What to Do When Jealousy Strikes

What to Do When Jealousy Strikes by Christine KaneIn the business world, when the conversation turns to success mindsets, there’s a clear message about jealousy, envy and comparing yourself to others.  It goes something like this:

If you don’t celebrate everyone else’s success, then you block your own success.

It’s true, yes.  It’s true that reveling other people’s victories will open you to your own. It’s also true that your joy attracts more joy.

But here’s the thing.

If you can’t think your way to that joyful place, then the confusion and pain that accompany your envy can be devastating.  Amazingly, messages about blocking your own success rarely help transform the situation.

In fact, I’ve yet to hear a client in the throes of comparison say to me: “Boy I’m really loving this feeling of envy I’m having. I haven’t had this much fun in weeks!”

In other words, sometimes your feelings can’t be transformed out of sheer force of will.  So I created this little guide to help you when ickiness strikes.  You can read it quietly and we won’t tell a soul that you were ever here.

So, before we “go there,” let me start with some basic truths about you.

What I know about you:

1 – You’re not a jealous person. You are not your envy.  This is not the truth of you.

2 – Your emotions are like clouds that move in and cover the sun. The essential amazing you is still back there. This is just an episode.

3 – You are capable, competent and magnificent. You are on your own awesome path of success.

4 – A bout of envy will not block your success. I promise. (Though it will make you feel like shit for as long as you let it stick around.)

5 – You are a really really good person.

What to Do When You Feel Envy or Jealousy or Start Comparing Yourself to Others

1 – Stop trying to “figure it out.”

News alert:  Your mind does not have the answers.

Trying to “figure out why” can keep you stuck. “Why am I so envious? Why can’t I be more like that guy over there who’s never jealous?”

Those questions don’t serve the situation. Those questions are just your ego. Your ego doesn’t want you to experience the actual feeling because that would be unbearably uncomfortable. So it creates a smoke screen by asking why and then taking you into the spin cycle of obsession.

This might make you feel even worse, but at least it prevents you from having to be present to the awful feeling. Feeling bad is sometimes easier than feeling uncomfortable.

2 – Ask yourself if you can allow this feeling.

When you’re having a jealousy episode, just ask yourself if you can allow it to be there. This one step alone will ease up on the shame and the discomfort. Even if the answer is “no,” then you’re at least acknowledging the feeling. Just keep sitting with it and asking, “Can I allow this to be here? What would happen if I just allowed this feeling to exist for a moment?”

This creates space. It shifts the resistance.  It releases the shame. Then the jealous feelings have a chance to move and diffuse.

3 – Let emotions be your teachers.

Becoming aware of these shadow aspects of ourselves is a process and a slow release. It’s not a matter of seeing that your shirttail is hanging out, and quickly tucking it back in. (Though eventually, with some work, you’ll get better at saying “huh-uh” when jealousy pops into your consciousness.)

If you’ve been prone to the pattern of jealousy throughout your life, then most likely, this emotion is your spiritual teacher. It will ultimately help you evolve. But probably for a while, you will have to face it, not just tuck it in.

4 – Laugh at Yourself

Many years ago, after I performed on the main stage at a big music festival, I was standing in the crowd with my friend Steve.  He had performed the same day as well.

We were watching another act, and the crowd was going crazy.  I looked at Steve, and I said, “Look at them. There they were cheering for me and acting like I was the best thing ever. Now they’ve moved on.”

Steve laughed and said, “Yeah. It’s like a lover who’s now in bed with someone else making all the same groans and sounds as she made with me!”

Eventually, we had tears rolling down our cheeks from laughing.  It shifted the pattern. You don’t have to take it all so seriously.

5 – Ask friends not to agree with you.

The worst thing a friend can do when you are feeling envy is to meet you at the level of your envy.  Like, when she agrees with you that the envied person is, in fact, an undeserving bitch. Or saying, “Well you’re better than her anyway.”

These things don’t heal. They keep you stuck at that level.

If you need to talk a friend, then start by asking that person to listen and not “go there.”   Or better yet, call someone you know won’t go there. It can feel really nice to have someone bolster you up and tell you that you’re better than so-and-so and that you deserved it more. But it doesn’t clear the original hurt.

You need to be listened to so that you can move beyond the feelings, not so that you can feel vindicated.

6 – Get to Work.

One great remedy for any negative emotion is just to get creative and get to work. Write your next chapter.  Write a warm letter. Do something that makes you proactive. Get out of the reactivity. Creativity is a powerful place. And it shifts everything.

7 – Are you tired or hungry?

Being tired or hungry can make you more vulnerable to old patterns. Take a nap. Get a good night’s sleep. Eat when you’re hungry. These are very real things.

