Comparison isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s ingrained in us; it’s a survival mechanism. Comparing ourselves only becomes detrimental when we’re encompassed by it, when it hinders us and makes us overwhelmingly resentful.
We know that jealous feeling. We may consume unnecessary seconds or minutes thinking about that person on Instagram with that “perfect” body or your friend who seems like her life is wonderful. That’s the hard part about these difficult feelings, when they’re more than fleeting, when we’re swallowed by them.
So, what can we do about it?
Here are some journaling exercises to cope with feelings of jealousy. It happens to all of us and it’s normal!
What are you avoiding?
When we're feeling jealous, we’re most likely focused on others. For some of us, we direct our attention on others because it’s easier than shedding light on ourselves. When this emotion arises, think about what are you insecure about and what it is that you want to change about yourself. Or maybe you do not actually want to change anything, but maybe it’s a question of, “What do I need to accept about myself?”
To clarify, let’s say that you’re focused on how someone has a big house and you find yourself feeling resentful. It’s totally normal. But in this case, maybe overwhelming thoughts come about--perhaps it’s a sadness that you don’t have that house. Or it could be that you’re working sixty hours a week and you feel as though you feel as though there’s nothing to show for it. Or perhaps there’s acceptance that might need to take place, that it might take longer for you to get that house or perhaps it’s that you just need to accept that you’re angry that that person has it and you don’t.
Understand your own expectations.
Do you expect yourself to be perfect? In what ways are you too critical on yourself? By seeking certain outcomes, from whom might you be trying to seek approval?
What recognition do you really need? Often we might want recognition from others. Why am I bringing up recognition? When we’re jealous or feeling insecure, we might really want confirmation that we are doing well or that we are working hard. In these fleeting moments of jealousy, there might be a part of us that wants that recognition that we might give others.
Are you HUNGRY, ANGRY, LONELY, or TIRED?
When we’re feeling resentful, maybe it’s our mental state that’s causing the raucous in our heads. We’re affected by how tired we are or the kind of week we’ve had. Reflect upon what types of situations that make you more vulnerable, and therefore more likely to experience these overwhelming feelings.
It's all relative.
There’s always someone who’s is going to be richer, smarter, more athletic, or whatever adjective that creates jealousy for you and there’s always someone who’s going to be on the opposite end. What are some things that others don’t have? Maybe you grew up with both parents or perhaps you have a pet dog or maybe you were able to attend college.
But the point of it is, what will help you gain perspective? Is it volunteering at a neighborhood thirty minutes away from you, where there’s more crime? Or the better question is, what is it that you have gained over the course of your lifetime? How can you compare yourself to you from one year ago? What is different? What have you learned?