5 Productive Ways To Stop Feeling So Jealous Of Others (That You Can Use To Your Advantage)

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jealous woman

You may not always see it at first, or perhaps you deny its existence. Yes, everyone has gotten jealous over something in other people’s lives; or as I often refer to it, they've experienced the “grass is always greener” effect.

Someone has something or someone you would much rather have for yourself  and while it's a compelling motivation that makes for great movies, books, and television, it isn't a fun thing to go through in your own life.

But it certainly doesn’t feel that great when you or someone you are close to is involved with it. Jealousy is a feeling that you don’t often want to admit that you have. So how do you manage when others close to you start to rear their jealous heads?

RELATED: 17 Jealousy Quotes Will Inspire You To Ditch That Green-Eyed Monster

Here are 5 ways that smart, productive people deal with jealousy when it enters their lives (or the lives of the people around them!):

1. Understand that looks might be deceiving.

Indeed, the grass is always greener on the other side, but just because someone looks like they have it all doesn’t actually mean that they do. We often feel jealous of other people’s success or life journeys.

“Why did they get married/have kids before me?”

"How are they more successful than me?"

"Why does everything seem to work out for them? They don't try as hard as I do!" 

You might ask these questions without realizing or acknowledging the potential struggles that person has gone through long before ever achieving success. You don't know what someone else is going through, and the face they present to the world might not be entirely a true one.

2. Deal with this emotion calmly.

Jealousy often comes on like a passionate lover — hot, intense, and heavy. Jealousy is often an impulsive emotion. It comes on suddenly, and we often don’t realize that we feel jealous until we’re thick in the throes of it.

It's important to maintain a level head and try to fight the urge to give in to the green-eyed monster. Rationalize your feelings, and make sure you aren't just flying off the handle with your decisions.

3. Address it, don't ignore it.

Recognize it and at least acknowledge its presence. Denying that it’s actually bothering you that your friend got engaged when you just got out of a relationship is probably not going to help. So pay attention the next time someone says or does something that ticks you off a little (or a lot!). Simply acknowledging the feeling can help you decide whether to pursue it or let it go.

RELATED: 9 Quotes That'll Help You Deal With The Jealous People In Your Life

Everyone has a "trigger" that bothers them, but it would be helpful to know what yours is so that you can say to yourself, “Here comes that feeling of jealousy again — feeling like I’ll never be where I want to be because my friend already has everything going for her/him… Okay, I just felt that way when someone else landed the job I wanted..." 

By acknowledging your jealous moments, you might even begin to recognize a pattern in your behavior and identify the areas in your life that you feel are lacking.

4. Use it to your advantage.

Often what we envy in others is actually a reflection of what we actually desire in ourselves (and are perhaps too ashamed or unsure of where to start). Many articles point to fear or anxiety as root causes of jealousy.

And while that's true in some cases, it's also true that change or growth starts in a place of being uncomfortable. Ever really felt like getting out of your cozy bed on a cold Monday morning, or leaving that vacation on the beautiful all-inclusive beach resort behind? Definitely not!

It’s OK to feel scared or anxious about what you don’t know or understand or leave your comfort zone — and I believe the feeling of jealousy you have confirms how uncomfortable it is not to know what, or how, to get what you truly want or desire.

5. Pay attention to what it's telling you.

Take the jealous feeling you're experiencing as a way to do an inventory or an assessment in your own life. What is going well? Are there goals or ideas you want to work on? New passions or interests you want to pursue? What is your jealousy trying to tell you?

If you have trouble answering these questions, that’s OK because they are tough ones. Sorting it out with a mental health professional can be helpful because they are there to give you a neutral, nonjudgmental place to understand this type of self-exploration.

By tapping into, rather than away from, your feelings of jealousy, you can not only help your relationships with others but ultimately come away with a better understanding of yourself: What makes you tick; what motivates you; what inspires you to grow? 

Jealousy is a difficult state of being; but it can also be a wonderful teacher if you're willing to learn from it.

RELATED: 7 Ways To Stop Acting Like An Insanely Jealous And Crazy-Insecure Person

If you're struggling with jealousy or other emotions are holding you back, it's time to take steps toward loving yourself as you are — while working toward becoming your best self. Dr. Maxine Langdon Starr, a licensed marriage and family therapist in California who specializes in adolescents and young adults, can help. If you'd like to reach out to her, you can visit her webpage.