8 – Get quiet and centered

Sit still. Be quiet. And just feel the feeling without the story. Feel where the jealousy resides inside of you. Feel the envy without the story of the envy. If you can sit and breathe long enough, then it will pass. I promise.

9 – Mastery

Whatever business you’re in, you can choose the path of mastery.  Not just a master of your skillset. But of you.  If you want to reach, inspire, help, encourage, heal in any way, most likely it’s going to require that you face your own demons in that process. If jealousy comes up, then it’s a teacher for you. That’s all. Let it be. That’s where your biggest treasures will be.

10 –  Focus on where you want to be

Don’t forget the power of intention. Take a moment to remember that this is not where you want to be. State out loud, even in your jealousy, “I ultimately want to rejoice in the success and good fortunes of others. I want to be clear and happy. I want to celebrate all victories.” Just knowing that you want this will start you on your way, even if you’re not there yet.

——-

I would ask you to leave a comment, but I know this is a sensitive topic that is rarely discussed in business circles, so feel free to just wave hello!

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Comments

  1. says

    Oh Christine, I love this so much! Not just for jealousy but for whenever you see someone more far along the path than you and feel a twinge of “l am behind” or “will I ever get there?”

    For me, 90% of the time I look at it and say, great! and I am on my way too…but there is that 10% when every single suggestion in your post is like the Antidote for feeling not just jealous but defleated.

    Focusing on how deeply I love what I am doing and how much joy I get out of it and taking action to move foward helps every time.

    Stopping and reminding myself, it’s okay to feel this feeling is also something that has helped me SO MUCH.

    THANKS AGAIN for sharing your wise lessons Christine! I thank you and my hubby thanks you – I am the happiest I have ever been thanks in HUGE part to everything I have learned and implemented from working with you!

    Cyber HUG!

  2. Mary Grossett says

    Oh WOW!!! This article is heaven sent – thank you! Here I was struggling with a bout of jealously and “when will it be my turn” and having a general pity party. Mostly thought I was beating myself up for feeling this way which just makes it WORSE. Thank you for reminding me that my feelings are real and getting through them is the only way. Ignoring them is no use (what you resist persists). Real tools that have left me feeling empowered and not defeated.
    Let me know if you are ever planning to come to sunny South Africa!!!

    :) :) :)

    • says

      Mary – I was in South Africa for three weeks many years ago! Hitch-hiked all over. (Loved the grahamstown arts festival. Remember that most of all!) Will keep you posted on my next travels. :)

  3. says

    Whenever I feel that twinge of jealousy, I always remind myself that this person did the hard work to get where they are and now it’s my turn to do the work to get to the next level. There are no shortcuts!

  4. says

    I’m familiar with such acidy jealousy moments . They usually come from undervaluing myself while looking at those ahead of me and comparing myself to them . The only way I see – is to learn how to compete with myself( not anyone else) and learn how to celebrate my own achievements, count my fans and be grateful for what I have .

  5. says

    Christine…so true. i am noticing that as I am healing the shadow parts within me, it is becoming easier to celebrate the joy with others. Competition and jealousy were a big part of my life…(my story…being the youngest of 5 girls…all 9 years apart). Taking a deep breath here…love your humor…thank you!!

  6. says

    Waving! Hello! Yup, I definitely get jealous, but I’ve learned to use it constructively. First off, I know that I certainly want people to be happy for me when cool stuff happens, so I drown out the jealousy with celebration, even if it’s really hard. Second, I always know it’s a sign that I’ve fallen off my path somehow. I take a deeper look at what’s really going on, and usually when it comes down to it it’s a feeling of powerlessness. Especially in the music business it’s hard not to feel like it takes the right person, place and time to get Discovered, despite any amount (big or small) of work done (the “small” work of some who have gotten really lucky is often a trigger…). Jealousy lets me know that I’m not feeling in control, and I recalibrate myself with my purpose and what I’m working towards. Overall, basically, it’s a great opportunity for me to tell my ego to shove it (gently….) and reach for something better. : )

  7. says

    Synchronicity strikes again!

    Yesterday I had coffee with a woman who is doing what I would like to be doing — self-publishing her own novels — and doing it unbelievably successfully. She was so generous with her time and really shared important “insider tips” that I know will help. I was incredibly inspired when I left.

    What happened to me later was not jealousy, but a cascade of thoughts: “what if she is just lucky *and* talented and no matter how hard I work this can’t happen for me?” In other words, lots and lots of comparing myself and finding myself wanting.

    I have gotten pretty good at recognizing old “stories,” so I managed to stop the tidal wave, reminding myself of her joy and enthusiasm and remembering how it felt to be in the presence of that energy. And how it has felt for me when I’ve been able to tap into that in my life.

    And then this post popped into my inbox this morning. Perfect timing!
    Thanks.

