How to Overcome Jealousy

by Henrik Edberg

How to Overcome Jealousy
Image by foxypar4.

I’m not much of a jealous guy. I feel jealousy sometimes but it often passes pretty quickly and without the almost burning intensity some people seem to experience.

Still, I have of course thought about this problem and found a few ways to overcome it when it arises within. Hopefully this article can help you to decrease this destructive feeling in your life.

Stop comparing yourself to others.

Comparing what you have to what others have is a good way to make yourself miserable. It feeds your ego when you buy a nicer car or get a better job than someone else. You feel great for a while.

But this mindset and the focus on comparing always winds up in you noticing someone that has more than you. That someone has an even better job or car than you. And so you don’t feel so good anymore.

The thing is that there is always someone with better or more than you. So you can never “win”. You just feel good for a while and then you don’t.

A more useful way to compare is to just compare yourself to yourself. Look at how you have grown and what you have achieved. Appreciate what you have done and what you have, how far you have come and what you are planning to do. This will make you make you more positive and emotionally stable since you are no longer comparing and feeling jealous of what the other guy has that you haven’t.

Develop an abundance mentality.

Jealousy often seems to come from a perceived scarcity in some area of your life. Maybe you feel jealous because someone else got the job you wanted. Or because someone else got the opportunity that you had hoped for. Perhaps you are feeling jealous because you are afraid of losing something and feel that if you do then you have hit rock bottom.

Comparing yourself to others seems to be a symptom of this belief of scarcity. And you feel jealous because someone else has gotten one of those scarce things or opportunities that you wanted.

Focusing your mind on the scarcity can really screw with your thoughts, feelings and life. It can cause much stronger negative emotions than is really reasonable. And it gets you really stuck in the jealousy, intensifying it, making it stronger and more long-lasting by feeding it with more thoughts and emotional energy.

To get out of this confining and destructive mentality you can develop an abundance mentality. An abundance mentality tells you that there are always new chances and opportunities.

That there are always new business opportunities to find, new tests in school to take and new people to date/make friends with. This relieves much of the pressure you may feel if you have a scarcity mentality that makes you think that you only got this shot right now. Or makes you feel like an utter failure just because you just stumbled and things didn’t work out.

An abundance mentality allows you to feel more of an inner emotional freedom and it makes you more relaxed and positive. I believe that developing an abundance mentality is the most important step in reducing or overcoming jealousy because when you feel that there is always an abundance then there is little to feel jealous about. And whenever you feel jealousy starting to creep in you can stop or drastically reduce its power over you by switching your focus from the scarcity to the abundance in the world.

You can find more practical tips about this topic in How to Create an Abundance Mentality.

Surrender. And develop a habit of not identifying so much with your thoughts and emotions.

Although just switching my focus to the abundance usually seems to work to overcome jealousy I thought I’d share another way to has also been helpful. This method is useful if you have been carrying the negative emotion for a while and don’t seem to be able to get rid of it.

And it’s basically this: stop fighting your jealousy. Surrender to it instead and just accept it. This may sound counter-intuitive. But the thing is that you are feeding the emotional loop with more energy by resisting the emotion.

When you surrender to the emotion and let it in then you stop feeding it. And it goes away. Here’s one practical way of doing this:

Say yes to the feeling.

Surrender and let it in. Observe the feeling in your mind and body without labelling or judging it. If you let it in – for me the feeling then often seems to physically locate itself to the middle of my chest – and just observe it for maybe a minute or two the feeling just vanishes.

I would also recommend to not identify so much with your thoughts and emotions. This basically means that you realize, learn and remember that you are not your thoughts or emotions.

You are the one observing them. They are just things passing through you.

If you learn to identify less with your thoughts and emotions then you don’t have to do the exercise above so often. You just accept your thoughts and feelings in a more automatic way and let them pass without getting all wrapped up in them.

Think about what’s in it for you.

I don’t know if this pretty analytical method works for a lot of people. But I have found it to be helpful in many cases when I have negative thoughts or when I’m behaving in a less than useful way.

Basically, I ask myself: What’s in it for me? And each time I fall back into that negative headspace and behaviour I remind myself of this question and the answer.

This reinforces to me the pointlessness of what I’m thinking. And often I just think to myself: “Oh, I’m being stupid again. Time to focus on something useful/fun/positive instead”.

Asking yourself what is in it for you is a good way to find distance from your thoughts and behaviour and to motivate yourself to just drop the less useful stuff whenever you can.

Think about what your jealousy is telling you.

This is an interesting and useful way to look at jealousy.

As I wrote a few days ago – in Epictetus’ Top 7 Timeless Pearls of Wisdom – what you think and feel about the world can often tell you quite a bit about yourself.

So thinking about what your jealousy tells you about yourself can help you to learn more about yourself, what you fear and how you may be fooling yourself. Think about what is reflected when you feel jealous of someone else.

Is a fear of rejection? Of not being good enough?

Or a fear that you will lose something/someone/some part of yourself you feel very attached to? If so, why are you feeling so attached?

