M: Beth is jealous of her best friend. She knows it’s not good but she can’t help it. What can she do to rid herself of this feeling? First, Beth has to recognize that jealousy is not just a feeling. It is also a reaction to something that she knows or thinks is lacking in her and which she sees or knows her best friend possesses. The usual suspects—her best friend is visually more appealing, financially more rewarded or romantically more fulfilled. Beth has to acknowledge where her envy is coming from and get it out of her system. How? Talk to her best friend about it because if she won’t get it out, jealousy will fester in her heart and it will eventually strain their friendship.
DJ: I did research and learned that envy and jealousy are often mixed up. They’re similar in the sense that they’re influenced by insecurities. But they’re quite different. While envy is about wanting what someone else has, jealousy is about being worried that someone is trying to take what one has. Reading Beth’s email gave me the impression that hers is a case of envy. But whatever it is, I honor her for taking a good hard look at her shortcoming to get past it and become a better version of herself.
M: It’s difficult to admit that you are jealous of someone especially if you are aiming to be better than the other person. Competition is not just in sports or business but also in relationships. We compete for the attention of our parents, for the acceptance of our peers, for the approval of our superiors or mentors; we even compete with our own selves! There is nothing wrong with competition or comparison but taken to the extreme, it can get in the way of personal growth and self-worth. Beth, try to see the good in yourself. Focus not on what you don’t have but on what you are blessed with. Having an attitude of gratitude can change your outlook and disposition.
DJ: It also helps if she nips it in the bud the moment it starts to rear its ugly head. What’s cool is she has successfully labeled this negative emotion. She can already detect it as it gradually seeps into her consciousness. This works particularly well when combined with my next point—focus on something more productive. The mind can only process one thought at a time. If she chooses to concentrate on something positive—she’ll cut the time off from this drama and keep it from gaining momentum. My last suggestion is for her to avoid comparisons at all cost. We are all different and unique. But we are all created equal in the sense that we each come with strengths and gifts.
M: We all have, at some point, felt insecure about ourselves and felt jealousy or envy on what we see or think that others have that we do not have. It is not a good feeling. But we can decide not to continue to feel that way. It is inevitable that there will always be someone better than us. The key is not to keep thinking that they are better but to keep doing something about ourselves so that in our own eyes, we are getting better every day.
DJ: We all have weaknesses and I won’t guarantee that Beth will never feel jealous again. But as she becomes more aware of such negative emotions, she’ll be able to manage them better, taking small incremental steps at becoming a better person.