  8. Liz says

    I have a jealousy pattern with one of my coworkers/friends. It happens in almost every meeting I have with her. I am learning to give it more “space” and talk myself through it.

    I also have a current sensitive spot and envy. The “when will it be my turn?” quote in the article resonated with me.

    Thank you for an article that was synchronously helpful for me.

  9. says

    I can be happy that I never had experienced envy or jalousy a lot, but I have tons of experience the other way round. I seem to be an enthuisiast and a doer, so I often felt that people tried to put me down or critized and complained. That woul be a great topic too! I did believe those voices and made myself small so that there was no reason for troubles. But today with you as my Coach- there is no playing small anymore. Thank you Christine! You are a true gift to the world! Andrea

  10. Mary Frances says

    Holy Schmokes-this one was a block -buster for me. a) Like Andrea , I’ve known this the other way around and let it crimp me. b) I was just having this talk with a dear friend yesterday: the “despair, will I ever get there” part of the topic. c) Most powerfully, I had just literally sent an e-m to my 5 sibs. My emotionally ill mother is in dementia now, and still as manipulative as ever. I see coming down the road very soon, where I will have to take a stand for my own health and to draw a healthy boundary & the siblings are very likely to give me a lot of grief , even ‘dump’ me. I am actually — scared to death–and prepared for that. And this article helped me sit and weep the feelings out, and as Nneka said–they lost steam. Then I spoke aloud 3 times so I could hear it: “I cannot expect to have them at my back in this”. So I will remember that in my body and the shock will be less. To sit and feel vulnerable and not perfect and facing a really tough loss — I know it is the only way “OUT’ of these dark holes. Leonard Cohen says you sit in the fire and let it burn you, until it burns itself out. But I could not have done it today without Christine’s reminders & you all chiming in. Many thanks. Onward & upward to the best humans we can be, for the Common Good ( as well as ourselves). With Love to you all, CK and this community we are building.

  11. Natalie Morisset says

    Thanks for addressing this ‘elephant in the room’, Christine, it’s so valuable for me. I compare myself to others a lot, and I am quite prone to envy/jealousy (not sure what the difference is). I know that this attitude is an important teacher for me, since I am an Enneagram Four. I also know that when I am strongly grounded within my own YES to life, I don’t get jealous or envious. Hmm, now I’m getting an inkling of how that ties in with the journey towards being a healthier Four…

    I will keep your instructions close by!

  12. Erika says

    Thanks for this well-timed article Christine! I was recently laid off and was still “friends” with my former boss on Facebook. Every time she posted something that made her happy (dancing with friends, scoring tickets to see Paul McCartney) I would get so angry. I was angry that she was still employed, despite the fact that being laid off was a great opportunity for me to leave a toxic work environment. And work on my writing business (which I’m upleveling right now!). I un-friended her yesterday just to avoid the jealousy/anger, which I think was the right thing to do. And now I have your helpful tips on dealing in the future. So thanks!! :)

  13. Jeff Campbell says

    Wow. I am always exceedingly impressed by the content you deliver. I was referred to your vision board ebook from Hal Elrod nearly 1 year ago. Despite the fact I’m a guy and your material is primarily targeted to women, I have gathered a tremendous amount of value from it. Your delivery style is very direct and personable that I can see comes from genuine care and concern. It is great. :) And I also very much feel that you aren’t in this business for the short run; you are in it to create real relationships that last.

    I know you just counseled against comparing to others in the article that you wrote. But I can’t finish this without saying that I believe the number of people subscribed to what you write should be right up near the top of all the newsletters across the personal development arena. It is that good.

    Thank you :)

  14. says

    This is an example why you are such a catalyst for such huge transformational change!
    You aren’t afraid to identify the “uncomfortable topics”. This article is awesome. Period.

    Thanks!

  15. Pam says

    Christine,

    You contribute to us all with your honesty and courage to address things that are painful, yet from a no-nonsense place so we can get un-stuck and move on. I love the part about laughing at ourselves. Overall, I see a lot of mindfulness in this piece — basic awareness and allowing what is present within us to “be,” is essential to growth.

    Thanks for writing this one.

  16. says

    Hello Christine, I enjoy all your articles and this one, I am not immune. But I have to say when I saw your title I was, due to recent experiences, hoping it was going to address how to handle people who are jealous. I know I don’t know what’s in someone else’s head, but I know enough and trust my intuition enough that I know when I get feedback that has jealousy in it. To cut it short my response was to say “I wish you the best”. I …think that was best, any other tips?

    Best wishes always :)

    Clara

  17. says

    Wonderful Christine, such helpful reminders. Especially love your first lines : What I know about you. So important that we realise we have feelings but they are not all of us – awesome.

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