Jealousy is often seen as a negative emotion or a bad trait to have. It is usually synonymous with actions such as revenge or bitterness especially when it triggers a certain energy within someone. In romantic scenarios, the idea of someone being jealous of their partner talking to another person is a typical example. Or perhaps you see someone else with something you desperately want but don’t have.
Jealousy can lead some of us to make decisions we later regret or at least cause us to become cold and bitter. But there are also times when experiencing that feeling of envy can flick a switch inside of us. That yearning for something we don’t have can trigger us and fuel that determination to get what we want.
So can we look at jealousy differently? Can it actually be a good thing to feel envious? Could we use envy and jealousy to our advantage?
The Subtle Difference Between Jealousy and Envy
Jealousy is a natural emotion yet it’s been condemned by all cultures throughout history. It tends to be perceived with a negative charge with ultimate destructive tendencies either to other people or more likely just to our core selves. But while the negative energy can reside in envy, it can also be the basis for construction and motivation in our focus.
Small amounts of jealously can actually keep a relationship together or inspire us to be more attentive with our actions.
So why do we even have the ability to feel these emotions?
According to David Straker, author of Changing Minds, jealousy is primarily about our reaction to loss. When you are emotionally attached to something and it’s perceived as taken away from you or threatened to be taken away, your reaction is one of hurt and anger.
Envy is more focused on what you don’t have. You may see someone with something you want and envy that person. The amount of envy you feel is relative to the amount of unfairness you feel about the situation and this negative energy is often aimed proportionally at the person in question. It can then spiral into inferior feelings of unworthiness and so the result is to justify things staying as they are instead of using it as motivation to achieve more.
When we break it down, envy is rooted in fear. It’s the fear of feeling weak, powerless or less-than. Advertisers all know about this and tap into the envy lurking in our subconscious to get us to compete with others and spend money to essentially keep up with the Jones’.
There’s an interesting quote from Helmut Schoeck’s book, Envystates: “Envy is a drive which lies at the core of man’s life as a social being, and which occurs as soon as two individuals become capable of mutual comparison.” He also notes, “It is the great regulator in all personal relationships: fear of arousing it curbs and modifies countless actions.”
Often, if someone shines a spotlight on an accomplishment of ours there’s a need to counteract this by us mentioning some misfortune to balance it out. The negativity around envy is born out of comparisons which only become stronger within a close-knit society and people with similar and comparable backgrounds to us.
How The ‘Flaw’ of Envy Can Be a Good Thing
It’s important to perceive envy as an indicator to where your focus is and where it’s guiding you. It’s an opportunity to stand back and re-evaluate your mindset and what you want in life.
What is this feeling of envy telling you? Is there a certain direction you want to follow? Why are you having these feelings?
Understand that when you feel envy, it’s not about the other person or circumstance, it’s fundamentally about you. It’s time to question yourself – not in a judgemental way – but rather a means to focus on what needs to change within yourself in order to get what you want.
Envy is an illusion. It’s not about reality but all about our own perception. Once we understand this, we can use this as fuel for motivation and changing our mindset towards ourselves and our situation.
How To Use Envy To Your Advantage
When feelings of envy come up in your life, question yourself.
- What can I learn from this person’s success?
- What’s been stopping me from thinking bigger with my life and not achieving what they’ve achieved?
- Have I set the right standards for my own success? Have I appreciated what I’ve already achieved or have I just dismissed milestones? Am I not getting recognition because I’ve been envious of others rather than recognising their successes positively?
Embracing our negative emotions is key because they’re there to show us changes we need to make. Envy and jealously opens up doors that we need to acknowledge and walk through.
When we realise envy is more about us we can understand that it’s really us acknowledging other’s fortunes instead of our own. Jean Vanier stated that, “envy comes from people’s ignorance of, or lack of belief in, their own gifts.”
Therefore the best cure for envy is prosperity and the best thing about envy is the opportunity for motivation and change in your life. If you’re feeling the emotion of envy strongly, it may be an important indicator to let you know there are perspectives about your own life that you need to re-evaluate. Use it for motivation and positivity rather than the negative and powerless charge we’re led to believe it is.
“How do I change my life?” If you’re asking this question, remember that the one constant thing in our life is change. The more we resist it, the tougher our life becomes. Instead of avoiding it, ask how you can change your life to work with the changes happening around you.
We are surrounded by change, and it is the one thing that has the most dramatic impact on our lives. There is no avoiding it because it will find you, challenge you, and force you to reconsider how you live your life.
Change can come into our lives as a result of a crisis, choice, or chance. In any situation, we are all faced with having to make a choice – do we make the change or not?
We cannot avoid the unexpected events in our lives. What we can control is how we choose to respond to them. It is our power of choice that enables us to activate positive change in our lives.
Acting on our power of choice provides us with more opportunity to change our lives for the better. The more opportunities we create to change our lives, the more fulfilled and happier our lives become.
If you’re wondering how to change your life, here are 10 things that you can do to get started.
1. Find Meaning
Spend some time trying to sort out what is important in your life and why it is important.
What is it that you want to achieve in your life? What are your dreams? What makes your happy?
Your meaning in life gives you purpose and sets the direction of how you want to live your life. Without meaning, you will spend the rest of your life wandering aimlessly with no direction, focus, or purpose.
