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“Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle, or your middle to someone else’s end.” ~ Tim Hiller
When you hear that someone is more successful than you, do you feel that pang of jealousy? Do you experience mixed emotions – happy for them but also wishing you had their success (or luck to be so successful)?
Or does the ugly green-eyed monster rear its twisted head and it’s full-blown jealousy because of someone else’s success?
So how to stop being jealous of others success?
It’s normal to feel some jealousy. However, when it takes over your life, causes you to spiral downwards, and the only thought on your mind is about the success of others (that you desperately want for yourself)… it’s time to reevaluate and get a grip on your emotions. Here’s how.
What Is Jealousy?
Often called the green-eyed monster, jealousy is an emotion where you feel angry, bitter, insecure, and/or unhappy because someone has something you lack, owns something you want, or is trying to take something away from you. The “threat” can be real or imagined.
Emotions like jealousy are just a feeling; how we react to what we feel and what we think about the emotion makes it negative and unhealthy or positive and healthy. In general, jealousy is seen as a negative, unhealthy, bad, or undesirable emotion. However, feelings of jealousy can inspire you to change or go after what you want.
Often, people don’t even know they are jealous because they may feel resentment, embarrassment, anger, inadequacy, overwhelmed, scared, abandoned, threatened, and hostile. Being jealous can also range in intensity.
Severe jealousy can become irrational, leading to paranoia, abuse, distrust, and physical violence.
Causes of Jealousy
There are various causes of jealousy. The most common ones are:
Jealousy vs Envy
Even though jealousy and envy are used interchangeably, these emotions aren’t the same. Both envy and jealousy are rooted in feelings of insecurity, and jealousy can turn into envy.
In short, jealousy is when you fear someone will take something away from you. You often feel resentment and anger when you are jealous. Jealousy is rooted in rivalry.
Envy, on the other hand, is the emotion you feel when someone has something you want, and it originates from comparison.
So when you are jealous of someone’s success or achievements, you can be both envious and jealous. You can be scared that the successful person will take what little you have (especially in their quest to become even more successful), which results in jealous emotions. Or you can want the success they have, thus you are envious of them.
Why Should You Stop Being Jealous of Other People’s Success?
It’s important to ensure that whatever you feel about other people’s success – whether it’s jealousy or envy, or even both perhaps – that you don’t let it get out of control and take over your life.
While feelings of jealousy and envy can be channeled for good, if they become unhealthy, it can have negative effects on all aspects of your life – your health, career, and relationships. You’ll find that it drains your mental strength and holds you back from what you want to achieve.
9 Steps to Stop Being Jealous of Other People’s Success
We can all relate to feelings of jealousy, and sometimes we get jealous with no intent of feeling that way. Still, it’s important to recognize when and if it goes too far.
If you ready to take the steps to stop the cycle, here’s how to stop being jealous of others success:
1. Cultivate an Abundance Mindset
Cultivating an abundance or a growth mindset has become a buzzword recently. When you have a scarcity mindset, you don’t think the resources (time, money, objects) you have are enough, and this leads to a “Lords of the Flies” mentality.
When jealousy accompanies a scarcity mindset, you may think that because your colleague is doing well at work and getting promoted, they’ll take success and opportunities to do better away from you.
It’s easy to think that everything in life is a once in a lifetime opportunity and that other people’s success means that you miss out and can’t enjoy success too. In all honesty, very few things in life are limited in supply.
Your time IS limited. And you have to ask yourself, “Do you really want to spend 60 seconds, 60 minutes, days, or weeks (or longer) resenting someone else for being successful or having success in that moment (because success is fleeting)?”
Adopting an abundance mindset, which is the opposite of a scarcity mindset, is when you see opportunity and growth everywhere. You believe that there is more than enough success, health, happiness, etc. to go around.
When you see the world from a place of abundance, you know that jealousy has no place. Of course, the occasional zap of jealousy may flow through your veins, but you’re human and not “perfect.”
You are happy for the person who is achieving their goals and you can release stress, fear, pressure, and worry that’s associated with thinking there isn’t enough for everyone.
2. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
Social media has made it so much easier for us to compare ourselves to others. We see other people’s success and good fortune in life in posts and picture-perfect photos that they share on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and other social platforms.
Stop, and question the success you see on those posts, and remember that people only show you what they want you to see. They want you to see them as a success so that’s what they share on social media sites.
You don’t see the blood, sweat, and tears (and probably some swear words) it took for them to achieve success. Then there’s also the flip side of the coin. People portray that they are successful, but are they really?
Is that fancy car belong to my neighbor? Are their children really that well-behaved? Does a 60-year-old really look that good if they aged naturally?
You can’t compete with other people; essentially, you can never win. Someone will also be happier, more beautiful, richer, and more successful than you.
It’s you against you in this life. You can only compete against yourself: who you were and who you want to be. Your journey is unique, and so is everyone else’s. Comparing your so-called non-success with another’s so-called success is futile and like comparing elephants with apples.
So to stop feeling jealous because someone you know is succeeding you need to stop comparing yourself to them (and others).
