An informative Blog presenting a broad array of topics and issues relating to the science of psychology.
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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Jealousy, Why it Happens and How to Overcome it

Jealousy is a topic I get requests to write about all the time! It is very common for humans to feel jealous of another or envy someone else’s life, belongings, looks, partner, etc…

So here I go, I will write about the psychological aspect of jealousy and possible hints to overcome it. It is my personal custom to stray from jealousy because the only two possible outcomes of being a jealous individual are either becoming very vain or very bitter. The core of jealousy begins by not accepting yourself. Self-acceptance can be the single largest deterrent of jealous feelings; but for some reason we cannot ever accept ourselves to the point where we never stop trying. In fact, according to DeSteno, Valdesolo, & Bartlett (2006), jealousy most likely results from threats to our self-esteem.

To me, this is a good thing, since we all need to always keep trying to be better, that’s where innovation and creativity are born, right? However, I will say that jealousy is the most unattractive attire one can wear. “Jealousy isn’t pretty, but facing that green-eyed monster can yield a beautiful result-personal growth” (Kashef, 2001).

Chances are things aren’t as peachy as you see them to be. The first step to overcoming jealousy is learning more. Everyone has problems, EVERYONE. There is no exception to that rule. Even the most beautiful person in the world feels insecure about something. You never have the full story of a person’s life, and that’s why you fall in love with the idea of something different. I’m sure if you were in that person’s shoes you’d be back at square one; wishing you were someone else…again.

Start thinking of “we” instead of me. When another makes an accomplishment or gets a big break, be happy for them. See their success as a cumulative achievement of the human race. Just because his or her success is booming at the moment does not mean that it takes away from yours.

Learn to accept yourself for who you are. I know I know, especially as a woman it is hard to accept yourself when you see Victoria’s Secret models on television. It is even agreed that physical appearance is one of the major causes of jealousy especially between women (Maynard, Bilyeau, & Felix, 2004). However, women need to learn to love themselves for who they really are. Learning to accept your own position in life and how you look, feel, act, etc…is the surest way to overcome jealousy.

You see, everyone is an individual. Everyone has their own story; they’ve had their fair share of struggles (whether they share it publicly or not). It is not fair to see someone in a better position than yourself because the simple fact still remains…they are not YOU! Learn to accept yourself and what you have become and always try your best. By all means, if you feel you need to improve then grow, evolve. However, don’t waste your own life wishing you had someone else’s.


DeSteno, D., Valdesolo, P., & Bartlett, M. Y. (2006). Jealousy and the Threatened Self: Getting to the Heart of the Green-Eyed Monster. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 91 (4), 626-641.

Kashef, Z. (2001). What About Me? Essence, 31 (11), 64-69

Maynard, J., Bilyeau, N., & Felix, S. (2004). Are You the Jealous Type? Good Housekeeping, 238 (4), 158-161.