It starts innocently enough after scrolling for ten minutes on Facebook or Instagram while sipping your morning latte. You see one friend is living in Bali with her gorgeous husband, another has lost 30 pounds and another is having outrageous success in their business. It's just another day on social media. We all have a window into the lives of others. We see pictures of bonfires on the beach, new babies, frolicking family gatherings and hip lifestyles that can make us wonder why we missed the bliss train.
Your sunny mood downshifts and you start looking up flights to Bali.
Jealousy sits perched like a bird of prey on our shoulder ready to pounce on our every insecurity. We can imagine that the good fortune of others is proof of our own bad fortune. The experience of jealousy can suck us down a black hole where we believe we are less lucky, less loved and less valuable than others. If we aren't careful, social media can become proof of our worthlessness and powerlessness and threaten the very core of our emotional well-being.
Here are 3 ways you can transform jealousy and take your life back.
1.) Stay in your lane
When we are jealous, we are deeply invested in the story we are telling ourselves. Write down your story, such as:
They are ___________________________________
I am ____________________________________
I wish I was __________________________________
I am convinced I would be happy if I had _____________________
Like a fun-house mirror at a carnival, jealousy distorts how we see ourselves and others. If you take a close look at your story, you will realize that it is an illusion of smoke and mirrors. First, you imagine the person is happy, but you cannot be 100% sure of this. They are only showing you an image of happiness - a small fragment of their existence. You also can’t be sure that you would be happy in their shoes. The grass only appears greener on the other side.
Happiness is a choice we make, not an idea we chase.
We all have our own unique path to walk. Have faith that there is purpose in your path and stay in your lane. In fact, be grateful for your journey. Focus on all the productive things you could accomplish in your unique life opportunity. Think of how much joy you could bring to others. At the end of your life, what matters is the influence you have had on the lives of others.
2.) Take responsibility for your happiness
The last thing we want to hear when we are jealous is to just let it go. Jealousy trips our crazy switch and all of a sudden we are three years old throwing a tantrum. We want what they have and we won’t settle for less. It’s a powerful feeling. But jealousy comes into our lives as a sign that we need to take full responsibility for our own happiness both inside and out.
When we feel jealous, it can show us our deepest desires and inspire us to accomplish our goals. It can also be the motivation we need to make some vital changes in our life. But it can also take us down a rabbit hole if we don’t know that happiness comes from within. If you’re not happy, changing the puzzle pieces around in your life won’t help. Do the necessary inner work to find out what is in the way of your happiness. When you do, you get the real transformation you seek.
- Stop imagining happiness is everywhere but where you are.
- Feel gratitude for your life as it is.
- Choose to open your heart to both yourself and others.
~ See the opportunities and blessings that are at hand.
~ Bring closure to parts of your life that weigh you down.
3. May all beings be happy and free
A primary Buddhist teaching is to actively wish for the happiness of others. “May all beings be happy and free.”
This is sage wisdom. The truth is, everyone struggles to get through this thing called life even if it does not appear that way. It only makes sense to wish everyone well on their journey. Instead of letting someone else’s good fortune make you feel bad about yourself, flip the script and wish everyone the best. When you wish the best for everyone, a magic takes over in your life. Every day, you choose self-acceptance and compassion instead of envy and comparison.
Happiness is a gift that only we can only give to ourselves. When we know this, jealousy can’t invade our lives and steal our joy. If a trip to Bali was the key to happiness, everyone would live in Bali. The truth is, happiness can only be found by inside our own heart.
Now that is a trip worth taking.
Be bold, Be brilliant and be you!
Joy Balma, MA, MA is a women's leadership mentor, personality type expert and bestselling author. She is the founder of The Good Girl to Goddess Academy where she helps women rock their personality strengths, own their power and fulfill their potential. www.joybalma.com