How to stop being jealous of others
How to Not Be Jealous: 12 Tips and Tricks
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Jealousy has a bad reputation. It’s not uncommon to hear well-meaning people say things like, “Don’t be jealous” or “Jealousy destroys relationships.” But what makes this emotion so bad?
While it’s often linked to romantic relationships, jealousy can come up whenever you’re worried about losing anything or anyone important to you. This is different from envy, which involves wanting something that belongs to someone else.
Jealousy can lead to feelings of anger, resentment, or sadness. But it can often tell you a thing or two about yourself and your needs.
Here’s a look at some ways to cope with jealousy and examine what’s at the root of your feelings.
“If you get that jealous twinge,” says Sarah Swenson, LMHC, “ask yourself what lies at the root of it. Then take steps to change what you don’t like in order to get what you want.”
Examining your jealous feelings can give you insight on where they come from:
- Your sister’s new relationship causes jealousy because you haven’t had much luck dating and worry you’ll never find the right person.
- Your coworker’s promotion makes you feel jealous because you believe you aren’t good enough at your job to get a promotion yourself.
- When your partner starts spending a lot of time with a new friend, you feel jealous because that was the first sign you noticed when a previous partner cheated.
Whether your jealousy stems from insecurity, fear, or past relationship patterns, knowing more about the causes can help you figure out how to confront it.
Maybe you have an open conversation with your supervisor about getting on track for promotion, resolve to try a different approach to dating, or talk to your partner about your feelings.
If your partner’s actions (or someone else’s actions toward your partner) trigger jealous feelings, bring this up with your partner as soon as possible.
Broach the topic of jealousy when you can both dedicate some time to a productive conversation. Whenever possible, try to avoid getting into a serious topic right before bed or when you’re about to head out the door.
Your partner may not have noticed the behavior, or they may not have realized how you felt about it. Use the opportunity to talk over any relationship boundaries you might want to revisit, or discuss ways to keep your relationship strong.
If you trust your partner but have doubts because of past relationship experiences, try finding a few ways you both can help improve the situation.
If you feel nervous about mentioning jealous feelings, try to remember they’re totally normal. Your partner might even have had some jealous feelings of their own at some point.
Jealousy can sometimes give you a slightly warped sense of reality. You might wonder if that nonverbal flirting you swear you saw actually happened.
Sometimes, voicing these concerns to a third party can make the situation less frightening and help you gain some perspective.
Jealousy can be a complex, strong emotion, and you might not feel very good when you’re dealing with it. But instead of thinking of it as something negative, try looking at it as a helpful source of information.
Jealousy, according to Swenson, tells you there’s a difference between what you have and what you want.
She adds that unchecked jealousy can turn into self-blame and create a cycle that keeps you feeling deprived. But you may be able to manage it by identifying it as helpful information that you can use to create circumstances in which your needs are met.
Jealousy sometimes develops in response to a partial picture. In other words, you might be comparing yourself and your own achievements and attributes to an idealized or incomplete view of someone else.
People typically display their best selves to the world, so it’s not always easy to tell what’s really happening in someone else’s life or relationship. Then there’s the whole issue of social media, which magnifies this concept.
But you never truly know what someone’s going through, especially when you’re just looking at social media.
Your college friend with the Facebook photos of her and her husband out in a meadow, looking so carefree and happy? For all you know, they argued all the way out there and they’re sweating bullets under all that matching plaid.
A little gratitude can go a long way. It can not only reduce feelings of jealousy, but also relieve stress.
You might not have everything you want. Most of us don’t. But you probably have at least some of what you want. Maybe you even have some good things in your life you didn’t expect.
This can help whether you’re eyeing your friend’s fancy new bike or wishing your partner didn’t spend quite so much time with friends. Remind yourself of your sturdy, reliable bike that gets you where you need to go. Consider the benefits of having a partner who appreciates the value of friendship.
Even appreciating positive things in your life that don’t relate to jealousy can help you realize that, while your life may not be perfect (but whose life is?), you’ve still got some good things going for you.
Coping with jealousy as it comes up won’t help you work through underlying causes. But it can help to keep the distress at bay until you can deal with the underlying issues.
Turning your attention away from jealousy can also help keep you from acting on your feelings (and doing something that could harm a relationship or friendship).
Take a break
Try these strategies to distract yourself from jealous thoughts before they become overwhelming:
- Write down what you feel.
- Take a walk.
- Give yourself space by leaving the situation.
- Take 10 minutes to do something calming.
Jealousy that persists and causes distress can sometimes relate to anxiety or self-esteem issues, explains Vicki Botnick, LMFT. “Learning how to deal with either issue can automatically help soothe jealousy.”
