Feeling jealous? How to handle the green-eyed monster

Everybody gets jealous from time to time. Focusing inward, not outward, can ease those feelings. Credit: Jupiter Images
Everybody gets jealous from time to time. Focusing inward, not outward, can ease those feelings.
Credit: Jupiter Images

The question: Recently, a lot of my friends have been getting engaged, having babies and going on cool trips. Although I’m happy for them, I’m also envious. How do I deal with my jealousy?

A former dance teacher used to say, “Don’t bother comparing yourself to others. There will always be people better than you, and worse than you. The most important thing is to ask yourself, “Am I improving?”

Of course, this is often easier said than done. Not only are we constantly bombarded by advertisements preying on our insecurities, but recent studies show that social media sites actually feed jealousy by creating the illusion that other people are living happier, more fulfilled lives than our own. I say “illusion” because, as a Stanford University study seems to suggest, people often underestimate the discontent of others.

Most of us can expect to encounter the ugly green monster from time to time. And while we may never truly slay the beast, the following tips can help keep it at bay:

1) Acknowledge your jealousy without judgment. Envy is a universal human emotion that is at least as old as the Bible itself. The more you can own your feelings, the less likely you’ll act on them.

2) Get in touch with the aspiration and wishes underneath the envy. Are you jealous of your friend’s trip to Tuscany? Ask yourself what steps you might take to make travel plans of your own. It may take time, but setting an intention can point you in a positive direction.

3) Remember that each person has his or her own unique happiness recipe. Some people prefer roller coasters; still others would rather curl up with a book. Being attuned to your own life purpose, needs and accomplishments helps negate the need for comparisons.

4) Instead of comparing yourself to others, compare yourself to the person you were one year ago, five years ago or 10 years ago. Are you wiser, happier, more confident or peaceful? If so, take pride in your growth. If not, explore what has thrown you off course, or how you might improve your outlook.

5) An old saying goes, “Who is happy? He who is content with his lot.” Keep a daily gratitude list of the blessings in your life.

6) Volunteer. Helping those who are less fortunate will not only make you feel good, it will also keep things in perspective.

Kim Schneiderman is a psychotherapist and former journalist with a private practice in New York City. This column is not intended to be used as a substitute for a private consultation with a mental health professional, nor is this therapist to be held liable for any actions taken as a result of this column. If you have any concerns related to this column, make an appointment with a licensed mental health professional. Metro does not endorse the opinions of the author.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…

International

U.N. nuclear inquiry on Iran seen making slow…

The U.N. nuclear watchdog appears to have made only limited progress so far in getting Iran to answer questions about its suspected atomic bomb research, diplomatic sources said on Friday,…

National

Violence-weary Missouri town sees second night of calm

By Nick Carey and Carey GillamFERGUSON Mo. (Reuters) - The violence-weary town of Ferguson, Missouri, saw a second straight evening of relative calm on Thursday…

National

Journalist James Foley's parents, after call with pope,…

The parents of James Foley, the American journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Iraq, on Friday called for prayer and support to free the remaining captives held by Islamic…

Television

Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.

Music

Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm

Movies

Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.

Movies

Michael Chiklis on his football past and 'When…

Michael Chiklis remembers playing football in high school and how that prepped him to play a coach in "When the Game Stands Tall."

NFL

3 things we learned about the Giants in…

The Giants claimed the Snoopy trophy in a battle of MetLife Stadium tenants Friday night. But more importantly, the offense finally showed some life in…

NFL

3 things we learned about the Jets in…

The Jets lost the Snoopy Bowl, 35-24, to the Giants, losing the trophy and local bragging rights.

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…