Picture this typical jealousy situation:
Your GF from the office has just announced her pregnancy. A year after marriage to the perfect guy, who just happens to look like Brock O Hurn (stalk him on IG – you’ll thank me later). Who she met in freakin’ business class while she was travelling back from Greece, a reward from her boss for doing so damn well in her job. Ugh, what a witch. Right?
The reason you feel that way is not because she is a conniving troll who just fell into an epic life that she totally doesn’t deserve. The truth is that her success is highlighting the parts of your life that are not quite where you want them to be… yet.
Sometimes when you find yourself judging another woman because of the way she’s showing up in her life, it isn’t because you just cannot believe she’d post a pic like that in her bikini, but because it’s easier to judge her than it is to look at yourself.
Jealousy is an emotion that’s triggered when someone else achieves or receives something that you want – whether you admit it or not. Maybe you’ve been single for four years, and you keep telling the world that you’re so happy on your own, when in reality, you feel a pang in your heart every time you walk past another happy couple in love.
So, instead of admitting that you want a relationship and opening yourself up to the idea, you tear your friend down.
How to use jealousy to get what you want
The good news is that you can use this feeling – jealousy – to help you get real about what you want in your life.
When you feel that green-eyed monster popping up, ask yourself if you’re honestly happy with the part of your life that this is reflecting. What triggered it for you?
When someone else gets a new job that sounds really cool, are you truly satisfied with your own job? Or is there something else you’d rather be doing?
When someone gets engaged and you feel annoyed, are you happy with your own relationship and where it’s going? Or, if you’re single, are you truly happy on the single bus?
When your friend posts a picture of her holiday in Spain, and you get annoyed, is that because you actually have a deep desire to travel, but your role at work demands so much from you, or your partner doesn’t support you?
Here’s the thing…
Change in your life can only happen once you’re honest with yourself, which requires bravery. It can be hard to look at the places that need work, but do you know what’s even harder? Continuing to live a life you’re not happy in.
Here’s an easy way to break it down:
1. If I’m feeling jealous of her bikini pic, what is below this? (I am not happy with the way I am treating my body at the moment.)
2. What can I do to change this? (I can recommit to my gym membership, and remind myself why keeping healthy is so important to me.)
3. What action can I take right now to cement this? (I can call the gym.)
Why don’t you try actually supporting her?
Instead of judging her, and creating some sort of fake story in your head that only serves to make you feel better, tell her how proud of her you are. And mean it. What if, instead of hating on her, you supported her. Look at her success (in her career, relationships, finances) as an example of what’s possible for you, too – if only you got honest about what you really want, and did it?
Jealousy doesn’t need to be a bad thing. It can be a powerful tool that can inspire you, helping you move between where you are and where you want to be.
Jacqui Sive is a South African entrepreneur who travels the world full-time, running her personal development business from anywhere with good WiFi.
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This article was originally published on Women's Health.