One way to approach low self-esteem involves identifying personal values, such as compassion, communication, or honesty. This helps, according to Botnick, because it lets you check whether you’re upholding these values in your daily life.
It also gives you a chance to notice your positive traits and review what’s important to you. This can increase your sense of self-respect and may help decrease distressing feelings of inferiority or competitiveness.
Anxiety can have a range of symptoms that might be more difficult to address on your own. Coping techniques can help (find some tips here), but therapy can also be a good option.
Botnick also suggests trying an anxiety workbook like The Mindful Way Workbook.
It uses principles of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy to help you to:
- increase acceptance around anxious feelings so they don’t overwhelm you
- recognize unwanted or distressing thoughts so you can challenge and replace them
When jealousy prompts you to compare yourself to others, your self-worth can end up taking a hit. Your life might be pretty enviable to someone else, after all. But jealousy can make you feel like nothing you have is good enough.
Research exploring a possible link between jealousy and self-esteem found evidence to suggest jealousy can develop when you face a threat to your self-esteem.
To combat low self-esteem:
- Remind yourself of things you do well.
- Practice self-compassion (in other words, treat yourself the way you would a close friend).
- Practice daily affirmations or exchange them with your partner.
- Remind yourself of the things you value in your partner and relationship.
- Make time to do things you enjoy.
Mindfulness techniques help you pay attention to your thoughts and feelings as they come up without judging or criticizing them. Increasing your awareness around jealousy can help you notice any patterns it follows, including things that happen before you feel jealous.
Mindfulness can also help you feel more comfortable with jealousy. For example, it can help you notice and accept your jealous feelings for what they are — part of your emotional experience — and move on.
Not judging the jealousy, or yourself for feeling it, can help keep it from affecting you negatively.
If you’ve experienced jealousy before, you probably already know that jealousy fades with time. It might feel less intense after you deal with your feelings, of course, but it can also lessen once whatever you felt jealous about is over.
According to research that looked at the experience of jealousy, people are generally more likely to feel jealous right before something happens, rather than after.
As time passes, you’re also less likely to feel the need to compare yourself or your circumstances to someone else. But the positive feelings you have stay.
So, while you might feel jealous as your best friend’s wedding date approaches, on the day after the wedding you might feel less jealous and more just happy for your friend.
If you’re having trouble coping with jealous thoughts on your own, talking to a therapist can help.
It’s not always easy to talk about jealousy. You might feel even more uncomfortable sharing these thoughts with someone you don’t know. But a good therapist will meet you with kindness and compassion.
Plus, they know better than anyone that jealousy is a normal emotion that everyone feels at some point.
Botnick shares a few signs that suggest talking to a therapist could be helpful:
- Jealousy leads to obsessive or fixated thoughts.
- You notice compulsive behaviors.
- Jealous thoughts become uncontrollable or intrusive.
- You have violent thoughts or urges.
- Jealous feelings trigger problematic behaviors, like following your partner or checking up on them constantly.
- Jealousy affects your day-to-day life, prevents you from doing things you want to do, or causes other distress.
“If you constantly need to check out your social media feed, your partner’s phone, or what the people in line at Starbucks are wearing, then you can no longer be present in your own life, and that’s a problem,” Botnick concludes.
Jealousy can help you focus on who (and what) you care about. It doesn’t have to cause problems for you or your relationships. It can even help relationships become stronger in some cases. It all comes down to how you use it.
Online therapy options
Read our review of the best online therapy options to find the right fit for you.
A Helpful Guide to Overcoming Envy
“Envy is ignorance.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
Very few people would argue for the positive influence of jealousy & envy in our lives. In fact, most of us can quickly recognize the importance of learning how to stop being jealous. And we’re all aware of jealousy and envy’s effects:
- They foster discontent and distress.
- They bind our freedom.
- They lead to resentment and bitterness.
- They cause us to do things we wouldn’t normally do.
- They can spiral into depression.
And yet, the wasted emotions of envy and jealousy continue to be present in our lives. It is a constant battle that wars against our heart and soul. We experience envy over other peoples’ appearance, talents, relationships, and bank accounts. It offers no positive contribution to our lives. Yet, it remains.
It is time to break free. Certainly, each of us desire to live in freedom from jealousy and envy.
Here’s how to stop being jealous.
1. Shift your focus to the goodness in your life. One of the biggest reasons we envy the life of another is because we have begun to take our blessings for granted. Count them again. You are talented. You are gifted. You are cared for. You are unique. Your life is too valuable to be lived like everyone else. You have countless reasons to be grateful for the life you have been given. Remind yourself again.
2. Remind yourself that nobody has it all. Stop comparing your life with others. It is always a losing proposition. There will always appear to be people who have it better than you. But remember, we always compare the worst of what we know about ourselves to the best assumptions we make about others. Be reminded, nobody has it all. Each person you meet experiences problems, trials, and weaknesses–just like you. This is what makes us human. Nobody is exempt. Nobody has it all. Nobody.
