how to obliterate the green-eyed monster

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Jealousy. I venture to say we’ve all felt it. It pulls at your heart strings. Nagging and breaking your spirit. It leaves a lump in your throat and a chip on your shoulder.

Ugly. Painful. Unnecessary. Normal.

So, to be jealous is to feel envious and to feel envious is to feel shitty because you want what someone else has. You want what someone else has for yourself. You may not want your sister’s husband, but you want your own husband. You may not want your best friend’s job, but you want a job that will make you feel alive too.

Like I said, we’ve all felt it and none of us enjoyed it. But sometimes it seems inevitable. What can we do today to STOP this unattractive green-eyed monster?

You can remember this: when you feel jealous of someone, you are focused on something good in this person’s life. You disregard the fact that you don’t know everything. How can you be jealous of your neighbor’s success when you don’t know what it took for her to get there? Are you also jealous of the stress-induced wrinkles and the sleepless nights and the failed marriage that she sacrificed to achieve her success? Even if she paints the picture that her life is a piece of cake, experience tells us that it is not. We know better.

Like the proverb says; before criticizing a man, walk a mile in his shoes. Before envying another man, walk a mile in his shoes. Just something to ponder as you navigate a mid-summer’s weekend.

No life is ever perfect. No one fully discloses the imperfection of their life. We keep secrets of failures and heartbreaks whereas we brag about our successes and our fabulous luck. Of course, there are exceptions. Those people who love to complain, who probably share more of the bad stuff than your average joe. But the general rule is that we prefer to advertise our fortune rather than our strife, rather than “keeping it real.”

My challenge for you and for me is to stop allowing ourselves to experience jealousy. Instead, we will congratulate others’ successes and harness this energy into achieving our own successes. Rather than being jealous, be inspired. If your co-worker can lose 10 pounds. So can you, it’s as simple as that.

Last Monday, I posted the video for Baz Luhrmann’s “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen).” That song has a few lines about jealousy that really struck a chord with me:

Don’t waste time on jealousy; sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself.

Go listen to it here. The way he says it makes me know that it’s true.

Do you ever catch yourself feeling jealous? If so, what usually sparks it? Is it another’s success, passion, drive, money, family, appearance, house, car, something else? What do you do combat these feelings?

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13 thoughts on “how to obliterate the green-eyed monster

  1. What a thought-provoking post! I struggle being jealous of people who have a lot of money. I drive a total beater of a car, have an ancient cell phone, etc. I try to keep things in perspective, though. I’m a homeowner, live in a safe neighborhood, and have enough to eat. In the grand scheme of things, I have it good! Thanks for visiting on my SITS day. I appreciated all of the great comments.

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    1. Ah, yes. It’s easier to focus on what you don’t have than what you do have, right? You certainly have a good head on your shoulders though. Never lose your perspective!

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  2. Great post Lucy. I definitely have jealous moments. My biggest problem is my confidence level. I beat myself up and take myself out of the game before I even get a chance to play. I see others with relationships and successes I’d like to have and am jealous but don’t do anything to change it because I don’t feel like I’m capable.

    I’m aware of my shortcomings and am working to improve, but it’s still there.

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    1. Oh, I know all too well exactly what you’re talking about. We call those “assumed constraints” and they are completely self-imposed limitations. You ARE capable. Know it, feel it, believe it! Glad you got something out of my post.

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  3. Thanks for stopping by my blog today and do hope you pass on the tips – there are 10 more every Thursday. Liked your blog about the green-eyed monster and so right on!

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  4. I certainly have! success, money, car, house, beauty, you name it.. but then I do a self-assessment and try to be more realistic. I tell myself that there are things I can achieved by working hard, there are things that I will never be able to get unless I was born lucky or rich.

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  5. I sometimes catch myself doing this with other new moms… I get jealous of how easy their baby seems or the fact they look great with all new clothes/all fixed up… and then I do realize “wait a minute,” I don’t bother with a lot of face time or buy new clothes because I just want to spend every minute with my son. That’s my tradeoff, and there’s just literally nothing to be jealous about at all. I could have those things, but it would be at a sacrifice… that’s their choice and that’s great for them, but certainly nothing for me to be jealous over (as if I couldn’t do those things if I wanted), as you said, it’s just a choice. My son is a bit crazy-busy often, but I’m so proud of who he is I wouldn’t change it for a second. But I suppose there are moments where I ‘momentarily’ lose it, and wish things were easier =)
    My life is perfect, and I just couldn’t have it any other way. I’m not sure about fate, but I swear it just feels like there is a reason why everything is the way it is, and it’s perfect. Even the hardships, there for a reason, it’s perfect. BUT surely hard to remember when IN the hardtimes.
    I’m addicted to your blog right now, can you tell?

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    1. You are an extremely attentive, sweet, loving mama and Haven is extremely adorable, smart, lucky, and demanding. I have a feeling other mamas are looking at YOU with jealousy. Which is also sad because jealousy is a yucky emotion. No one wants to feel jealous. I’m glad you are able to see why it’s pointless and unnecessary.

      The only thing I worry about is that you don’t give yourself enough time. You are almost TOO giving. Which is better than being selfish, but a better balance between the two might be healthier (although balance is so tough sometimes, which I know just a well.) You want Haven to grow up to be respectful to others (especially women) and himself. So you should set a good example by respecting yourself and your needs!

      But everyone has their own parenting styles. And yours is wonderful!

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  6. You are an extremely attentive, sweet, loving mama and Haven is extremely adorable, smart, lucky, and demanding. I have a feeling other mamas are looking at YOU with jealousy. Which is also sad because jealousy is a yucky emotion. No one wants to feel jealous. I’m glad you are able to see why it’s pointless and unnecessary.

    The only thing I worry about is that you don’t give yourself enough time. You are almost TOO giving. Which is better than being selfish, but a better balance between the two might be healthier (although balance is so tough sometimes, which I know just a well.) You want Haven to grow up to be respectful to others (especially women) and himself. So you should set a good example by respecting yourself and your needs!

    But everyone has their own parenting styles. And yours is wonderful!

    Like

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