The Real Reason You Feel Jealous (and How to Use It to Your Advantage)
The Green-Eyed Monster Explained
We all know that insidious feeling. We might get it when we're out with our significant other and an attractive person walks by. You may think your lover is looking at this attractive person and a sharp twinge of insecurity courses through you about your own looks.
That feeling of insecurity can rapidly evolve into jealousy.
Jealousy is the manifestation of our inner doubt and past experiences all rolled into one delicious package.
Jealousy is defined as, "an emotion that refers to feelings of insecurity, fear, concern, or anxiety, over an anticipated loss or status of something of great personal value, particularly in reference to a human connection."
Generally, there are many reasons why humans experience feelings of jealousy, but the most prevalent is insecurity. People almost always choose to pine for something they don't already have and constantly compare themselves to others making envy one of the most prevalent emotions in modern society.
There could be a number of reasons why someone feels insecure about themselves. They could have been betrayed by people in the past, abandoned, or abused. They may not be able to get themselves over that emotional obstacle.
Jealous people may have a chip on their shoulder and think that they always get the short end of the stick. It's just that learned experience plus whatever limitations people put on themselves that ends up manifesting into jealousy.
Men, Women & Jealousy
On the surface, it does appear that women engage in expressions of jealousy much more than men, but most of the time that's because they tend to discuss it more.
Women, in general, tend to feel the need to express how they feel more than men do, so it is possible that men do indeed experience large amounts of jealousy regarding comparisons to other men, job status, looks, etc.
Studies have found that women experience emotional jealousy on a far larger scale than men and that men are more likely to experience sexual jealousy. For example, women tend to feel jealous if their partner bonds with someone else on an emotional level.
Men, on the other hand, lean more towards sexual jealousy which is similar to a territorial claim for the purpose of reproduction. On the evolutionary side of things, males will generally compete with one another to display the best attributes for reproducing, and may exhibit jealous behavior if they feel their mate is in danger of reproducing with someone else.
Jealousy is a daily part of most people's lives, especially with social media on the rise, and everyone posting their status 24/7 on sites like Facebook.
One can't help but compare at times. Everyone does it.
Most people would be lying if they said they didn't react out of Jealousy on social media sites, at least occasionally.
The jealousy could creep in when, let's say, that friend you might have on your Facebook posts some adorable picture of themselves with their boyfriend/girlfriend.
Possibly feeling insecure about your own lack of romantic relationship, you react by posting some quotes about how single life is awesome and people who are in relationships are all miserable. We've all been tempted to compete out of jealousy.
So, what is at the root of all this comparing?
The Root of It All
People who find themselves suffering from that sinking feeling of jealousy need to ask themselves a few questions:
1. Why am I trying to sabotage my own happiness with negative thoughts?
2. Why am I distracting myself from what I need to do by focusing on how others live their life?
3. What do I need to change in my own life that would make me feel more satisfied?
The most vulnerable time to become infiltrated with feelings of jealousy is when you are bored, not focused, or intent on self-sabotage. When you are focused on your own set of goals, whether they be small or big, you tend to be so intent on creating in your own world that you don't get easily distracted by what others are doing.
In fact, when you start accomplishing your own goals in life, you actually become more happy for other people who do the same, rather than feeling jealous. That's because you know how it feels to set a goal and complete it. It feels great.
If you spend all of your time procrastinating, and can't, or won't motivate yourself, then feeling envious of others is an easy trap to fall into. If you're not satisfied with your own progress in life, you're most likely already feeling down because you know you're capable of so much more.
So if you see others grabbing life by the horns, it's natural that you start to have feelings of resentment towards them, which are really just feelings of frustration with yourself for being lazy.
"Studies have found that women experience emotional jealousy on a far larger scale than men and that men are more likely to experience sexual jealousy."
Get Some Perspective
Generally, people who don't fall into the jealousy trap as often are more self-confident and able to see the big picture in any given situation. For example, secure people understand that everyone has good days and bad days and that you're not going to be happy all of the time.
Secure people have realistic expectations for what goes on in the world around them and they understand that everyone has different talents or opportunities.
A well-adjusted person understands that comparing yourself to another person who has had completely different life experiences and has a completely different personality is just not a wise thing to do.
Terribly insecure people are always looking at others and wondering why they don't have what they have, or why they don't have the kind of "good luck" others have. What they could be doing instead is finding something they like to do and creating their own road to inspiration. It could be something that seems small at first, but then you can expand on it and take it to a new level.
Expanding on a raw skill such as drawing, athletics, writing, crafts, computers, dance, or teaching can be turned into a real passion if you learn to level up your motivation and focus your energy on it.
"A well-adjusted person understands that comparing yourself to another person who has had completely different life experiences and has a completely different personality is just not a wise thing to do."
The Next Level
Reaching a new level in your motivation for life does not always mean more money.
Many people jump to the conclusion that success always has to involve more money.
That's why there are so many unsatisfied, envious people out there who only have negative things to say.
If you only make an effort for financial gain, then don't be surprised if you still have an empty, resentful feeling down the road. That's why you shouldn't hinge all of your success based on money.
Of course, there's no question that money is vital to surviving in this society, but this method is about changing your focus and mindset towards a creative goal, not a material one.
It's about having a purpose beyond making money and releasing your mind from the constant comparisons, competition, and greed.
To involve your mind into something that's completely your own that has nothing to do with anyone else's journey. In this society, we place so much value on looks, relationships status, and financial achievement that it's easy to forget we all have our own unique gifts and the reward is not always money, it's peace of mind and self-esteem.
Having self-esteem and knowing what you are capable of not only guards you against envy and self-pity, but it enables you to go forward.
This ensures you can successfully move on instead of being stuck in the same emotional ut over and over again.
Wallowing in bitterness and jealousy doesn't do anyone any good.
No one is going to pull you up by your socks except for you, and no one else is going to motivate passion in your life except for you.
Jealousy is a natural human emotion that is unavoidable. Jealousy can be used in a positive way to push people to do better, or it can push them into depression. It all depends on how quickly you recognize it and how you choose to use it to your own advantage.
So, the next time you feel yourself saying negative things about someone, try and consider if those feelings are stemming from jealousy, and then think about what's going on in your life that may have left you vulnerable to that negative energy.
Immediately focus on something you can change in your life, or in your mindset that can override the jealousy and turn it into a motivational path. Accept the feelings of jealousy and use them to inspire a more meaningful road for yourself. You can do it at any time.
Your life is waiting for you.
© 2015 Michelle Zunter