Have you ever felt jealous of someone else?
Jealousy can be defined as a feeling of hostility toward someone perceived as a rival or toward someone who enjoys an “advantage.” You’ll also see the word envious attached to this definition, but I believe there are degrees of difference between the two terms.
Jealousy includes that feeling of hostility, while being envious of someone is more closely defined as a feeling of discontentment or resentment based on their possessions, qualities, or luck.
You can be jealous of the co-worker who received the promotion that you were both vying for and envious of the person driving the shiny new Mercedes SUV that you would like to own. The loss of a much-desired promotion would engender more hostility than the situation with the SUV for most people – it’s a degree of difference that shouldn’t be dismissed.
Both jealousy and envy are normal human emotions that can carry a lot of power if you let them. One way to conquer negative feelings and deal with them in a more productive manner is to utilize the positive habit of journaling.
Consider this scenario: A new person, Dale, has joined your social group and always seems to be so well put together. Dale wears the best clothes, looks to be in the best physical shape, and has a great job. You find yourself feeling a little annoyed or even irritated with Dale’s appearance and seeming appeal to others at these events.
In fact, lately, you don’t even want to attend the get-togethers in your neighborhood because you know Dale’s going to show up. Unfortunately, this person seems to be here to stay.
How can you overcome this jealousy you feel every time Dale’s in the room? The root of jealousy relating to your relationship or associations with Dale is rooted in the fact that you resent Dale’s accomplishments and wardrobe, their fit and strong appearance, and the job they have.
The addition of the element of annoyance or irritation with Dale for their accomplishments and physical condition categorizes the emotion as Jealousy. If you simply wanted a better wardrobe for yourself, wanted to be in better physical shape, and wanted to expand your circle of social contacts but didn’t feel annoyed or irritated at Dale, your reaction could be characterized as Envy – less intense and potentially a motivator.
Many people have been encouraged to better their circumstances by allowing Envy to push them forward – striving to achieve a better job, a more attractive wardrobe and a larger social circle are all things that would benefit you, and you wouldn’t have the feelings of annoyance or irritation toward another person.
The process of journaling – when performed consistently – can provide great insights and lead you to release the jealousy you feel.
These strategies will help you get the most from journaling about your jealousy:
- Start your journaling habit. After you get home from an event where Dale was present, get out your journal and write about how you felt while at the event. Be as descriptive as possible, including your thoughts, emotions, and reactions.
- Record everything you noticed about Dale’s appearance: facial features, clothing, eye and hair color, and how they interrelate to others. What do you think are Dale’s best features? Their worst? Write those down, too.
- Next, journal about your own appearance along the same lines as you did about Dale. Ponder your own best and worst aspects of your appearance, and be open to ways that you can improve your personal visual appeal.
- In your journal, note all the great characteristics Dale demonstrates. Be as thorough as possible. Include descriptive language like “outgoing,” “appears self-confident,” and “very helpful to others”
- Jot down all your positive characteristics as well. Some of them might even be the same as Dale’s but don’t limit yourself to just those you’ve already written down. Remember that you and Dale are different people with different strengths. You also possess characteristics that are unique to YOU and not found in others, including Dale.
- Open yourself up to the possibility that you have as much to offer as Dale. As you journal, recognize that even though Dale possesses qualities and characteristics you admire, you also have many positive qualities. The goal is not so much to compare yourself to Dale as it is to notice and celebrate your own pluses.
- In your journaling, take the time to explore what it is about Dale that makes you feel threatened or “less than.” If there’s something you believe Dale offers that you don’t, what is it? Journal about it. Is that characteristic something you can work toward accomplishing? Or is it impossible?
- For example, if Dale is in very good physical condition and looks quite fit, and you’re not in your best shape, do you want to put out the effort to work for it now? Because if you do, it’s entirely possible that you can improve your physique.
- On the other hand, if Dale is tall, say 5’10″ and you’re 5’6″, this is one characteristic about yourself you must accept.
Once you’re able to identify and appreciate your own positive qualities, you’ll discover that there are no concrete reasons to see Dale as threatening or “better” than you.
The goal of journaling is to empower you to resolve challenging issues you’re experiencing. As you engage in the process and achieve a deeper level of self-knowledge and self-acceptance, you’ll notice yourself feeling more comfortable with Dale and Dale’s assets. You’ll most likely realize that everyone has their good points and also possesses characteristics that could be improved upon.
Recognize jealousy as a common, perfectly human feeling. Everyone feels jealous at some point. However, you do have the power to resolve your jealousy.
Here’s an action step for you: Develop an individualized plan for how you’ll overcome the jealousy you feel.
- You could include statements like, “Make it a point to sit beside Dale during dinner to find out more about them” or “Ask Dale where they get their clothes.”
- Notice the good qualities about yourself that enhance your self-esteem – list 5 – 10 things (personal or work-related) that you’re good at, and remind yourself of your accomplishments.
- Decide to celebrate what YOU are good at and not worry about others as much. Focus on what makes YOU unique and different. Use your journal to document your successes and victories in detail, and include your emotions and feelings to help reinforce the entries and embed them into your psyche.
Allow yourself to let go of your jealous feelings. Now that you’ve completed the journaling process, you’ll be ready to release those uncomfortable emotions and put them behind you.
Although feeling jealous is normal, it can be quite overwhelming to experience such feelings over a period of time. Overcome your jealousy by using journaling. You’ll gain insight into your jealous feelings and figure out how to leave those challenging emotions behind you.