3. Avoid people who habitually value the wrong things. If you spend all your time with people who compare the latest fashions, you are going to start desiring the latest fashions. If you spend all your time with people who talk about their salaries, their new cars, or their extravagant vacations, you are going to naturally fall into the inevitable trap of comparing your possessions to theirs. But there are far more important things to pursue. Remove yourself from the conversation (and the relationship if necessary).
4. Spend time with grateful people. Gratitude is highly contagious–that is why I spend time reading Tammy Strobel. You can read gratitude in almost every word she writes. Find grateful people who experience contentment in their lives and spend quality time with them. You can find them online or you can find them in person. But the more you invest your time with them, the more their spirit will become yours… and soon, others will desire what you have.
5. Understand that marketers routinely fan the flame. One of the most effective tools for advertisers in our culture is to foster jealousy and envy among us. After all, if they can cause us to recklessly desire the possessions of another, they can drive us to great lengths to acquire it for ourselves. Be on guard against their tactics. Recognize them. Avoid them. And refuse to succumb to their deception.
6. Celebrate the success of others. Genuinely and practically, rejoice in the fortune of others. When somebody receives something that you desire, be happy for them. If you wanted it, they probably did too. Stop viewing life as a competition. Joy is not a finite resource. And the moment you learn to experience happiness in others’ joy is the day you take a huge step to overcoming envy once and for all.
7. Be generous. Even if you have to force yourself into it at first, make generosity an essential habit in your life. Give your time. Give your finances. Give your abilities, talents, and skills. Volunteer in your community. Support a cause that promotes social justice. And get your hands dirty. As you begin to spend more time and more energy with those who have less than you, the more you will find fulfillment and meaning. And when you do, the allure of another’s person life will quickly fade away.
Both jealousy and envy have held us hostage for far too long. It is time, once and for all, to break free from jealousy & envy and experience a more fulfilled life because of it.
Image: Yashna M
8 tips from a psychologist • Slutsk • Newspaper "Infa-Kur'er"
If you are annoyed by the success of others and want to know how to stop being envious, then below we have prepared some tips on how to heal from feelings of disappointment due to the success of other people. We warn you, this may not work right away, but the result is definitely worth it!
1. Compare yourself to yourself, not to others
The first step to getting rid of envy is to stop comparing yourself to others. Such an approach can sometimes bring satisfaction, but, as a rule, it is very short-term. nine0003
Let's say you bought yourself a new car. At first, you will experience the joy that it is more expensive than the cars of a neighbor and work colleague. But already on the very first trip in a traffic jam, you will surely see someone on a more status car, ruining your mood from a long-awaited purchase.
It is important to realize and come to terms with the fact that there will always be someone who will be richer, smarter, more successful and younger than you - this is inevitable. And instead of poisoning yourself by comparing with them, compare yourself now with yourself from the past. nine0003
Think about the progress you have made, the things you could only dream of before but now have in abundance. Believe me, the feelings experienced at the time of such a comparison will certainly be quite pleasant and motivating.
2. Learn to be grateful
You must have read about this more than once in various motivational articles, and it is not for nothing that this point is mentioned so often. We tend to take what we have for granted and focus on the things we lack, and end up constantly feeling left out as losers. nine0003
But one has only to realize how much we have - and not only material values, but also such important things as love, health, education - and we will feel rich.
Try to get into the habit of remembering all the good things that happened to you every day and thanking life for it, and you will see that soon the question of how to get rid of the feeling of envy will no longer be relevant for you.
3. Recognize and analyze bouts of envyPhoto: pexels.com
Another good way to deal with envy is to think about what this feeling brings. The next time it hits you, pay close attention to how you feel. I'm willing to bet that they will be very unpleasant and counterproductive.
In a state of envy, we feel like unfortunate losers, we get angry at fate, which is “unfair” to us, we poison our minds with anger, we become petty and humiliated. Is this what you want to be?
Realizing how negative the feeling of envy is and how badly it affects your sense of self, it will become easier for you to control and deal with this emotion.
4. Remember that no one has everything
When we browse the accounts of famous and beautiful influencers or read the news about the next insanely expensive purchase of some show business star, we easily become jealous of these people, mistakenly believing that they they "have everything".
However, you must have heard that the life of such people is actually often far from ideal: many of them earn serious illnesses and chronic stress, exhausting themselves with work, cannot build happy relationships due to endless trips, and the feeling of happiness itself is not able to guarantee neither fame nor money. nine0003
So the next time you start thinking that someone "has a good life", remind yourself that this person probably has his own problems that you do not know about, and because of which he himself may envy others.
