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4 Steps to Tell Jealousy “Buh Bye!”

Jealousy. It is one of the WORST feelings to feel, at least for me.

Do you feel that way too?

Most of us did not grow up in a family that was self-aware, so when you first come to realize you are jealous, you don’t know what to do with it! It can either spin you into a rip-roaring downward spiral in which you harbor the emotion inside yourself, damning each one of your personal characteristics and sending yourself into silence and deep depression. Sometimes you stuff the darn thing away to try to forget it, but only to find it comes back out in an argument via word-vomit (I know, horrible visual on that one!). Or, and in my very recent case, it can send you floating upward and feeling untethered by negativity.

Say, what?!

Yup – the latest situation was a game changer for me.

You see, not too long ago, I noticed a friend following their dream. And I felt that instant kick in the stomach. The incessant flow of questions and comments flooded in and started ringing loudly in my ears:

I will never be able to do that.

How did they achieve their dream so quickly?

I definitely do NOT have the experience.

Do they have the experience?

I don’t deserve to dream – I need to focus on surviving.

Ugh, I can NOT believe THEY did it.

They don’t have everything down perfectly yet.

And on… and on… and on. You’d think that 5 hours had passed, when it was just 5 seconds!!

But then I quickly remembered, from years of my recent training (therapy!), that I didn’t need to let this crazy feeling get the best of me. After all, life is too short to feel crappy. Am I right? Here’s what I did to say “buh bye” to my jealousy:

Feeling upside-down from jealousy?

Step 1: Show Your Jealousy Some Lovin’

Yes, I just acknowledged it was there. I embraced it. I realized we ALL feel it, even humble people like me!

Unpleasant emotions are actually designed to help us exceed, not recede into a cave. Keep on loving yourself despite this emotion. Just this first step will decrease that stomach pang alone.

Step 2: Realize Thoughts Associated with Jealousy are FALSE Beliefs

Yup, every single one of them. Usually jealousy is hiding a truth underneath it such as a want or a need that you truly desire.

Start by just turning your negative thoughts into positive thoughts (sounds totally airy fairy right?!) Just try this out, even for just one thought!

Here’s how my thought pattern got rearranged:

Hey, I can do that!

I’m amazed at how they achieved their dream so quickly!

I DO have the experience too!

They definitely DO have the experience. I’ve talked with them extensively before.

I do deserve to dream and can survive seamlessly along the way. Poverty is a thing of my past!

I’m so happy for them that THEY did it!

Perfection is not real! How awesome that they just decided to GO FOR IT!

After you’ve flipped your thoughts, take a good look at what truth they were covering.

In my case, they were covering that I wanted to do something similar to what my friend was doing. HOLY MOLY!!!

With this mouth-dropping discovery, I thought, “Well, GRRREAT. What do I do now?” That takes me to our next step.

Step 3: Acknowledge Your Shame Around Jealousy

I’m reading a great book called The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown (shout out to my friend who introduced me to her!).

Brené, a research professor at the University of Houston (yay, my birth town!) and whose name rhymes with my own, confidently reminds readers to confide in a friend they TRUST immensely. When the right person is chosen, the shame around jealousy is diffused and normalized as the other person acknowledges they have felt that same way and will stand by regardless of mistakes or imperfections. (Check out Brené and Oprah's convo about it HERE).

In my unique case, I knew the friend I was jealous of was ALSO someone I could confide in. Lucky me for my first breakthrough! But don’t get me wrong, I’m not someone to share my emotions easily and it’s almost like pulling teeth to get me to open up about the real thick emotions. It’s an extremely delicate and very vulnerable experience for me. I’m sure you can relate.

Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness. ~ Dr. Brené Brown

I took a deep breath and called my friend. I told my friend the positive thoughts outlined above in regards to my excitement for their achievement. And then I added, “I have been thinking of moving in this direction for a while and you are an inspiration to me. I have to admit I felt a bit jealous for a minute there.” And just like that, my friend acknowledged how I felt and said they supported ME in moving in the direction that I wanted! The jealousy was diffused immediately!

Our stories are not meant for everyone. Hearing them is a privilege, and we should always ask ourselves this before we share: "Who has earned the right to hear my story?" If we have one or two people in our lives who can sit with us and hold space for our shame stories, and love us for our strengths and struggles, we are incredibly lucky. If we have a friend, or small group of friends, or family who embraces our imperfections, vulnerabilities, and power, and fills us with a sense of belonging, we are incredibly lucky. ~ Dr. Brené Brown

Step 4: Make a Change!

So you’ve realized that we all get jealous from time to time (no biggie!), that those hurtful thoughts are just loads of crap and you can do anything you want to (within reason, of course!), and that you can confide in a super-accepting friend to realize you aren’t alone in this topsy-turvy world.

What now?

Well, this is that pinnacle moment where most of us fall i