How Unfriending the Little Green Monster Can Fuel Your Fire
Jealousy is inevitable, and it’s something that from a young age we are (or at least should be) taught to avoid so we can make it through adolescence and into adulthood without a psychotic breakdown. As we grow, we see others achieve success, sometimes more so than ourselves, or maybe they happen to have something we want so badly it hurts. And just like that the little green monster is welcomed with open arms. Jealousy is a loud, all-consuming asshole who unchecked causes us to self-doubt, self-hate, and demotivate.
Because we associate other people’s success with our own failure and shortcomings. It’s not enough that we are just jealous someone else got that job promotion… we have to add “instead of me” to the end of it. We don’t see these “failures” as opportunities to work harder, do better, find a job where the boss doesn’t pick favorites. No, instead, we beat ourselves up and tell anyone who will listen that “it isn’t fair”.
It’s okay to want things others have. It’s okay to see someone and think “wow, I would like to be that successful someday”. But jealousy doesn’t let us do just that. It makes us question why that someone was better than us, or luckier than us. It makes us doubt our skills and abilities and tells us we were never good enough in the first place.
Here’s the unfiltered truth: you are good enough, but your unhealthy relationship with Jealousy will keep you blinded.
Have you ever noticed how the more jealous you are of someone, the more you stalk their social media page? The more you talk about them, think about them, dream of being them? Well guess what that means… you’re not being the badass YOU can be.
When you are distracted by the little green asshole, it makes it impossible to get things done because you are wrapped up in someone else’s life. You will never be them, so go ahead and take that off your bucket list. Do things your own way. Look at what you have, what you have achieved, and instead use THAT to fuel your fire.
You are probably asking yourself how to do that. Luckily, I have some answers for you. I call this plan the “Unfriending of Jealousy”.
Step 1: The Social Media Detox
I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess social media is as unhealthy for you as it was for me. I used to sit for hours, scrolling through my feeds, turning greener by the minute. And no, I’m not the Hulk, so it wasn’t supposed to happen. I hated those “friends” because I hated myself. I decided it was time to change. Initially, I took a full fledge hiatus from all social media. No Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, nothing. I even stopped getting on LinkedIn. I did this for a full 4 weeks. And let me tell you, I felt amazing. My productivity increased, my happiness increased, my belief in myself returned. Once I felt that I was able to return to social media, I set myself some ground rules:
1. No mindlessly scrolling through feeds. I get on, I read comments, I make meaningful updates/posts. I do read through my friends’ things, which leads me to…
2. Removal of people who weren’t my actual friends (basically I had these people on there to look at and make myself miserable).
3. I limit Facebook and Instagram to 30 minutes a day.
4. When I see myself reverting back to my old habits, I take another break.
Easy enough, right? This isn’t a one-size fits all plan, but I feel that this first step made the largest impact on my overall mental health and on silencing the little leech.
Step 2: Changing Your Vocabulary
This one may have been the most difficult for me. I often found myself whining about things I couldn’t change, like Nancy getting a new house or Bridgette landing the perfect job. These are just generic examples, but I know they probably resonate with a few of you. I call this whining the “crutch”. It’s what we hold on to when we don’t want to take responsibility and we let jealousy take over. Whatever your “crutch” may be, we have to learn to walk without it. This involved me changing my vocabulary. Instead of talking about Nancy or Bridgette, I decided to talk about me. “I don’t know why Bridgette got the job over me” became “I didn’t get the job this time, but it doesn’t mean I won’t ever”. Instead of “Why does Nancy get a big fine home and I don’t?” became “I have a great house that I can work on and eventually sell to move up to something better”. When we change our vocabulary, we change our outlook. When we stop thinking in terms of other people and in terms of ourselves, we are far more likely to achieve our goals.
Step 3: Actions
Everyone says actions speak louder than words and when dealing with jealousy this is most certainly true. We talked about changing our words, but words are just that when there is no action to accompany them. So again, I used the power of self to get away from the ugly soul-sucker: “I don’t know why Bridgette got the job over me” became an email or phone call to the hiring manager to see how I could better improve my odds next time. Seeing Nancy’s pictures of her new house went from causing anger and hate to figuring out how to pay down my debt and how to bring in extra money to increase my chances of getting my dream home. When we turn our words into actions, we don’t have time to sit around and think about the Nancy’s and Bridgette’s in our lives, we’re too damn busy making our own dreams come true.
While I do my best to practice what I preach, I too fall victim to the little green monster every now and then. What’s important is that you get that asshole back in line. Your happiness is dependent on no one but yourself, so why would you make sure you’re miserable by letting jealousy take control?
Take back your life and unfriend that ungrateful, conniving little jerk. Live your life. Work your ass off.