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How to Transform Jealousy into Success

By Debbie Mandel

Jealousy has been part of the range of universal emotions since the Garden of Eden and Cain and Abel. Both men and women experience it, however, usually for different reasons. Men seem to be more jealous about other menís material accomplishments: the better job, more prestige, the fancier house or car and the more beautiful woman. Women are generally more jealous about appearance, friendships and their childrenís academic and social performance. Some of us are more prone to jealousy, consumed by it, allowing it to chip away at our self-confidence and happiness. However, we can learn to overcome it, ultimately transforming it into a positive trigger for accomplishment like the old song: Anything you can do, I can do better!

Jealousy invades our hearts when we see someone accomplishing what we fear or doubt that we can do. That person mirrors are own perceived inadequacy. Consequently, we might become sarcastic with our friend or family member. We might act as a negative coach to the object of our jealousy and in so doing undermine ourselves. Consider it this way - we are not really jealous of our friendís achievement, but really disappointed in our own lack of initiative and courage. By cutting down our friend we think that we build ourselves up. However, we need to redirect our attention inward.

Jealousy underscores our lack of self-confidence as we play the part of the victim. Note that playing a victim gives us a perk: we need never assume responsibility for our actions and are therefore blameless. Jealousy is the emotional baggage of the victim who projects a failure outward instead of learning from it. Some of us have internalized this pattern from childhood in the form of sibling rivalry, ďMom always liked you better than me!Ē Or from school, ďThe reason I didnít do well on my English paper was because the teacher didnít like me.Ē Others are always doing it to us.

To empty your heart of the energy drain of jealousy here are some suggestions:
  • Are you sure that the other person who seems to have everything actually does? Thoreau said that people live lives of quiet desperation. When you think your neighborís grass looks greener, take a closer look to see the same weeds and bare spots.
  • Stop comparing yourself to others! You are an original.
  • Affirm the object of your jealousy. Today it his or her turn to shine; tomorrow it will be yours. Everyone gets a turn to shine.
  • Turn negatives into positives. Use your jealousy to jumpstart your internal transformation for self-improvement. In other words if he or she can do it, then so can I! Next, go ahead and do it better!
  • If someone becomes toxic to you because he or she is really pushing his personal success down your throat to purposely make you jealous, then change the subject, or remove yourself from that personís presence. Donít allow toxicity to invade your spirit.
  • List your 3 last successes. What personality traits did you incorporate to accomplish them? Now get ready to use those traits again!
  • The secret to success is the determination to achieve - not the determination to avoid failure. Donít hold yourself back and project it in jealousy.
  • Focus on the large goal you crave to achieve. Hang up a photo or a hero who embodies it and connect with that hero.

Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul, a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WGBB AM1240 in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: