How to turn your jeal­ousy into a pos­i­tive

Re­becca Reid felt her jeal­ousy was con­sum­ing her – so she tack­led it…

Grazia (UK) - - CONTENTS -

A few months ago, a close friend got se­ri­ously fit, won a pay rise and bought a new flat. And in­stead of be­ing happy for her, I was bit­ter. I could hardly bring my­self to tell her how good she looked or how proud I was of her.

I re­alised my jeal­ousy was poi­son­ing me. I de­cided I needed to learn to use it as a force for good. I vowed that every time I felt a pang of jeal­ousy, I’d write down what caused it. If the same is­sue ended up on the list more than twice in a month, it was some­thing I needed to work on.

‘It can be healthy to use jeal­ousy to pro­pel your­self for­ward,’ psy­chol­o­gist Gill Bond told me. ‘Us­ing it to spur your­self and take ac­tive steps to­wards hap­pi­ness is much more help­ful than just look­ing at some­one else and ask­ing why they have things that you don’t have.’

Here’s your six step how-to guide to har­ness­ing jeal­ousy in a good way.

Use it to fo­cus your mind

Some­times, we don’t know what we want in life and jeal­ousy can give us guid­ance. For a long time, I would find my­self get­ting frus­trated with friends who could af­ford to buy homes. So, I spun that jeal­ousy into a plan. I found a rental with a more re­laxed dec­o­ra­tion pol­icy; be­ing able to paint was what I yearned for most. And I started to save in earnest for a de­posit, rather than chuck­ing a fiver in my sav­ings ac­count every six months, so now I’m on my way to own­ing my own place.

Do the work

One of the peo­ple in my life I envy most is a toned yogi called Jane. She seems to float through life and looks good in ev­ery­thing she wears. But ac­tu­ally, she works bloody hard for it. You need to recog­nise that the things other peo­ple have that you covet are prob­a­bly the re­sult of their life­style choices. You can em­u­late those choices, and you might well achieve sim­i­lar results, but you need to be clear about how much work you’re will­ing to put in and what changes you’re will­ing to make.

Use it as a com­pli­ment

Telling some­one you’re jeal­ous of some­thing they have is the purest com­pli­ment you can give. It’s a way of telling them how amaz­ing you think they are, and it’s ac­tu­ally re­ally hum­ble to ad­mit that you wish you could do or have the same thing. Try telling some­one that you’re jeal­ous of their pro­mo­tion, dress or re­la­tion­ship. They’ll be de­lighted.

keep a sense of per­spec­tive

We know what we see on In­sta­gram isn’t a re­al­is­tic rep­re­sen­ta­tion of peo­ple’s lives. It’s posed, air­brushed and posted be­cause it’s prob­a­bly a mo­ment out­side of the norm. Gill says, ‘It’s im­por­tant to keep a sense of per­spec­tive. Their life­style might seem im­pres­sive but it doesn’t mean they’re happy.’ Do you envy peo­ple’s friend­ship groups be­cause you’ve been lax in keep­ing up with yours? Does some­one’s wealth wind you up be­cause it’s been years since you asked for a pay rise? Use so­cial me­dia as an in­sight into your own life, not as some­thing to try to copy.

Boost your willpower

De­ter­mi­na­tion is easy to find but hard to main­tain. We’ve all sworn on a Sun­day night that we’ll batch-cook and fit in a 5k run every evening – then bought Pret lunches and had pub ses­sions by Wed­nes­day. I’ll never have killer willpower but now, when some­one sug­gests another bot­tle of rosé, I re­mem­ber the peo­ple I’m jeal­ous of and I ask my­self what they would do. Some­times I say ‘screw it’ and stay out, but some­times the thought makes me head home in time to get a de­cent night’s sleep.

ex­er­cise re­straint

The key to ‘jeal­ousy power’ is ra­tioning. There aren’t enough hours in the day to have the per­fect re­la­tion­ship, home, ca­reer and friends, topped off with a toned body and healthy self-es­teem. Work out what it is that makes you the most en­vi­ous. What do you strug­gle to con­grat­u­late friends on, even when you re­ally want to be able to? That’s where you need to put the work.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.