Updated: Mar 31, 2020
We’ve all been there. At some point of our life or the other, we’ve all had to deal with varying degrees of jealousy. In the unlikely event that you meet someone who claims that they’ve never really experienced this feeling, it’s only so because of one of these two things - either they’re not being completely honest, or they’re choosing to not fully accept their feelings.
As a school kid, I remember not feeling too great if someone else in the class scored more than I did. I even came home one day and threw a tantrum because a fellow dance teammate of mine got the lead over me in the school’s annual dance showcase. These feelings became more and more intense as I grew up because the stakes just got much higher with time.
On the flip side of this, there have also been multiple cases where someone else has been jealous of me/my achievements. My best friend from school didn’t speak to me for a week when I beat her for the school champion trophy by a narrow margin. A college classmate of mine almost declared a cold-war when my paper was selected over hers for a conference.
What I am trying to say here is that jealousy is normal. We face it in all shapes and sizes all the time. However, what most of us struggle with is the inability to accept it for what it is and deal with it calmly.
Not that I am any authority on the subject matter, or even a pro at dealing with this emotion, but I still have gathered a few tricks up my sleeve over the years to approach this monster every time I face it.
Here’s sharing a breakdown of my thought-process, with the hope that you’ll find it useful.
CASE A : I am Jealous of Someone:
Step one is acceptance. I push myself to say it out loud that I in fact AM jealous. It’s not easy. My brain gives me a hundred different excuses to defend my emotion. The trick is to get past that and come to terms with the problem.
Step two is to ask myself the reason for being jealous. Is it their appearance? Or that they’ve achieved so much more than I have in same or even fewer number of years? Is it the job that they have? Or, because they manage to travel much more than I do? I push myself to reason out why their life seems so much better to me than my own.
Once I have my reasons, I move on to step three, which is rationalizing. Let’s say the reason that I pinpointed in step two is that the person travels much more than I do. I then ask myself to reason out exactly how is that they manage to do it. Are they working longer hours to make more money? Are they saving up a lot by living frugally? There could be a lot of reasons at play together, many of which I wouldn’t even know from the outside. But, I still try to rationalize and understand their ability to do what they do at the best of my capability.
Lastly, comes step four; which honestly is the toughest of all. After I have my reasons listed, I push myself to turn the feeling of jealousy into feelings of admiration. It takes time- a couple of days to to say the least. The list of reasons that I mentally created in step 3 comes in very handy for this. Since my brain now knows all the effort they put into reaching where they are, it becomes easy to let go.
Following this process has helped me reach out to people who I’ve been jealous of and tell them “Ah, I do feel jealous of you, but I admire you too, because I wish I could do what you do.”
I can tell you things like stop comparing yourself, and don’t put your life against others, but let’s face it- it’s not easy. While ideally I would try and not compare, but in moments of weakness, this simple four step process does come in handy. :)
CASE B : Someone is Jealous of Me:
Contrary to popular opinion, this is more difficult to deal with than case A. In most cases, when someone is jealous of me, they can be flat out MEAN. I can’t even tell them that the reason why are treating me like this is because they are jealous of me. Even if it's true, saying this will only make things worse. Somewhere, even they’d know that that it’s true, but if they are choosing to not deal with it at the moment, I have no place to question their process.
So, what really is the solution? Should I just let the negative emotions pile up, until eventually, someone loses their sh*t and ends a relationship?
Truth is, even I don’t know. All I can do in a case like this is take the high road, continue living my life like usual, and be kind to the person as much as I can. Most people take their time to come to terms with their emotions, and it’s important that I give them the time and space to deal with the demons.
In my experience, most people come back. They deal with their feelings using their own process and come back better than before. And as a friend, it’s important that I take them back with open arms. After all, I’ve been there too, right? :)
What is your process to deal with the two cases? I’m curious to know. Share with me in the comments below.