In 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!