For many years I struggled with issues related to jealousy. They probably came from fears I got as I was growing up. I’m finally losing them, but I used to deal with some pretty huge self-sabotaging beliefs.
One of the ways that jealousy used to rear it’s ugly was when I would help others. I would help someone get what they needed and suddenly feel a pang of jealousy as soon as they got it. This was extremely pronounced when I helped out a friend of mine who was having difficulty with women.
He was caught in a negative mindset. He hadn’t been intimate with a woman in about a month or so, and when he did meet someone interesting he latched on and gave out an extremely clingy vibe. He was focusing so much on this one girl that he was letting a whole host of beautiful young ladies slip through his fingers.
I talked with him about how he needed to stop worrying about this one woman and get better with women as a whole. He had to stop blowing up this one females phone and get out there and explore! I explained how any one woman can blow you off but if you focus on women as a whole you are bound to succeed.
He used what I said. He realized that this one girl just wasn’t into him. He realized he had to move on. And, boy, did he move on.
Over the next couple weeks he began to see some serious success with women. I remember he kept bringing home gorgeous girls, all with amazing personalities! These were really, really, high quality girls he was spending time with. I had helped him see this success, and I felt really great about it. Not.
What I actually felt when I realized that he had been actually doing better with women than me was a sharp pang of jealousy. As soon as that third beautiful girl walked into our apartment with him I felt a nasty feeling come up in my chest. I was fine helping somebody out, but as my roommate exceled beyond me I didn’t like it.
As long as my roommate was worse than me with women I was fine helping him get better. If, however, he got better results than I did my mind suddenly switched into comparison mode. I began to see his success as meaning that I was less successful. The feeling went from one of wanting to help someone improve their life to one of competition, judgment, and comparison.
A friend of mine, Steve, told me that he felt similar feelings when he began bringing his fellow classmate to the gym. This guy was relatively out of shape and Steve felt great teaching him how to properly squat, bench press, and use the equipment around the gym. Then, one day, this ‘out of shape’ friend was able to bench press more than Steve.
What followed was a wave of jealousy, Steve was okay helping a friend improve but as soon as he got better than him he felt jealous.
Another time I felt jealousy was when I planned a networking event for the business men and women in Boston at a well known international MBA school. Over one hundred people attended, and while there, a friend of mine made an amazing connection with the president of the school.
I had planned the event so that people could make these connections, but as soon as I saw that my friend had made an introduction that I hadn’t made myself I felt jealous. Logically I knew it was silly, but the emotions still were there.
Feeling this kind of jealousy is foolish. If I become jealous every time a friend of mine has success then what kind of people am I going to gravitate towards?
If I don’t like spending time around winners I’ll find myself spending time with losers. (A.K.A. people who never see any successes!) If my natural state is to try to avoid people who are better than me then I am literally damning myself to a life of mediocre friends. I would never be able to become an expert in any area in life because I wouldn’t want to spend time with people who were better than me in that area.
After analyzing my relationship with jealousy I discovered that something had to change. If I didn’t alter my mindsets they would drive me into the ground. I did some reading online, and I found some information that has been helping me overcome jealousy that has been incredibly helpful.
I wouldn’t consider myself a hippie, but the mindset I decided to adopt does seem like it was created on some late night LSD adventure. It involves breaking down the barriers that you feel divide you from other individuals.
The main concept I adopted was seeing two separate individuals as part of one, large, overarching consciousness. Me, my friend who got better with women, Steve, and his out of shape friend are all just different windows that life as a whole experienced the world through.
When one person succeeds, the truth is that we all have succeeded. In this perspective, all life is really some unified, singular, organism. When one piece of that organism wins so does every other part.
Imagine it like this. I’ve just completed a big job and I get $50 slapped into my right hand. Should my left hand be jealous of my right for getting the money? Of course it shouldn’t! When my right hand succeeds so does my left.
They are both part of the same organism even though they may seem separate. The left hand should be happy that the right hand has gotten something good because this will also benefit itself!
I’ve been applying this kind of thinking to my daily life, and so far it’s been working! My friend becoming more successful with women only means that maybe he has something to teach me that I missed that will make me more successful. Maybe the amazing girls he meets have some other great friends who I would love to meet! A friend getting stronger at the gym will only motivate Steve to stay more fit and healthy himself. Helping a friend meet the president of an MBA school means that I have improved his life as well as mine simultaneously.
Sometimes, I still feel small pangs of jealousy when those around me do better than I do. They’re going away though, and the perspective change has really helped me keep my natural negative feelings from coming up.
Lately I’ve been able to really enjoy the successes of my friends without falling back into the competition/comparison mindset. I first started seeing this change after applying what I read in an article on jealousy written by a man named Steve Pavlina.
I highly recommend checking out his blog if you want to really see some more great ideas!