Q: I want to know how to stop jealousy and bitterness from ruining my friendship.
I’m jealous and bitter of my friend’s happiness and success but I don’t want to be. How can I be loving, compassionate and grateful when my life is falling to pieces? I’m stuck in a life that doesn’t fit, but circumstances mean that I will be in this life for the foreseeable future. My desire to live authentically and with purpose is overwhelming but I have to live and work full-time in a concrete jungle. How can I deal with the ensuing soul loss? I’ve become hateful, jealous, depressed, frustrated and untrusting. Something has to change in my life but nothing is moving. Affirmations and gratitude books are incredibly hard work and I can’t keep them up for more than a couple of days. What else can I do? I’ve been told that my heart chakra is blocked. Thank you.
– Natalie, England
Perhaps you have also experienced the green-eyed monster of jealousy in your life to devastating depths. Like me, you may have found yourself consumed in a mixture of lust and rage for what another person has … but you don’t know how to let go of these feelings or even how to move on with your life. If this sounds like you, and if you would like to learn how to stop jealousy, keep reading.
A: How to Stop Jealousy? Don’t Try to Stop It.
The truth is that no matter how much you want to NOT experience jealousy and bitterness, no matter how many spiritual books you read or affirmations you say, the truth still remains: you continue to experience jealousy and bitterness lingering in the background. Why is this the case? Because you are not allowing yourself to fully experience and consciously respond to the emotion. Your knee-jerk response, like everyone else, is to run away from jealousy, deny it, or try to smother it with pretty-sounding philosophies and teachings. This is by no means your fault; it is what you have been taught. But there is a better way, and that is the path of surrender.
How can you surrender to negative emotions like jealousy without letting them tear your life apart? Here is how:
1. Find a quiet place to spend alone. Ensure that your solitude is uninterrupted and the setting is peaceful (an empty living room, your garden outside, etc.).
2. Allow yourself to feel your emotion, but this does not mean indulging in it. Contemplate it and explore its source. For example, you may find that the source of your jealousy is your friend and his/her perfect life. But is that really the source, and do you really know that your friend’s life is perfect? Going deeper you may find that what stimulates your jealousy is how happy and accomplished they appear. Going deeper you may find that you resent them for that because you lack what they seem to have. Going even deeper, you may reveal a hidden belief you have about life, that in order to be happy you have to have the perfect job … and so forth.
3. Explore what important lesson the emotion is trying to teach you. Remember that other people mirror how we feel about ourselves. For example, at the root of jealousy is fear and sadness. So if other people make you jealous, you are only really fearful and pessimistic about your own sense of self. How can the feeling of jealousy act as a catalyst of change in your life? Any negative thing in your life can be alchemized into something positive if you let it. For instance, I’ve let jealousy in my life teach me about how I can improve both internally as a person, and my external life. Other emotions, like resentment towards other people, have taught me about my tendency to hold grudges against myself and how I am my own harshest critic.
4. Learn to be a conscious observer of your emotions. You can never stop experiencing negative emotions – even enlightened Masters continue experiencing them. The difference is that they do not attach to their emotions: they simply allow them to rise and fall like waves in the ocean. Ask yourself, “Am I this emotion?” Yes, you experience the emotion, but is it really “you”? An emotion is an emotion: it comes and goes, rises and fades. When you remain aware of this, so-called negative emotions such as jealousy and anger no longer have a life-shattering impact: they just happen. And if anything, their appearance in our lives serves as a teacher revealing our hidden beliefs, expectations and ideals. To learn more about this read: 6 of the Most Powerful Questions to Ask for the Awakening Soul
5. What toxic habits and environments can you replace in your life? You may think that your workplace is toxic … but is it the workplace that is toxic, or your thoughts about it? A concrete jungle is a concrete jungle. It is neither a “good” or “bad” place. Rather, it is your mental perceptions that judge it as good or bad, and consequently it is your thoughts that create your misery. You can approach your life situation as an opportunity to grow, or as an opportunity to be defeated. And besides, what lasts forever? If you can change your circumstances, do so, but be aware that a fault-finding mindset will always be unhappy wherever it goes. If you can’t change your circumstance, repeat the previous points that we’ve discussed and learn to re-frame your perspective. You can either be the victim of your reality or the hero of it.
6. Take time out from your friendships or relationships. Give yourself space to breathe. If you fear that you are on the verge of destroying something precious, let your friend or partner know that you need time alone to unwind and relax. This way, you will create a temporary buffer that will allow you to explore how you feel and what to do about it.
7. Supplement steps 1-6 with affirmations, chakra balancing, meditation, exercise, and other forms of self-help strategies that appeal to you. But keep in mind that these feel-good strategies won’t solve your problem, they will only temporarily relieve them. This is why taking the harder path is so valuable: it is less attractive and comfortable, but it is powerful and deep.
Read through these steps as many times as you need to let them sink in. You’re also free to bookmark this page, like, or share it if you feel it offers valuable advice that others could benefit from.
I’ve dealt with jealousy in my life numerous times, but I hope that with this information and these lessons I’ve learned, you can transform the way you approach jealousy and bitterness for the long-term.