we can step out of the sea of people envying others to being the object of envy.  But by that time, we probably will be so happy living it won’t matter.