Dealing with Jealousy (and how to benefit from the green monster)
Part 1 to the 6-Part Series: Beauty from the Inside Out
Featuring Becky Lauren and Leslie Friedman
Beauty from the Inside Out is a 6-part series exploring the struggle women have every day, from looking nice and staying healthy to taking jobs and choosing friends, because we want to or because society expects it from us. Each week we’ll discuss a new topic, culminating in how we can break the mold as strong, confident, beautiful women.
Dealing with Jealousy
(and learning to benefit from the green monster)
Jealousy doesn’t always get the best rap.
Think about it. If you were describing your best attributes during a job interview, you probably wouldn’t throw out, “Oh, and one of my all time greatest character traits is my jealous nature”.
No, of course not. But jealousy isn’t all bad, and it can actually help you decide where priorities and values lie. For that reason, it’s the perfect place to start this 6 part series.
Jealousy is really like alcohol in a lot of ways. It can lead you to hurt yourself, or to help yourself. The choice is yours. We’ll talk about how it’s hurtful, first, because that’s the aspect we’re most familiar with.
We’ve all watched our girlfriend get drunk and start saying something stupid or pouring out her inner most feelings. It’s a painful thing to watch, especially if you’re sober. It’s obvious that she is saying something hurtful or acting stupid, but she totally doesn’t see it. It’s similar with jealousy. As women we’ve somehow been ingrained to minimize what we are jealous of. Just like the drunk girl spilling her guts, you can spot the jealous girl a mile away. “Oh well she has an easy job and can work out whenever she wants” or “she’s just showing off because she’s trying to get a man”.
Has another woman ever made a snide comment to you about your hair, weight, or appearance in general? It’s hurtful and probably the result of jealousy. You have something they don’t, and in order to satiate the jealousy they bring you down.
“Calling somebody else fat won’t make you any skinnier. Calling someone stupid doesn’t make you any smarter. And ruining Regina George’s life definitely didn’t make me any happier. All you can do in life is try to solve the problem in front of you.” – Mean Girls
Women deal with jealousy in two main ways: motivation or negativity. Some will see their co-workers new car and think ‘that car is awesome, I need to work harder to get one’ while others will say ‘I’ll never be able to afford a car like that’. Which one are you? When other people have something you want does it motivate you to work towards it? Or retreat and hide from it? If you’re the latter then it’s time to change your approach! It’s time to start using jealousy in your favor!
A lot of introverts or people with social anxiety like to drink when they’re at social functions. The ‘liquid courage’ makes them feel less stressed about talking with others.
These people understand how alcohol affects them (and knows exactly where their limit is) and how they can use it to make themselves better at a specific task.
You can take the same jealous (that can be equally bad if not controlled) and use it to your advantage. No matter how jealousy affects you, in three easy steps you can start putting it to use for your personal benefit.
Step 1: Identify what triggers jealousy for you. Whenever you have a jealous thought (I want.., I wish…, She has the best…,) stop and think about what they have that you want. You don’t even have to do anything about it at this point, just write it down or remember mentally. Eventually, you will see a pattern. Maybe, it’s other women’s bodies that you are jealous of. Maybe, it’s their clothes, cars, homes, or how they seem to raise their kids. Whatever it is, find your main triggers. Remember to separate the person of jealousy from the attribute you are jealous of. You aren’t jealous of Staci, you’re jealous of her jet-set lifestyle.
Step 2: With each trigger, really ask yourself- is this something I actually want? It sounds stupid, but you’d be surprised. I used to envy every single post someone I follow put on Instagram. “She has the life! It’s so wonderful!” However, one day I really thought about if I would want that life and the answer surprised me- it was no. She travels constantly and is never at home with her family. She has a stressful job and works for months at a time without breaks. It may have looked great (and I hope it’s really great for her!) but it wasn’t what I wanted. I only really liked the idea of it.
Step 3: Once you find out the triggers that point to something you actually want, set some goals and use the things you want as an incentive to do better and be better. Remember- don’t compare yourself to the person you envy. They are at a different place in their life as you. Instead focus on the aspect of their person/life that you like, whether that’s their relaxed attitude or dedication to working out.
It’s most important to keep your priorities straight. Just like one too many drinks takes you from comfortable and cool to sloppy drunk, the wrong motivations behind jealousy will just make things worse. You need to turn your jealousy into motivation to be better. If you’re jealous of how good of shape your frenemy is in, don’t COMPETE with her, set a new workout and nutrition schedule for yourself and start working out so you look at your own body and say “damn, I look great!”. That mentality turns into putting others down instead of building everyone up together
What do you think? Tell us about a time when jealousy has helped or hurt you. What struggles do you have finding that line between healthy and harmful amounts of jealousy? Comment below!
Leslie & Becky
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