It’s no secret that we live in a world that encourages constant competition and comparison. From the moment we can walk and talk, it’s all about who is the smartest, quickest, strongest or funniest.
As you get a little older, the competition heats up: Who will be the first to be in a relationship? Who has the best body, flashiest life, nicest car? It’s exhausting!
Take into account the explosion of social media and all of a sudden we’re led to believe that everyone else is livin’ it up while we’re just lagging behind.
The good news is that while jealousy is a normal reaction, it doesn’t have to be a permanent one. There are ways you can get a handle on where your head’s at, and learn to feel content rather than confused, when it comes to feeling jealous.
What is jealousy? An explainer to envy
Jealousy is one thing we all have in common, but what makes us feel this way?
When you put yourself out there – whether in a relationship, at school, or when hanging out with mates – and don’t get the response you were hoping for, chances are you’ll feel pretty bruised. Being rejected leads to feeling not good enough, and that can kick off a cycle where you’re convinced you’ll always end up in the same situation. Why does this always happen to me? is a question we’ve all asked ourselves at some time when we’ve been struggling.
The blame game
When you’re aware of your negative feelings, it’s tempting to pin them on someone else. When the guys around you couple up and you don’t have a date, you might feel angry at them, even though they’ve done nothing wrong.
It makes sense: when you feel like you're being left behind, you want to direct that anger and frustration outwards. Blame is a powerful tool, and one that can offer a little breather at the time, but is a bad idea in the long run.
Can’t help but compare
Whether it’s scrolling and eye-rolling as you see a bunch of buff guys posting on Instagram about their amazing holiday, or hearing your mates brag about their latest date, it’s hard not to compare yourself to others.
Add to that, as we get older there’s an endless culture of comparison. Are you getting the best results at school? Do you have a girlfriend or boyfriend? How much do you bench? This culture of comparison can easily lead to feelings of jealousy.
Plus, social media has turned FOMO into an actual issue, with everyone feeling forced to put forward the flashiest version of their lives.
How to: Grapple with the green-eyed monster
Talk it out
When it comes to working through feelings of envy, honest chat is the MVP. Sit down with a family member or friend, and try to put into words whatever is making you feel jealous. Sometimes by simply giving a voice to your frustrations, you can see them for what they are.
Check out ways to figure out talking here.
Unfollow the leader
If the highly filtered fantasyland of Insta and Snapchat is starting to send you into a spin, we recommend you start unfollowing. You don’t have to ditch every famous person you follow, but if Dan Bilzerian’s constant stream of jet skis and parties is leaving you seething, maybe hit pause on his posts.
The same goes with your own social circle. It can be tough to see people you know doing fun stuff, especially if you feel left out. Most social media platforms let you mute people, so you can hide certain feeds for a period of time. You could also try limiting your daily social use.
Sometimes the best way to overcome jealousy is to channel that energy into a fun challenge. Each time you catch jealous vibes, set yourself a task. Do ten push ups, watch a hilarious YouTube clip, text a friend or listen to your favourite track.
List the best bits
Jealousy is fuelled by feelings of self-doubt, so if you can get in the habit of bigging yourself up, it will go a long way towards helping you get on top of your resentment. As awkward as it may seem (we know it might feel a little odd at first, but trust us), try writing down three things you like about yourself.
Each time you clock a jealous thought, add another thing. Not only will you build a solid list of all your best traits, but you’ll also perfect the art of distraction. By associating jealousy with a list of good stuff about yourself, you can learn to shift its impact on you.
The bottom line
Ultimately, dealing with jealousy is all about learning how to handle it, as opposed to trying to phase it out completely.
The feelings that lead to jealousy are regular emotions – resentment, anger or frustration. The important thing to realise is that you already have all the tools you need to control the impact jealousy has on you.