Real Talk

Jealousy Isn’t a Bad Thing – Learning How to Handle it in a Healthy Way

Growing up as an only child, jealousy is practically in my nature. Yes, that stereotype is real at least for me. Whether it comes to friends, relationships, material objects, grades, looks, or accomplishments (just to name a few), I have always found myself experiencing a little bit of jealousy towards others. But as I’ve dived deeper into my feelings to examine exactly why I experience jealous, I’ve also begun to come to terms with it in a way that I can prevent it from taking over. The most important distinction is the relationship between jealousy and trust. I started to realize that jealousy is what gives me my drive to accomplish goals and do better, but it was also affecting my ability to trust. Because I had been using my own jealousy to push others away, I assumed that others would do the same to me. This created a toxic, unbalanced mess between my jealousy and my ability to trust. This had to be put to a stop.

A wonderful theme in the background of the modern feminist movement on social media is “girls supporting girls”. So often girls are put against each other as opponents to be more desirable than each other. It makes little sense that we are taught to be jealous of pretty girls than to be jealous of successful girls. There’s a quote from a TED Talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie that captures this really well.

“… why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same? We raise girls to see each other as competitors, not for jobs or accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Recently, girls who are hating on other girls for their looks and accomplishments are being called out on social media and encouraged to uplift each other rather than put each other down. And while this idea is not new, having this network of support being enforced and connected by girls supporting each other rather than men telling us we should support each other is different. In a way, girls needed to figure out that we were capable of doing this on our own rather than being told to. This movement is a perfect example of how jealousy can be toxic, but then turned into trust. We can be jealous of each other in a way that makes us want to succeed on our own, not tear the next girl down. Because at the end of the day, no one can be better at being you than you can.

However, jealousy becomes a lot more complicated when it is intertwined into a relationship. My partner and I have conversations from time to time about how we are feeling and if we are experiencing any jealousy. We like to confront any potential issues way before they happen and I believe that has made us more trusting of each other in the long run. That doesn’t mean that I don’t get jealous ever so often though. I have always refused to let myself become controlling or be controlled because that is not the type of relationship I want to be in. But sometimes I still get jealous over things that I know are stupid. It’s funny how your logical brain and your emotion brain get into disagreements sometimes. Now that I’ve realized this problem and have started working on myself to create space in my mind to relax and not worry, things have started to get a lot better for me.

I still have a lot of room for improvement so my goal and resolution for 2018 is to work on addressing and confronting any negative emotions I am feeling about someone for “no reason”. This is especially important because I have chosen such a competitive career path (journalism), where you are constantly compared to others. Comparison is especially prominent for women in the industry because the prettier one will get to be on air. I want to feel secure in every aspect of my life and allow myself to be impressed with others. One person might be better at something than I am, and I am probably better at something than that person too.  Someone else’s situation, experiences, and/or accomplishments don’t minimize or inflate my own. My life is my life.

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