Try to find a solution or help – from books, people, the internet etc. – for whatever fear or belief within you that you think is making you feel the jealousy. Ask yourself: what can the jealousy reveal to me? How can I grow from this insight?

What are your best tips for overcoming jealousy?

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{ 29 comments }

Jennifer February 28, 2008 at 11:57 pm

Great tips!

When I feel jealousy creep up, I first of all recognize it when it first creeps up. Once I recognize it, I write it down. I then decide to put it “up on the shelf” until a time when I am rested and fresh and my anger has subsided and I am able to think clearly.

I then preoccupy my mind with something else like a hobby or thinking about all my blessings and the good things in my life.

When I come back to it at my appointed time with no distractions around I evaluate my humility level and see if a positive attitude is in place. If both are i check I then listen to myself and replace my thinking errors of blaming (others and events for my unhappiness), and “poor pitiful me” with accurate thinking.

Replacing the “I deserve” attitude with “Look at all the blessings I have that I don’t deserve.” seems to go a long way.

OldSailor February 29, 2008 at 7:26 am

Here are some more
1.Be happy with what you have.
2.You always receive what you deserve.
3.Never forget that you came to this world with empty hands and also will leave this world with empty hands.Nothing is yours.
Though these may sound philosophical, it helps to live happily by overcoming jealousy.

Tahir November 2, 2009 at 11:20 am

Very true

Dave February 29, 2008 at 9:22 am

Of course, you’re mixing envy and jealousy. :)

Some of your tips apply to overcoming both, but some work only toward overcoming envy.

The difference between envy and jealousy has sparked many a debate between my friends and I. Try searching for the difference, there are several good etymologies of the words, and comparisons between them.

JEMi February 29, 2008 at 5:12 pm

“So thinking about what your jealousy tells you about yourself can help you to learn more about yourself, what you fear and how you may be fooling yourself. Think about what is reflected when you feel jealous of someone else.”

I love this tip. I find that finding the source/reason for certain feelings almost always helps me work through them.

I wouldnt say I’m a jealous person. Hmmm.. take that with a grain of salt. There are certain instances (relationships – shhh) where it can happen with the right elements

Your other tip about accepting the emotion is important. I find that identifying with that feeling as though it says something about me as a person only adds to negative feelings bc now, I’m think – Man, I suck AND it doesn’t help me work through it.

great post :)

GlamSpiritKristen February 29, 2008 at 9:40 pm

well thought out, and well said. i hadn’t broken down my thoughts about dealing with feelings of jealousy, but this is a great topic. i agree that one of the best ways to handle jealousy is to focus on an abundance mentality; thanks for sharing.

also, i love the seagull photo – it’s perfect!

Mary Jaksch I GoodlifeZen March 1, 2008 at 7:25 am

This is an interesting post.

I think it’s important to make a clear distinction between jealousy and envy. Envy is triggered when we compare ourselves to others.

I don’t think that applies to jealousy. We become jealous when we want to possess those we love.

In my experiences as a psychotherapist and Zen master it’s really important to honour our experience of jealousy, without trying to push it away or deny that we’re feeling jealous.

The other important strategy is to let go of the stories that jealous mind produces.

SaiF March 1, 2008 at 7:51 pm

Hey there!

First time commenting here, so HELLO to EVERYONE!!!

You’ve got some great tips here, my friend! I’d like to add 3 things that I think might help overcome jealousy.

1) I believe the problem with jealousy comes from an issue with your self-worth. That you perceive your worth comes from what others think of you or being the best in something to be perceived by others as someone of high worth which leads me to…

2) Our society seems to work by the laws of Economics all the time i.e. scarcity. We have to remember that we live in a Universe of ABUNDANCE and that we don’t have to be jealous of what someone has. We’ll have our turn. I always say to myself, “Amateurs compete, professionals CREATE” whenever I get jealous. Try it – maybe it mught work for you.

3) You can always try to clean the feeling by using Ho’oponopono or the Sedona Method which have worked VERY WELL for me. I’ve written quite extensively on the Ho’oponopono Cleaning Technique if you want to know more about this magical process I use almost on a daily basis.

Anyone want to add anything else to the list?

To CANI,

SaiF

The World’s First Teen
Personal Development Video Blogger

Dan March 2, 2008 at 5:05 pm

Fantastic post. I used to be very jealous and controlling, it really ruled my life. Eventually I went to a counsellor and started on a journey of discovery that lead to me joining al-anon. It was the best decision of my life and I never look back!

Rob Moshe March 3, 2008 at 9:33 pm

Who is wealthy? He who is happy with his lot. -Ethics of the Fathers

When we spend less time focusing on what others have and spend more time appreciating what we have, and realizing that our lot is best suited for us negative jealousy disappears. I say negative because there is a positive jealousy. When you are jealous of something someone has, and instead of begrudging them and being negative towards them, you are happy for them, and at the same time work towards acquiring that thing for yourself through your own efforts, this is a positive form of jealousy.

