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Have you ever heard the phrase 'Comparison is the thief of joy' and wondered exactly what it meant?
Well, wonder no more. It means that when you compare yourself to others and become jealous of what they have or have achieved, you allow the joy you feel for what you have to be replaced by feelings of envy, intimidation, bitterness and jealousy.
Jealousy can take many forms. Sometimes you feel it when you think your boyfriend or girlfriend is flirting with another person. Sometimes you feel it when you look at posts on Instagram because you think other people are living more exciting lives than us. And sometimes you feel it when someone at school, college or uni wins an award you set your sights on achieving.
What you should know is that it's not wrong to feel jealous, and you don't have to feel guilty about it. In fact, jealousy can sometimes provide you with the motivation you need to work harder and improve yourself or the situation you're in.
In summary, jealousy is a normal reaction we all experience for a range of different reasons, and the following 5️⃣ top tips can help you overcome it...
Jealousy and envy are two sides of the same coin. However, when you're feeling jealous, you're more likely to feel fearful, and when you're feeling envious, you're more likely to feel resentment.
For example, you might get jealous of a friend spending time with other friends because you’re afraid it might mean they don't want to be your friend anymore. But you might be envious of someone in your class who won an award at school, because you thought you deserved it more than they did.
So you see, jealousy and envy are different, and being able to identify which one you're feeling will ultimately help you to become more self-aware and bring you a step closer to overcoming it.
Jealousy is a feeling that can swallow you up quite quickly. It often causes a range of different physical reactions in your body, such as changes to blood pressure, heart rate, sweating and breathing patterns.
When these things happen, your judgement can become clouded and you're less likely to see the facts for what they really are. Noticing what's going on in your body can help to ground you, bringing you back to the present moment and help to clear your head.
Another way to help clear your head is (in the words of Taylor Swift) to literally shake it off! Punching a pillow, jumping up and down, going to the gym, or even taking a cold shower can help to calm your energy levels and put you back in control of your jealousy.
Sometimes, emotions like jealousy can stir up thoughts in your brain that aren't true. Recognising they aren't true and stopping them in their tracks can be easier said than done, however.
You could try a technique called 'taking your thought to court', where you assess all the evidence both for and against the thought you're having.
For example, if a thought you're having is telling you you're going to be the only one in your friendship group to fail a particular exam - before you start to get worried and jealous over something that hasn't't happened, stop and ask yourself what the evidence is for this thought to be true. Did you revise and prepare for the exam? Did you attend the same classes your friends did prior to the exam? Did you pass your mock test for this exam? If the answer to these question is yes, then clearly the evidence against this thought being true puts forward a much stronger case.
More often than not, jealousy is the result of something that has happened to you in the past. Sometimes what you think is bothering you is actually the tip of the iceberg, and underneath is a whole load of things that have happened to you that you've never really properly dealt with.
For example, if you've grown up believing your parents favoured your sibling over you, you're more likely to feel jealous of their achievements as opposed to wanting to support them.
Figuring out what's really bothering you can be tricky, but the more you reflect on how certain situations and people made you feel, the more self-aware you will become. This is essentially what a counsellor or therapist can help you to do, along with journalling and mindfulness.
In the end, emotions like jealousy and envy can serve as a handy way to push you to make positive changes. Whether that's to better yourself, or to improve the situation you're currently in.
Why not try cutting down the time you spend mindlessly scrolling through instagram pics and being more present next time you go out with your family? Or stop pushing yourself to get better at a hobby you don't enjoy, and find something you do enjoy doing instead!
Whilst you can't stop the feeling of jealousy from ever occurring, hopefully with these tips, you can feel a lot less guilty about it and have more control over how you choose to react to it.