3. Accept Your Jealousy
Jealousy is just an emotion. It isn’t good or bad. It just is.
When you deny what you are feeling, it causes greater harm, as it starts to control your life. So take a moment to pause, sit with the emotion, and let it be. You can reach acceptance that you are jealous of other people’s success.
From there, you can delve deeper into why you are feeling jealousy, what exactly you are jealous about, and explore how to heal from your insecurity, fear of being left out, etc.
If you have a trusted confidant (a friend or a therapist), you can admit, feel, explore, and express jealousy authentically and discuss the causes for it. Otherwise, consider journaling or meditation.
When you accept the emotion, you have the power to move through it and change it into a positive experience. Ask yourself what you can learn from it, and remember, there is always a silver lining in each and every experience.
4. Find the Deeper Message
This step goes together with accepting your jealousy. It’s important to try and figure out why you are jealous or envious when someone else has a moment of success.
Do you feel threatened?
Do you think they are unworthy of success? Why?
What and how can I learn from what they’ve accomplished?
What can I do to heal from XX and let go of my feelings of superiority or inferiority?
Ask yourself questions until you uncover the reason for your jealousy. There is always a deeper message you need to find, which helps you grow authentically and develop on a personal level.
5. Remember That Life Isn’t Fair
There are things in life you may think are fair and other things that aren’t. It’s easy to generalize:
“I showed up early at work every morning and worked harder than anyone else; how can Lisa get promoted and not me?”
“I’ve been trying so hard to save some money to afford that nice car; how can Peter just go and buy it?”
“I’m just as pretty as Janet; why does she have a boyfriend and I don’t?”
We all generalize about what we think is fair and unfair in life. We have this idea of what we deserve compared to what we think other people deserve, and this only serves to waste time and energy.
Instead, you should learn to accept what you can and can’t control. Focus on you and being the “best you” you can be, and don’t keep score.
6. Count Your Blessings
Another way you can stop being jealous and/or envious of another person’s success is by counting your blessings. When you are jealous, you are focused on and counting others’ blessings and not your own.
It’s essential to be grateful for what you do have and to stop thinking about all that you don’t have (and what others do).
A 2018 study revealed that there’s a direct correlation between gratitude and envy (or jealousy). The greater your gratitude (even for the little things in your life), the less likely you are to be jealous and envious.
7. Define Success for Yourself
Firstly, your journey isn’t the same as anyone else’s on this planet. And secondly, no one has the same definition of success – not if they are honest with themselves.
Sure, you may see success as owning a fancy house, driving a luxurious ultra-modern car, being the CEO of a company or two, and having a romantic partner and 2.5 kids.
Or you can see success as getting out of bed each day, eating a healthy meal, exercising, training for a half-marathon and then running it (and not coming last), or even just finishing your to-do list.
So if you have your own view of what success looks like to you, how can you compare someone else’s achievements with your own and be jealous?
Reflect on success, your values, and what these mean to you. Write about it in your journal to explore this topic. Once you know what success is for you, prioritize and focus on that. That’s all that matters, not what other people are doing. They need to live their own lives for which they are responsible; you need to do you.
And when you feel those jealousy pangs, go back to your “success” definition, count your blessings, and focus on you.
8. See the Big Picture
When you see a post on social media about someone’s new shiny house or internal communication from your company about your colleague’s promotion, remind yourself that is just one moment of success for that person. It’s a mere snapshot of their lives.
You don’t know how hard someone worked to get that promotion and you don’t know how much another person had to sacrifice to afford a new house (or why they needed a bigger place).
It’s essential to zoom out and see the bigger picture. You don’t know about the crosses others bear or the challenges they face. So remind yourself that the success you see is just one tiny speck in their lives. And you too have your own challenges to overcome on your journey to success.
9. Channel Jealousy Toward Self-Improvement
Lastly, you can also turn your jealousy into a productive and positive emotion. Your feelings can alert you that there are things in your life you can attain, even if you didn’t know they were possible. Or jealousy can also motivate you to work even harder to reach success – that is, achieving your definition of success, not somebody else’s.
View life as full of opportunities to achieve and cooperate and even celebrate success that isn’t your own. It’s good to recognize that when other people work on their own goals and enjoy success they don’t take away, minimize, or diminish yours.
Focusing on yourself and your journey helps you improve yourself and grow as a person.
Final Thoughts on How to Stop Being Jealous of Other’s Success
Jealousy is a common feeling and one that we have all experienced at one time or another… and will likely do so again. Since we are human, it is only natural to feel upset, angry, insecure, or unhappy because another person is succeeding in life. In fact, they’re “crushing it” from where you stand.
But it’s essential to channel this emotion toward the positive and healthy so you can embrace an abundance mindset. Learn to focus on yourself and reach towards your own idea of success.
Still need a little push? Then here’s your next read on how to stop comparing yourself to others. Enjoy!
Finally, if you need help with building habits, then check out this nine-step blueprint that walks you through the entire process of creating lifelong habits.)