Mike March 7, 2008 at 2:57 pm

Great tips Bro.

Tho I think jealousy can sometime be healthy if its small dose amount.

cara July 23, 2010 at 4:55 pm

i agree with u mike,,im jealous bc i feel inlove with my partner,,but in small dose as u said.so its healthy..if i wont get jealous im not inlove..

Heidi April 15, 2008 at 6:50 am

Hmmmm. I’m still having envy issues in one section of my life, but I hope these tips can help me. I just wish there was an instant solution, one that wasn’t quite so intangible and zen-like. I have a very hard time controlling my emotions, so I don’t know how much help that will be.

I just want the pain to go away!

Nicholas July 13, 2008 at 8:33 am

thanks for the tips. i aprreciate it. (:

B B July 25, 2008 at 8:01 pm

overcoming jealousy

zou March 3, 2009 at 3:00 pm

Great Blog!:)

morty April 8, 2009 at 5:17 pm

Just what I was looking for, I thought I overcame jealousy/envy when really I was just avoiding it.. I hope these tips help me get through it

J June 4, 2009 at 5:20 pm

I have been dealing with jealousy for the past year. It has affected my marriage. I know I am the problem and this article has helped me accept my jealousy in which I dont feed the negative thoughts.

Thanks!

Birdie June 24, 2009 at 1:05 am

Great article. But what do you do when your spouse has been unfaithful in the past? I try to focus on other things but it keeps creeping back as a costant reminder. To make matters worse he travels a lot. Nothing has happened in the last year ( that I know of) and I want to trust him. Everyone deserves a second chance, right? It seems to take over my life and I know it is poison for my marriage. Help!

Rudi August 31, 2009 at 10:21 pm

Obviously this bothers you. Why don’t you cheat sometime too. It may not feel like the ‘right’ thing to do but then you’ll be even. And make sure you got ‘seducted’ being drunk or something, like you couldn’t help it and also apologize. He’s GOT to forgive you because you did too.

sufferer July 5, 2009 at 3:55 pm

super advice…

really helped me

thanx

Hot Alpha Female July 13, 2009 at 3:23 pm

I’m so grateful that I stumbled across this blog!! Its fantastic and I think that you offer some real gems esp when it comes to jealousy.

I definitely love the part about the “reason” why you are jealous in the first place.

It comes hugely into play with dating and relationships – where women or men can become so jealous of one another, because they are so attached.

Thanks for sharing!

Hot Alpha Female
The Only Woman You Should Take Dating Advice From
http://www.hotalphafemale.blogspot.com

kayode August 22, 2009 at 8:34 pm

God bless u for this article.u have solve my problem.now i realised that he who know where is coming from,where he is and where is going will go away with jelousy.thanks

Tahir November 2, 2009 at 11:24 am

Graet tips, thks

Aryan January 4, 2010 at 11:37 am

Jealousy is that fire that burns everything within and around you. It burns down relationships, trusts, friendship, self-esteem and a lot more. I once had a problem. I was in a close (not romantic though) relationship with a girl. That time my roommate had gone abroad. When he came back, I introduced him to her. A month later, people started commenting on my relationship with that girl, so we had to stay detached. Due to this she stopped going out with me and got closer to my roommate. This made me jealous as on one hand I strived to get back what I want and on the other I wanter her to stop getting too close to my roommate. I became pathetic. But later when I talked to her she told me that she and my roommates are just friends and she still has that special feeling for me and asked me to be patient. This was when I was about to destroy her completely out of jealousy. But after I talked to her and pondered over it I realized what a loser i was becoming. Thsi realization along with the realization of being jealous helped me lot. Its like when you acknowledge the pain and when you give it due respect, and then ask it to leave you, it will. THis is what I wanted to share with all of you here. Respect your most negative emotions and then they will respect you. After that, ask them to leave you in peace so that you can become a better person than what you were before!

joy April 4, 2010 at 6:23 pm

wow! it really helped me a lot! god bless!

SK2darezQ! April 21, 2010 at 2:14 pm

I’m so jealous right now. Or maybe I’m not. Whenever I think, “Oh, I’m so jealous”, I begin to feel jealous. It’s like I’m making myself feel that way. I realize I have to accept what I’m feeling, but sometimes the shortcut helps, i.e, lying to myself saying I’m soo not jealous! Haha. Thanks though, nice tips :)

hermes handbags July 8, 2010 at 5:05 am

I’m so jealous right now. Or maybe I’m not. Whenever I think, “Oh, I’m so jealous”, I begin to feel jealous. It’s like I’m making myself feel that way. I realize I have to accept what I’m feeling, but sometimes the shortcut helps, i.e, lying to myself saying I’m soo not jealous! Haha. Thanks though, nice tips

Kishan August 10, 2010 at 2:57 pm

Thanks for this article.
Im not a person who gets jealous on others, often I laugh at people who are jealous. today I found myself jealous on some people and this article helped me in overcoming it.
Very well written

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