How To Manage Jealousy

I used to be pretty jealous. I was embarrassed to mention to anyone that I was jealous, though…I didn’t want other people to think I was a jerk.

And the truth is, it’s easy to feel jealous when you’re young and everyone is going through the same experiences — same classes, same grades, same clubs — but some people are objectively better than you.

In junior high, one of my friends always had way cooler clothes. 4 of my girlfriends were on the cheerleading squad, which I never tried out for because I couldn’t do a split. I always secretly resented how the guys hung around them at games.

In high school, the love of my life left me for another girl, which filled me with insane jealousy. And early in college, I saw girls who were much better with guys.

The good news is, things started to change. Once you get into college, you’re not all taking the same classes. You start branching off into different paths. Maybe you get a little better with girls or guys. Now, if a friend gets a huge accomplishment, I feel HAPPY, not jealous.

But I have to admit…sometimes it still gets me. We still find a way to judge because it’s human nature to compare ourselves to others. And often, we do so in very twisted ways.

We check our newsfeed and wonder why we’re stuck in a cubicle while our friend is posting pics from Aruba.

Even if we’ve made it, we still compare. Did you know that most millionaires don’t consider themselves rich? Why? They’re comparing themselves to people above them, not below.

So when I got this question from Jackie S. on jealousy, I wanted to take a few minutes to respond:

“I’m almost 36. I can’t help but compare myself to people in the world who have great success…either with weight loss or with accomplishing big things in their lives. When I look at them, I feel like they somehow got an advantage I missed out on. However, I can find people I know that I’m doing much better than. But compared to the best, I’m seriously behind. I feel like I get myself wrapped into a trap and I end up just feeling horrible about myself. I lose motivation to try to change anything…and I keep eating the way I always have because what’s the point? I’ll never get ahead like them. What do you recommend to resolve this?” – Jackie S.

I know I’ve dealt with this myself: watching other people around me having success with losing weight, or expanding their business and doubling their revenue in a matter of months, or other thought leaders getting 10,000 new subscribers to their blog or podcast.

Now, I actually see this happening around me and feel like, “That’s awesome! How cool for them!” and feel genuine in that.

So what shifted?

The shift came when I decided to actually ask people I admired what worked for them. It was then that I realized I was spending all my time looking for their success secrets–“what technique did they use? what secrets do they have figured out that I need to know?”—and discovering that I this was actually expending my energy in an inefficient way.

When I would ask people who had success in various areas of their life (e.g. they had lost weight, grown their business, found love or doubled their income), I noticed that their answers to what worked for them were almost identical…regardless of what they’d achieved.

Each one, in their own way, said the key to success was finding something they loved or were intrigued by, devoting time to getting really good at it, and then sharing it with others.

What I also learned was that it’s normal to compare ourselves to others…but the trick is to find the one thing that we’re really excited about, and then learn more and more about it.

All these years I’d been putting energy into finding techniques, “tricks or tips” or success secrets rather than focusing on what interested me and putting time into learning more about it.

The more I learned about the things I was interested in, the more passionate I became. The more alive I felt…and the more i wanted to share with others because I was enthusiastic about what I was learning.

Hence, the birth of Binge Eating Breakthrough. The more I learn and get leverage on something that had been a massive, 16-year challenge in my life…the more excited I get about sharing what’s worked. Then, naturally, the more I hear that what I’m sharing is working for others, too…the more I want to keep sharing. Now my energy is put into learning, sharing and contributing instead of looking for secrets and comparing.

So, that being said…

If you notice that seeing someone’s success (whether in the area of health, relationships, money, whatever) triggers an internal feeling of envy, dismay, jealousy or other de-motivating emotion, congratulate yourself. You’re human. You’re being normal.

But THEN, look at what it is about what they’re successful with that has you intrigued.

Why did you notice their success in that area, anyway? It’s highly likely that there’s something for you to indulge in for yourself…an interest, a fascination or a passion.

When you find what it is that’s interesting or fascinating to you, consider how you can learn more about it. Who do you know you could talk to? What books can you read? What articles or websites can you read to understand further (like…hint, hint)?

The more energy you put into learning, the more excited you’ll become because you’ll start having insights. Then it’s a snowball effect: your enthusiasm builds, your motivation picks up and suddenly what was once challenging is now exciting because you’re finding success with mastering it.

I’m curious: what makes you jealous? (Be specific.) How do you handle it?

Leave a comment below and let me know.



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