Jealousy can make us resentful, ungrateful, and bitter. It's not a fun feeling, but all of us experience it every now and then. Next time jealousy creeps up on you, break it down to turn it into something more productive.
Photo by Antoine K. Over at the Simple Dollar, writer Trent Hamm recommends addressing jealous feelings directly by breaking them down. Try what he calls the "five whys":
The whole issue of jealousy comes down to desire. For some reason, whether you consciously recognise it or not, you desire something that the other person has. You want it in your life. The question is, why do you want it in your life? I like to use the "five whys" when handling a question like this. Whenever I'm trying to answer a "why" question, I repeat it five times, asking it of the answer I come up with for each question.
He starts the "five whys" method by asking why do you want it in your life? For example, Hamm admits he's often jealous of a friend that takes international trips every year. He asks why he wants that for himself. During the process, he reveals that he wants his children to be able to travel, because he wants them to be well-rounded, because that's his job as a parent. At the core of his jealousy is his desire to be a good parent.
After addressing the root of your jealously, put it into action:
When you identify a particular strong desire that you have, step back for a moment and break it down into small pieces. Then, see if there isn't a way for you to address those smaller pieces in your own life. Again, let's take that international trip. What elements am I desiring when it comes to that trip? I want to expose my children to different cultures…. The thing is, when I start breaking that trip down into small pieces, I start seeing pieces that I can easily incorporate into my own life.
In Hamm's example, this might mean taking his kids on a local vacation to learn more about nearby cultures. It could also simply mean educating his children about other ways of life. Either way, he's less focused on jealously now and more on what he considers his duty as a parent.
In short, breaking down your jealous feelings can help you understand the core desire behind them. Once you get an idea of that, you can come up with a plan to incorporate that desire into your everyday life. Check out Hamm's full post for more detail.
Handling jealousy of other people's affluence [The Simple Dollar]