Let’s face it, we’ve probably all felt jealous or envious at some stage.
At some point we have all looked at someone else’s life and thought I’ll have what she’s/he’s having thanks.
Most of us have experienced jealousy. The question is – how do you use jealousy to your advantage?
How do we turn envy on its head and make it helpful instead of harmful?
Just to be crystal clear, in this context I’m using jealousy in the ‘I want what she’s having’ way, not in the ‘I’ll flirt with everyone in the room to make my boyfriend/girlfriend jealous” kind of way. Heads up if you are using jealousy as per the second option, I would stop now – that never usually ends well…
Here are my thoughts on how to use jealousy to your advantage.
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Work out if your thoughts are worth acting on
Sometimes jealousy/envy can be a bit irrational so before you go acting on your thoughts work our where they are coming from first.
If you genuinely want to grow, make improvements and progress in your life great, you are probably on the right track.
If you have a fleeting feeling of jealousy towards your brother or sister because your parents are paying them too much attention than we are probably not talking about the same thing. (If you are struggling with being compared to a sibling, I recommend you read this post – 14 Ways to Deal with Being Compared to Someone Else)
If by chance you are jealous of one of your friends because they are prettier or more attractive than you I suggest you read my Know Your Own Beauty series. Here’s Know Your Own Beauty – Part One, Two and Three. No judgment by the way, I’ve been there and done that myself (though thankfully I’ve become comfortable in my own skin.)
Drop any resentment
If you are feeling envious, your envy may come along with either a small or large dose of resentment. Or it could represent a big old dose of discontent!
Either way, if you want to use jealousy/envy to your advantage you need to make the decision to ditch that resentment right now.
Honestly it’s just extra weight that you need to carry while you are trying to improve your life. You can do without that.
Make the decision to put that behind you and move forward.
Your jealousy could be heightened by getting stuck in the self-doubt loop from hell. If that’s the case, I highly recommend taking the online course – How to Break the Habit of Self-Doubt and Build Real Confidence. This course is run by Mel Robbins over at CreativeLive. I have completed this course myself and found it very beneficial. It really helped me and I know it could help you are well. You can read my review of the course here.
Figure out what you want
This is the bit where you figure out what you want. You need to be specific.
Don’t just look at someone and go “I want a figure like hers’ or “I want his career’. That’s not helpful.
When it all comes down to it, this is about setting a goal. Make it a SMART goal (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-related.)
Think more – I want to lose 20 pounds to fit into my favorite pair of jeans by 3 April instead of I want her figure.
(If your first thought was – hang on a minute, I simply had a jealous thought about wanting someone else’s career but didn’t realize there would be action steps and deadlines involved – you probably don’t want it as much as you think you do!)
Work out what steps you need to take
This is HOW you are going to get what you want. This is your plan of attack.
Don’t worry if you don’t know the how straight away, that’s okay. You might need to do some research on what’s involved.
Work out how you are doing to make your new goal happen.
Make sure it’s something you really want
Are you jealous because someone else has children or are you experiencing social pressure? Yes, you read that correctly. You might be married and be getting a lot of pressure from parents and grandparents to have children. You on the other hand might want a trip to Europe before you even start thinking about kids.
Sometimes we covet something someone else has because we think we are supposed to want it! Marriage and children are perfect examples because it’s something we believe we should want.
It’s not just social pressure, sometimes we need to work out what compromises and sacrifices we are willing to make.
Let’s look at a career example. You might be a senior executive jealous of the person in the CEO spot (or a middle manager coveting a senior position). Wanting a promotion is admirable but what if the CEO position involves a minimum 60-hour week and working on weekends and you have kids at home of school age? Getting that top spot will mean time away from your family.
You need to make sure that jealousy (or ego for that matter) isn’t driving your decisions.
Make sure any sacrifices/compromises you will need to make are worth it!
Now it’s time to learn as much as you can.
Depending on your situation, you may even be in a position to learn from the person that you were originally jealous of. Who knows that person may actually turn into a brilliant mentor!
This isn’t about copying someone (more on that below) but about learning how they reached their current level of success.
This is about learning what actions, skills, and behaviors you need to take on board.
Thankfully there is an amazing range of online courses you can take from the comfort of your own home, at your own pace.
CreativeLive offers courses on business, personal development, and all things creative.
This step is vital.
It’s incredibly important that you be yourself and don’t try to be someone else or try to exactly copy someone else’s success.
Firstly from a business point of view coping can get you into all sorts of legal and ethical trouble. It’s not cool
to copy or even worse steal someone else’s work.
Of course, the other issue with copying is that there is no guarantee that you will be successful in doing the exact same thing as the other person. There are simply too many factors in the equation. What works for one person might not work for another.
Of course, a lot of things have basic stepping-stones so learn those and then adapt what works for you.
Find your own style. Embrace your own voice.
Do the work
Yes folks this is where the rubber hits the road so to speak.
Whether you are building an online business, getting promoted in your career, traveling the world, or trying to meet a life partner you need to do the work.
Learning how to do something is NOT the same as actually doing it.
Work in this context means whatever it takes to achieve what you want.
It might mean going on 30 dates to meet your soul mate. It might mean saving for a year to travel overseas. It might mean working 10-hour days in your new job to move up the career ladder.
And no you might not get the same results as the person you have been envying. Just because your friend meant their soul mate at a party, doesn’t mean that’s going to happen to you.
In a nutshell, don’t expect your journey to look like someone else’s. Hey, I figure as long as you get to where you want to go, that’s all that matters and you’ll have a hell of an interesting story to tell at parties!
Related post – It’s Not What You Know – It’s What You Do
Deal with setbacks
You are going to have to face setbacks along the way.
Just for the record, the person that you were originally jealous of had to face challenges as well. Granted they might have made it look effortless but there would have been setbacks and challenges to overcome.
Everyone has them.
Though we can’t always anticipate or see our challenges coming having healthy ways to deal with stress, overwhelm, lack of sleep and frustration will definitely help.
Related post – How to Maintain Your Self-Confidence During Times of Adversity
Forget about what everyone else is doing
Celebrate your wins (even the small ones). Acknowledge when you do well. Forge forward.
Have as much fun along the way as possible! Definitely don’t forget about this bit, sometimes we can be so driven we forget that we are supposed to be enjoying ourselves and having fun along the way!
Most importantly forget about what everyone else is doing and get laser-focused on what you are doing. Ultimately, you will be so happy/productive/fulfilled that you won’t bother being jealous of other people.
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