Being jealous isn’t always a bad thing.
It’s not unusual to feel jealous every now and then, when you see people you know (or even some you don’t) achieve success in ways you could only imagine. Or it could also be for ‘shallow’ reasons such as someone winning a big prize or getting whisked off to some fancy private island by the man of their dreams. It’s not all bad though, if you use this negative emotion to your advantage, jealousy could actually be good for you. Here are seven ways it helps you.
It motivates you
When you see what someone else has done and you wish you had that too – ie. you’re jealous of them – you’ll be more motivated to work hard to get those things for yourself too. Of course, this doesn’t apply in every scenario but if you’re jealous of things like a colleague getting a promotion, your friend going on that road trip you’ve talked about for ages (without you) or your sister putting down a deposit for exactly the type of flat you’ve dreamed about, it’ll push you to achieve similar goals, which is a good thing as you’ll work harder. As long as these issues don’t stress you out too much in your path to achieve them, it’s a healthy type of motivation that’ll do you good.
It makes you question yourself
When you feel jealous of someone or a particular situation they’re in, ask yourself why those emotions have come to the surface. Dig into yourself to assess the reasons why you’re feeling jealous and you’ll learn a thing or two about yourself. Is it because you want those things too? Or is it because you’re generally unhappy with your life and can’t bear to see anyone else happy? Once you’ve figured out the reasons, it might push you to change your life for the better. Or, at the very least, it’ll keep you in check if you come to realise that you’re jealous of others for no reason whatsoever and therefore have to change and try not to give out such negative vibes anymore.
You’ll follow positive examples
Let’s face it, we’re only ever jealous when good things happen to other people. So, if someone else has achieved some sort of success that you’re envious of or if they’re doing something so brilliantly interesting, you’ll be more interested in doing positive things so as to up your chances of accomplishing similar things. There are certainly worse things you could do in life than to follow positive examples so if you look at it this way, jealousy is good for you.
It pushes you to aim higher
Feeling jealous of what other people are up to could also be a reminder to you not to settle but to instead aim for better things in all aspects of your life. Even if you’re happy with your job, your personal life and your finances, for example, we could always do better in our lives and therefore it’s good to get a reminder every now and then about how there are more things that we want to achieve. We should never get too content that we get so comfortable with where we are in our lives and never want to try anything else that has the potential to fulfil us more.
It exposes you to new experiences
Picture this – someone you know has achieved something so mind-blowing that you experience a tinge of jealousy towards them. But, in addition, you also realise that hang on, you mean such things are actually possible? Jealousy could open us up to new experiences and possibilities and inadvertently aspire us to do or achieve things we never knew were actually imaginable. Make jealousy work for you by embracing other people’s achievements and making them something that you aspire to.
It shows you care
It’s also possible to be jealous in a relationship, and a little bit of it is healthy because it reminds you how much your partner means to you. The rationale here is simple – if you didn’t care about him, who he talks to or what he does with other people wouldn’t bother you so remember that you’re only reacting in this way because you feel for him. So don’t be so hard on yourself if you sometimes have pangs of jealousy when he’s talking to that hot waitress or hanging out with his female colleagues. But don’t go all psycho chick on your man and get in a strop the minute he talks to someone of the female species because that’s definitely not on.
It makes you grateful
Say you’re jealous of something a friend has achieved. After the initial emotion has subsided, take the time to assess what’s going on in your own life. Step back and evaluate what you have achieved, how far you have come and how you’re working towards your own goals. It’ll make you grateful for what you already have and, even if you want to attain what they have, you’ll still feel proud of your own achievements. Be good to yourself; always strive for more but don’t resent or forget what you have right now.
A version of this article originally appeared in www.herworld.com.