People who know me know that envy and jealousy have always been my biggest character flaws.
You know how some people cry at every occasion? I used to get jealous at every occasion. My best friend got a better comedy gig than me? Jealous. My boyfriend had coffee with a female friend? Jealous. The girl next to me in yoga class can do a better crow pose than me? Jealous. You get the idea.
It happened so much I didn’t even notice it—it was as if I was in a fog of “things don’t happen for me the way they do for other people.” I also didn’t want to admit it, ‘cause it’s embarrassing…and not very enlightening.
The Problem With Jealousy
Unfortunately, envy and jealousy can poison your health and your relationships, paralyze productivity, and kill creativity.
One of the big problems with jealousy and envy is how it increases stress levels.
Of course many studies have also linked stress to a string of physical problems. One study demonstrated that elevated job stress leads to an increased risk of heart disease in women. So how do we actually deal with jealousy, envy and other stuck emotions that are stressing us out?
How To Use Your Envy…For Good!
I coach many creative people (and people who wish they could “be creative”) like performers, artists, and visionaries, whose main block is comparing themselves to others in one way or another. And let me tell you, jealousy has not made any of my clients more talented, more brilliant, funnier, or smarter.
Related: How To Overcome Insecurity
However, when we feel jealousy and envy, it can tell us several things that can help us in unexpected ways:
- It helps us learn what we want.
- It helps us learn in what areas we can grow.
- It shows us which people we admire and look up to.
- It points to an area where we can have compassion for ourselves for not being “perfect” already.
How To Use Your Jealousy
1. Write what you’re jealous of, and who has it.
Make a whole grocery list. Go all out. Then, based on that list, circle which of those qualities or accomplishments you want to have for yourself.
Then, sit for two minutes with each “thing” and actually allow yourself to feel the deep longing of each one.
2. Write down where you’d like to grow first.
Take one small immediate action based on this. Do something in the next five minutes that gets you closer to your goal.
Related: Why Your Struggles Can Help You Grow
3. Write down the qualities you admire in the person who inspires your envy and jealousy.
And then meditate for five minutes, feeling into how you already possess those qualities.
4. Make a gratitude list.
Write out everything and everyone you’re grateful for, and spend one minute on each thing on your list, actually feeling gratitude in your body for that thing.
5. Accept how you are right now.
The path to personal growth starts with acceptance. Everybody’s got stuff to deal with. Ours just happens to to be a little tinge (or a huge pile) of jealousy and envy. But that’s ok…it’s who we are.
Recognizing our own value is the key to untangling ugly stress that stems from envy. Returning to what is good about yourself and your life relieves stress. Follow these five steps, and you can use envy and jealousy to your advantage.
Spiritual Comedian Alicia Dattner has been touring the world, selling out her one-woman shows, Eat, Pray, Laugh!, The Oy of Sex, and The Punchline, and winning awards, including “Best Storyteller” in the NY United Solo Festival, “Best of the Fringe” in the SF Fringe Festival, and “Best Comedian 2011″ in the East Bay Express.