If you’re not sure where to begin your search for meaning, check out this article.
2. Create a Dream Board
When we were children, we would daydream all the time. We were skilled at dreaming and visualizing what we would be when we grew up. We believed that anything was possible.
As we grew into adults, we lost our ability to dream. Our dreams became hidden once we started to feel like achieving our dreams was impossible.
A dream board is a great way for you to start believing in your own dreams again. Seeing your dreams every day on a dream board brings them life. It will also act as a daily reminder to refocus your energy and direct it toward what you really want to achieve.
3. Set Goals
Once you know what is important in your life and what your dream life looks like in the long run, you need to take action and set your long-term, medium, and short-term goals. Acting on these goals will enable you to achieve your dreams and change your life.
Remember that your goals may change. Always be flexible with setting and achieving your goals as things in life change, and your goals need to reflect these changes. It’s the small steps that you take that create the momentum when you’re learning how to change your life.
4. Let Go of Regrets
Regrets will only hold you back in life. If you spend all your time thinking about the past, you will miss the present and the future.
You cannot change what you did or did not do in the past, so let it go. The only thing you have control over now is how you choose to live your present and future life. Each time you experience a negative thought about your past, challenge it.
If you want to have some fun and visualize letting go of your regrets, try writing down each regret on a piece of paper and then burying it in your backyard or burning it in a bonfire with friends.
5. Do Something That Scares You
This is all about you choosing to step out of your comfort zone and see limitations from a different perspective.
Public speaking is one of the most frightening things anyone can do. I was petrified of public speaking; however, I knew that I wanted to be a motivational speaker. So I joined Toast Masters to overcome my fear of public speaking.
My first speech was terrible. My knees were knocking, I broke out in a sweat, and I couldn’t stop shaking. But I did it, and the feeling of completing the speech was better than I ever expected. I chose to keep going, and now I earn a living as a motivational speaker.
Make a list of scary things that you would like to do but are too afraid to. Start small, put a plan in place, and then go do them. Never stop doing scary things if you genuinely want to avoid complacency and comfort and change your life.
6. Start Living a Well-Balanced Life
Our health does not remain the same. Our physical, emotional, and spiritual state changes as we get older. What we can control, however, is how we feed our minds and our bodies.
Living a balanced and healthy life builds our resilience to the physical changes of our body. Exercise is the best way in which we can attain a positive and optimistic attitude toward life.
Living a healthy, well-balanced life with lots of exercise is a lifestyle choice that will give you a happier and more fulfilled life. Exercise is an incredibly powerful tool that will improve your life and help you feel good.
What kind of exercise is best? One recent study found that patients with mild to moderate depression experienced similar decreases in symptoms regardless of whether they participated in light, moderate, or vigorous exercise groups. The bottom line: just get moving.
If you’re wondering how to ensure a well-balance life, take a look at this guide: The Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life
7. Face Your Fears
It’s easy to ignore our fears and hope that they will go away. Unfortunately, it does not work like that.
If you want to change your life, learn to master your fears so they can’t control you any longer. Whether it’s a fear of failure, loneliness, or the unknown, it can stop you from living your life to the fullest. We know when our fears are controlling our lives because we feel discontent and unfulfilled.
Once we face our fears we take back our power to choose how we want to live our lives and when we do this we change our lives forever.
Learn how to face your fears with this guide: How to Overcome Fear and Realize Your Potential (The Ultimate Guide)
8. Accept Yourself
The only person who is going to change your life is you! To create that change, you have to like yourself.
There will be times in your life where you will face rejection, and there will be people who will not like you or your choices. Accepting who you are and loving yourself despite adversity helps you to move forward in your life.
Find your courage, love yourself, and step out and do something crazy. Don’t worry about what anyone thinks or whether it is the right thing to do. If it feels right, act on it and go create the life you love.
9. Live in the Moment
Many of us tend to think that the grass is greener on the other side. Often, we get to the other side of the fence and find that this is not so.
The motivation to change our lives comes from our desire to be happy. We are often so busy focusing on our pursuit of happiness that we miss the joy of actually living in the moment.
Our desire to have happiness in our lives is a desire of a future state, not of the present. We become so consumed with all our problems in the present that we miss the precious beauty of the moment.
Sitting on the beach eating an ice-cream with your best friend is a moment of happiness. Appreciating and showing gratitude on a daily basis is experiencing happiness in the moment. Helping those in need brings us joy and happiness.
This is what living your life in the moment is all about – don’t miss these moments because you are too busy focusing on your pursuit of happiness.
If you want more tips for this, take a look at this article:
10. Experience the Joy of Learning
Each time you learn something new, you gain more knowledge, and with more knowledge comes more confidence.
Learning new skills helps us to be more adaptable in new situations. It also encourages us to be more creative and innovative in our thinking, and we are, therefore, more comfortable with the unknown.
Reading is a great way for us to learn. To fully embrace the joy of learning, pick up that novel you’ve heard so many people talking about. Once you find the genre that interests you most, devour as many pages as you can.
The Bottom Line
You have a choice to make as to how you want to change your life. Choosing to act on these 10 things will help you get started as you seek to improve various areas of your life. Go at it with a positive attitude and remember that change takes time. Life starts when you decide to change!