Everyone denies they’re jealous. Ever notice that? “I’m not jealous. Me? No. I could care less about her…”. Or maybe it’s the shrugging of the shoulders in contempt or finding a way to belittle someone like, “…yeah, but I bet she can’t add 2 + 2…”.
When that feeling of jealously strikes us we tend to deny it’s even there. Ever wonder why?
Somewhere along the line we learned that it was a bad thing to be jealous. That to be jealous, envious of another person’s advantages – whatever they may be – was a terrible thing. It makes us look bad to ever be seen as being jealous. So we deny it.
Here’s the thing: Being jealous is a natural part of who we are. Like fear, it’s not something that we ever see coming, until we encounter it. When fear arrives, it’s because our inner selves detect something scary, something that we perceive might hurt us. Our first reaction is to be afraid. But denying we’re afraid, denying fear, doesn’t make the fear any less real or any less there.
Jealously works the same way.
When jealousy shows up, it’s never because we’re looking for it, it just presents itself. And our first reaction is to try and deny it. We try to push it away. Again, it doesn’t make the jealousy any less real or any less there, but it does throw most people into a strange place where their inability to deal with jealousy makes them lash out in ways that are counter-productive and most times, says more about who they are, than the people they’re hating on.
Let me share a recent example:
I was at a restaurant a couple of months ago at around lunch time. It was pretty empty patron-wise and the waitress was chit chatting with me about a movie she had just seen. About 10 minutes into my lunch, a couple walked in, early 30s maybe and absolutely stunning. There was no doubt in my mind they were professional models — and if they weren’t, they should have been! Now, to put this in perspective, I live in a town where everyone is “beautiful” – that town being Hollywood – and these two stood out. So “drop-dead gorgeous” is not a term I’m using loosely…
The waitress, upon seeing them, said to me under her breath, “Great. Jerks.” I assumed she knew them and had some history with them. So I proceeded to eat my lunch but couldn’t help listening and watching what was happening…
The waitress’s demeanor had completely changed. She wasn’t being kind to them. She was harsh and cold. She seemed to throw down the water and plates of food in-front of them. She made no eye contact whatsoever – she seemed annoyed to deal with them. I kept thinking, ‘wow, these people must have really pissed her off’ – and so, when she returned to the counter where I had been sitting I asked her, “How do you know them?” and she replied, “I don’t know them. I would never know people like that. Those are not my kind of people.” She must have seen my confused expression because she proceeded and said, “You know the type: they’re probably actors on some fucking show, or dumb models — they don’t ever have to work for a living because mommy and daddy pay for everything. I mean, look at them, you can just tell they’re spoiled assholes.”
Clearly, that experience told me more about the waitress than it did about the lovely people who had just come in for a bite to eat. After that, I was no longer interested in talking to the waitress. My impression of her had changed and the point is: when we don’t deal with jealousy, most times it makes US look ugly. It brings out the worst in who we are. And without even knowing it, you turn people off.
So how do you learn not to be jealous? You can’t. And anyone who tells you they never get jealous is lying. It’s just like fear. You can’t stop being afraid, but you can learn to deal with fear when it shows itself. And like anything else you work on, feeling afraid or being jealous becomes less of an obstacle over time.
Here’s how I overcame one aspect of fear:
I used to be afraid of heights and flying. So much so, that it would take a lot for me to get on a plane. Even when I’d go hiking, I would stay away from looking at the scenery if we were too high up, because the knowledge that I had hiked that far away from “solid” ground would make me feel nauseous. It became a problem – because, I do love to hike. So, although I had decided to deal with my fear of flying by avoiding planes all altogether, it was now keeping me from experiencing another part of life. Now I wasn’t enjoying hiking as much – something had to change. I decided that the way I was dealing with my fear – by denying it and avoiding it, was not working. It was keeping me from being the best person I could be. So, I talked to a few people and someone suggested I go skydiving. I was completely fearful of the thought, but after some time passed, I knew in my gut I had to do it. I decided to confront fear head on. Here’s a quick clip of that fun life-changing event:
Going skydiving changed me. I’m not saying all of my fear has completely gone away, but it doesn’t stop me from being my best self. I handle all fear in my life differently now. It’s the same with Jealousy.
How do you become your best self when you are confronted with Jealousy? Well, I don’t have a cool movie clip to show you that, but here’s how I deal with it on a regular basis and it works brilliantly for me. Maybe, it can help you too.
First, you have to admit you get jealous. It seems so simple, but if you don’t admit it, then you avoid tackling it and instead do things to avoid it.
Secondly, when confronted with a moment of jealousy, admit it out-loud. I like to say, if you see something that makes you jealous, say something! So, more often than not, when I see a beautiful woman working her magic in some fabulous dress, I’ll let her know, “Wow, that’s a great dress!” And I say it authentically and with sincerity and EVERY time that person reacts with joy and appreciation. And jealousy evaporates and becomes something else. I’ve made it into a compliment, instead of holding it inside.
Three, think about why you got jealous in that moment and use it as a tool to improve yourself. More times than not, we’re jealous because we don’t have something the other person’s got. Rarely, is it a dress I’m jealous of, generally it’s the woman’s self-confidence and the way she holds herself – and usually I’m thinking, I didn’t work out the past day or so. Or, maybe know subconsciously that my eating habits had faltered that week and I wasn’t really working my own magic… see what I’m saying?
Here’s the thing: there are enough moments in life when we get all frustrated and tied up in knots about things. Letting jealousy of another person’s advantages take up too much time in your head. It makes you defensive when there is no need to be. And it’s just a wasteful use of energy. The way I see it, jealousy can actually be a good thing, if you use the moment to understand why you feel the way you do and then use that information to improve upon who you are and who you can be!
Well, that’s how I do it anyways…
Happy sweet day!