Day 5: Fight off the ‘green monster’

Jealousy, which is also commonly known as the green monster, is one of the worst feelings to have. Jealousy can make you feel angry, resentful, frustrated, irritated, desperate, sinister and even depressed. But it’s a feeling we all know, some more than others, all to well. [Especially women!] Jealousy comes in all forms and can take hold of everyone, even the people we think “have it all” or seem to have their lives together. As Americans, we are known to strive to keep up with the Jones’, or feel inadequate if we can’t measure up to our neighbors, coworkers, best friends or strangers. Why jealousy is dubbed the green monster is simple. When jealousy over comes us, there’s really no saying what we won’t do.

I’m definitely not as jealous as some people [see picture above] but I do feel the negative emotion more times than I’d like. My jealousy stems from feelings of inadequacy and self conciousness, which are pretty detrimental to my self-esteem. My feelings of jealousy are tied directly to my finances, my current position in life and my body. When I see women who are perfectly thin and toned, I can’t help but feel jealous of their body type and then badly about how my own body looks. When I see/read people who are able to buy all of the things I desire [designer bags and shoes, a new car, a home] I too feel jealous of their success and start to wish I had more money, a better job, etc. These feelings ultimately lead me to feel inadequate about my own body, my own life goals, my own dreams and depressed and scared that I’ll never live up to other people. Just a small twinge of jealousy and I’m soon spiraling downhill in feelings of sadness.

If it’s not blatantly obvious already, these feelings are not conducive to a healthy mind or body. Feelings of jealousy lead to mental instability, which ultimately can have a negative effect on your physical stability as well. My feelings of jealousy towards women with perfect bodies has had very harmful effects on my own physical well-being, none of which I need to go into now. Either way, jealousy is a feeling that does not need to define me and frankly, I’m tired of the taste it leaves in my mouth.

So how do you fight off a feeling that can come out of left field? It all starts with becoming more self-aware and garnering some positive self-esteem. According to The Pathway for Happiness [www.pathwaytohappiness.com], there are five, fool-proof steps to take that will help eradicate these strong feelings of jealousy from your life.

1) Getting control of your emotions and refrain from the reactive behavior.
2) Shift your point of view so that you can step back from the story in your mind.
3) Identify the core beliefs that trigger the emotional reaction. [Why do you truly think you get so jealous of your sister? Does she have a good job? Good body? If so, how can you get those things for yourself?]
4) Become aware that the beliefs in your mind are not true. Your sister is not better than you because she has a higher paying job or is a smaller size. She is just in a different place in her life. There is nothing saying that you won’t have these things just because you don’t have them at this very minute.
5) Develop control over your mind and body so you can consciously choose what story plays in your mind and what emotions you feel.

Another key way to fight off jealous feelings are to replace them with positive feelings about yourself. Instead of comparing yourself to a thinner coworker, remind yourself what you have going for you, like your mind, your sense of style or your intelligence. Replace your feelings of inadequacy with feelings of empowerment. Another good way to overcome this feeling is to use these feelings for good. Instead of feeling bad about yourself because someone has a better body than you, use that to motivate yourself to hit the gym harder or eat better. Use their body as a motivational tool and push yourself to get a body like that instead of feeling like you will never have those abs or legs.

As human beings, we aren’t engineered to be perfect or always feel great about our lives. There are days when we are going to feel sad and inadequate, which are breeding grounds for jealousy. But these days and jealousy don’t need to take over our lives or our train of thought. It’s perfectly normal to compare ourselves to others, we just need to learn to understand that we are all different and our differences and flaws are what define us, and what make us beautiful.

 

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~ by therealnutritionist on April 17, 2010.

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