For more than 27 years, I lived undiagnosed with Pure O, a form of OCD that is associated with horrible intrusive thoughts.
It strikes in almost an instant—through a simple post on social media or through the convoluted familial grapevine about your cousin’s engagement—and you’re almost worried others can see the green color flushing your skin, can feel your heart sinking and can sense your immediate feelings of inadequacy. Your internal stream of consciousness begins to fluctuate wildly between obsessively affirming what you’ve accomplished to hastily demeaning the other person’s attributes, all in a desperate, immature attempt to remain on an even keel.
Whether it’s over something as petty as your friend’s amazing new dress she just bought for the holidays or a promotion at work that you thought you rightfully earned being awarded to a co-worker, jealousy is an unavoidable emotion speckled with negativity, resentment, and in extreme cases, obsession. We’re only human. Oftentimes you can even be perceived as weak, insecure or unhappy by others if you frequently experience feelings of jealousy—who wants to be around a jealous person?
Instead of letting jealousy overrun you until you’re interpreting your co-worker’s newfound power as an evil ploy to turn the office against you and abolish casual Fridays, try turning this notoriously negative beast of an emotion into positive fuel. Not only to persevere, but also to maturely and honestly address why you’re feeling this way in the first place. Instead of sitting in your self-created dungeon wallowing in negativity and spite, confront it. Don’t be that jealous person.
1. Be the bigger person.
Instead of sitting in the corner exuding envy as a dubious onlooker, congratulate your foe. It may splinter your insides and make you want to vom, but your reputation and maturity can be salvaged by this simple cease fire.
2. When the worst is over, take time to think about what this feeling means.
Do you want what this person has? Why? Is your jealousy derived from a trivial competitive need or a genuine insecurity? If this is something you truly want, how can you get there? Make an actionable to-do list for yourself. Make a plan. Even if another’s achievement isn’t exactly what you want, how can you work towards achieving one of your personal goals?
3. Consider the facts.
Are you jealous of your friend who just got an awesome job as a graphic designer when you majored in biology? You need to realize that you can’t do everything. Yeah, you have other interests that sometimes appeal to you as well, but if you’re currently in grad school to pursue your dream of being a doctor, then you win too. Focus on your goals at hand and don’t get distracted by other people achieving theirs. If anything, this should just show you that it is possible.
4. Instead of regarding your object of envy as a scheming liar, what can you learn from them?
Jealousy can mask reality and turn an otherwise admirable feat into an unwarranted identity crisis. Climb off your delusional horse and see them for what they really are—an honest, smart human being who achieved something that you admire. Maybe they stayed at the office late more often than you did. Maybe they went the extra mile with your boss while you stared at your computer while secretly looking at Pinterest. What could you have done, and what can you do in the future to get to where you want to be? Regard this person as a reality check and a motivator instead of an enemy.
5. Realize that in a way, jealousy comes from focusing on what you don’t have instead of what you do.
Yes, this person may have gotten promoted, but maybe you’ve made a ton of new friends at your new job and they haven’t quite assimilated. Don’t make this a petty game of “100 reasons I’m better than you!” but instead learn how to focus on the positives. Nothing good can come from wallowing in self-doubt, inadequacy and negativity. Remember your accomplishments instead of just reprimanding others for theirs.
Reprinted with permission from Thought Catalog. Want more?