Last night I had a nasty bout of jealousy, and today I learned that hundreds of people search for “how to not be jealous” every day. Phew – I’m not alone! These tips on how to stop being jealous are inspired by The Parable of the Green Eyed Monster.
You won’t overcome jealousy simply by reading this blog post. It takes time and energy to build your feelings of self-worth, which is why I recommend The Confident Woman Devotional: 365 Daily Inspirations by Joyce Meyer. It’s a powerful daily devotional – only 10 or 15 minutes a day – that will help you build a healthy, strong foundation of security and peace. That’s the only way to stop being jealous: take time to figure out who you are, how amazing you are, and what your purpose is.
Jealousy can rear its ugly head at work – especially if you’re an artist or creative type. Your income depends on being imaginative and clever, right? If other artists or entrepreneurs are more creative or smart, then you’ll be wondering how not to be jealous so you can keep working. If you’re a writerly type like me, read 7 Tips for Writers Jealous of Other Writers.
Here’s a “parable” to illustrate why I’m suddenly interested in how to stop being jealous. It’s not a traditional parable, like the Parable of the Acre of Diamonds, which I shared on my article How to Survive Turning 40. Rather this is my experience of being jealous of a woman who is prettier, younger, more successful, healthier, nicer, and with a much more interesting future ahead of her than I could ever imagine. See why I’m writing about how to not be jealous?
The Parable of the Green Eyed Monster
I work at a safe house for women experiencing domestic violence. I’m one of the relief staff – I get called in when a regular staff member is sick or on vacation. Last night I worked with another relief staff. Let’s call her Jewel, because she is an amazing woman! She’s one of the few people I’ve met who literally has it all: beauty, brains, courage, motivation, enthusiasm, skills, emotional and physical health….no wonder I’m filled with jealousy!
But I wasn’t aware how jealous I was or how my feelings of jealousy would manifest themselves (“manifest” is a social work-term for “show up”). All I knew was that I couldn’t stop eating. I had dinner with the families in the transition house, and then I had dessert. Then more dinner. Then another helping of dessert. Then a hot chocolate, with marshmallows and muffins on the side. Then more dinner dessert dinner dessert until I felt like I was going to explode.
Once upon a time, I struggled with a serious eating disorder. I’ve managed to overcome it – what helped me was working in a recovery program for men struggling with addictions. But last night I could feel the bulimia’s ugly head rearing. I never felt like eating compulsively at work before, and I couldn’t figure out why I was so anxious and unhappy.
It wasn’t until I was driving home after work last night that I realized how jealous I was of Jewel. I didn’t know it was jealousy – and insecurity – in the moment that was driving my compulsion to eat. Later I realized that my insecurities are at the root of my eating disorder. And, to deal with my insecurities I need to learn how to stop being jealous.
Ok, so that “Parable of the Green Eyed Monster” isn’t exactly a parable per se. Unfortunately, I don’t have time to be creative and imaginative, and write it up into a lovely fairy tale. But there is a bottom line, as there is with all parables. In this case the bottom line is that I need to explore how not to be jealous so I can be happy and healthy.
4 Ways to Not Be Jealous
You’re here because there’s something about jealousy that you need to learn. I hope my tips on how to stop being jealous help you overcome your insecurities. For that’s what jealousy is: insecurity. And fear of not being good enough.
Know what jealousy is and how your jealous feelings show up
I didn’t realize until this morning that Jewel made me feel insecure and anxious. I just thought I was hungry for more food. To me, jealousy is insecurity and fear that I’m not pretty, smart, or good enough to be loved. Jewel didn’t do anything in particular to make me feel jealous – and that makes me even more jealous of her! She is so nice, helpful, friendly, and supportive. I wish she was a mean girl because then I wouldn’t have so many feelings of jealousy, and I wouldn’t have to figure out how to stop being jealous.
How do you experience jealousy? There are many ways jealous feelings show up, and it’s different for different people. Do you withdraw into an addiction like me, or do you become a mean girl? If you suspect you do, read 5 Signs You’re a Toxic Friend. Figure out how not to be jealous so you can enjoy your life and your friendships. Overcoming jealousy is about knowing yourself, and reflecting on where your feelings are coming from.
Learn how social comparisons make you unhappy and more jealous
In The Myths of Happiness: What Should Make You Happy, but Doesn’t, What Shouldn’t Make You Happy, but Does, Sonja Lyubomirsky says that the habit of social comparison starts early in life. “In childhood, we were often compared with the good manners of our siblings, the talents of our classmates, and even with the A’s and trophies that our parents earned as children,” she writes. “Consequently, we have been conditioned to want to learn how we stand relative to others, and preferably learn that we are better off.” (italics mine).
We make social comparisons ALL the time. And that makes us feel inferior, less valuable, not good enough, and jealous ALL the time. So how do you stop being jealous? Learn more about the psychology of social comparisons. It’s fascinating.
Set your own standards of personal self-worth
If you want to know how not to be jealous, you need to figure out what makes you a valuable, lovable, amazing person. And you need to remember that another woman’s beauty, success, intellect, and achievements do not detract from your own attributes. I’m the same Laurie I was before I met Jewel, even though I felt like less of everything. Her amazing attributes don’t change who I am, do they? Unless, of course, I let my insecurities and fears destroy my sense of peace and joy. You’re who you are, regardless of who the other woman is.
If you’re unhappy with who you are, then overcoming jealousy may not be your priority. Maybe you need to make some changes in your life.
Get spiritually healthy
That last tip on how to stop being jealous – setting your standards of personal self-worth and remembering that your attributes don’t change no matter how successful others are – is a psychological strategy. Better is a spiritual way of life. If you get your feelings of self-worth, lovability, hope, peace, faith, joy, security, and confidence from God, then you’ll never feel unloved or unwanted or not good enough. If you haven’t met Jesus, then you don’t know how amazing and loved you are.
I could list more tips on how not to be jealous (that’s such an awkward way of putting it, isn’t it? But as I said, “how not to be jealous” is what people search the internet for, and I want lots of people to read this article!). Anyway – I could keep writing about overcoming jealousy, but I have to take a nap.
Your thoughts on how to stop being jealous and/or The Parable of the Green Eyed Monster are welcome in the comments section below. I can’t offer advice or counseling, but it may help you to share your experience.
If your jealous feelings are resulting from your relationship – and your partner’s ex-girlfriend – read How to Cope With Jealousy When Your Boyfriend Sees His Ex. That may help with overcoming relationship jealousy.
May your feelings of self-worth, hope, peace, joy, courage, and strength come from a source that never changes, ages, or even blinks. May you connect with God and realize how unique and amazing you are, regardless of who you meet or how pretty or smart she is. Amen.