If you let jealousy control your thoughts and behavior, you are destined to be unhappy. Here are ten tips to change your mindset.
1. Never compare yourself to others
If it gives you motivation, you can compare yourself to the person you used to be one, two, or five years ago. But that’s the only person you should ever compare yourself to. We are all unique, and we all have a different path, so why look at others to evaluate your own life?
If you base your self worth on whether you can or cannot model someone else’s existence, you have already lost. Life is about finding your own purpose; and if you haven’t found it yet, it’s okay. But don’t look outside to find it — listen to your inner voice, and…
2. Discover what you’re good at
You won’t be able to achieve anything significant as long as you focus on your negative traits. As a famous quote says: don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do. Once you discover and nurture your talents, you will no longer be envious of those of other people.
And despite what you may have been told, you don’t need to be generally good at anything to live a successful or fulfilling life. Each and every one of us has many weaknesses; and more often than not, the key isn’t to address those, but instead take care of our talents and focus on the positive.
3. Understand perfection doesn’t exist
Many fall into the trap of perfectionism. If you did, I encourage you to change your approach because it rarely leads to fulfilment. Those who think they need to excel at everything they do usually live a very difficult life; they tend to lose perspective and find it hard to appreciate anything.
And ultimately, perfection doesn’t exist. Ads or social media may have convinced you that it does (more on this in a minute), but if you were 100 percent objective, you would determine that there is no such thing, and that most of the things we see online aren’t perfect, but fake; or, they are extremely rare, yet advertised as “normal”.
Surprisingly, many of our thoughts are unhelpful, inaccurate, or incorrect. If you tend to be envious, for example, you may have the thought that “you are not enough”, or that “you are not as good as”. And despite being incorrect, they are very convincing.
Fortunately, we are not our mind, and we can learn to detach from our thoughts just like we can detach from a toxic person, or material objects. Meditation teaches you to do that, and if you have the consistency to practice it regularly, you will have a much clearer, healthier mind.
5. Be patient
As we’ve seen, comparing yourself to others is a sure way to be unhappy, and the only thing you should be focusing on is your own talents. But here’s the thing: discovering your purpose and building your skills doesn’t happen overnight.
So to stop being envious, and learn to develop patience. Don’t expect everything to work out instantly. Things take time, and to be fair, anything that doesn’t require you to invest time in it probably isn’t that great. Just like you’re not the person you used to be five years ago, your life will be completely different five years from now — but you have to be patient.
6. Take a break from social media
Your subconscious mind registers literally everything you see on a daily basis. So the more you feed it with images of seemingly perfect lives, the more your brain will assume that’s what normality looks like. Seriously. Think of your subconscious as an entity that absorbs everything without perceiving it as good or bad, right or wrong, true or false.
Now, not all social media profiles display the kind of content that’s bad for your mental health. But if you tend to be envious, I encourage you to be careful whenever you are on social media; and if you know you spend too much time on it, take a break.
7. Practice gratitude
When it comes to happiness, few things are as powerful as gratitude. Remember: you want to focus on the positive — what you can do, and what you do have. Ideally, you want to practice gratitude as a habit, and notice the good in your life as often as possible.
Alternatively, start a journal where you note down things that you really appreciate and that make you happy every single day. I guarantee it won’t be a waste of time. Once gratitude becomes part of who you are, you’ll automatically stop being envious.
8. Avoid seeing ads
Just like the content you see on some social media profiles, ads can affect your thoughts and feelings even when you don’t realize it. But the thing with advertisements is that, usually, they are designed to make you feel incomplete, or insecure — so you can buy a particular product or service.
They are also designed to grab your attention with bright colors or facial expressions that trigger feelings of surprise, anger, embarrassment, or fear. Whenever possible, avoid seeing ads because their purpose isn’t to make you feel better about yourself.
9. Help others
When you volunteer or help others, you realize that you’re in a much better situation than you thought. It’s also a way to direct your energy toward the outer world rather than your own thoughts which, as we’ve seen, aren’t always helpful.
Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.— Eleanor Roosevelt
10. Understand everything happens for a reason
The last thing you need to keep in mind if you want to stop being envious of others is that everything, including negative events, happens for a reason and will lead to a certain outcome — even if you don’t know yet. Sometimes you just need to have faith that eventually things will work out, because they will.
I’m sure you can think of an event in the past that caused you pain or frustration momentarily, but then led you to a better life, or a better version of yourself. So if right now you’re envious because you don’t like the situation you’re going through, think long term and accept the fact that even though this situation may be uncomfortable, it still has a purpose.