5. Do not fall for the tricks of marketers
Few would argue that one of the main reasons why today the question of how to stop envying others has become more relevant than ever is aggressive advertising that follows us literally everywhere. nine0003
Marketers love to exploit the image of the handsome, rich, confident macho who gets everything he wants. And in order to become at least a little like him, we are ready to buy any, even absolutely unnecessary product, offered by a model or an actor trying on this role in a video or on a poster.
It is important to learn to realize that the illusion created by a team of professionals has nothing to do with reality. And before you make an impulsive purchase of a thing with which, according to the assurances of advertising, you will become “cooler, more attractive and more confident,” think about whether you really need this product? nine0003
And yes, just a reminder - self-confidence comes from working on yourself, and not from buying a phone or deodorant.
6. Learn to be happy for others (sincerely)Photo: pexels.com
Perhaps the most difficult, but very important step in how to stop envying other people's money, success and other benefits. Joy for others is an excellent antidote to such a dangerous poison as envy.
Before you get angry at the “injustice” of this world and think about how someone got something “undeservedly”, stop for a moment and think about what work a person had to do or what trials they went through to achieve what what he has now. nine0003
And even if his victory was the result of pure chance, isn't it great when someone is doing well? Are you able to experience satisfaction only if everyone else is unhappy?
Rejoice for the one who succeeded today, and perhaps when tomorrow and “there will be a holiday on your street”, others will do the same.
7. Live life to the fullest
One of the main secrets of how to stop envying others and live your own life is to remember that you yourself are the blacksmith of your own happiness, and take up the metaphorical "sledgehammer". nine0003
Does the instagram dude's bulging abs piss you off? So don't open a new bottle of beer, sign up for a gym! Annoyed by friends who buy the latest iPhone model? So find out how you can start earning more and put what you learned into practice!
You may not be able to measure your fortune with Jeff Bezos, but we assure you that by taking control of your life into your own hands and setting yourself up for positive changes, you will definitely achieve much more than if you sit still and envy the “lucky ones”. ". nine0003
8. Be generous
This advice may sound strange, but generosity is a very effective antidote to envy. When you give something to someone, and not only material goods, but also help or support, you begin to feel completeness and satisfaction inside. And this, as you may have noticed, is the opposite state of emptiness and discontent, which “gives” envy.
Volunteer for the weekend, give your old things to those in need, transfer a small amount for donations and do it not to “be good”, but from the bottom of your heart. nine0003
In this case, you will not only receive gratitude in return, but also experience warmth inside, with which it will somehow make no difference how many yachts Kanye West has now.
How to stop envying other people and live your own life
Envy is a feeling that each of us can experience. There will always be a person whose achievements make you either admire or get angry. Alas, this feeling distracts us from ourselves, from our lives. Rost.media spoke with psychologist Victoria Podoinitsyna about where envy comes from and how to learn how to use it for good. nine0080
Origins of envy: how and why it appears
Envy is a social feeling because it arises when we compare ourselves with other people. The mechanism of comparison is firmly "sewn" into our brain. And each of us periodically compares himself, his qualities and capabilities with another person and his achievements in something.
People who are envious can be divided into two types.
- First : those who rejoice in the success of others. Such people are more likely to be motivated by envy to do something good. nine0092
- Second : those who are not ready to put up with the "happy life" of others. The second type includes people with low self-esteem, who are not confident in themselves and their abilities, they do not believe that they can achieve something more.
People who can both rejoice in the success of others and at the same time be dissatisfied with it are no exception.
Most often we envy, because we see recognition: individuality, the result of work. And very rarely do we think about what the object of our envy did to achieve a certain result. We do not know how much effort has been invested in what a person now has. nine0003
Photo: open sources
When someone complains that they don't have something, and someone just got lucky, know that you are a victim (not of physical, sexual or psychological abuse). Victims don't even think about taking responsibility for their actions. For everything “bad” that happens in their lives, they blame others, not themselves. “The planets didn’t stand up like that”, “Circumstances turned out that way”, “I was born like this” - excuses. Such people endlessly complain about life, without the slightest attempt to influence what is happening. nine0003
Childhood also plays a role here. A typical situation: parents often like to compare their children with strangers, saying: “Here you are such an idiot, and Vanya is great!”. They do it on purpose, knowing that the child will be unpleasant. Yes, perhaps they want their child to be equal to another, more successful in school or sports. But, most often, this causes the opposite effect in the child - it contributes to an even greater comparison of themselves with others, and as a result, such children become insecure. nine0003
How to stop being envious
Now that you are at a conscious age, you have the opportunity to learn not to envy other people and live your own life.
The main antidote to envy is to take responsibility. You need to realize that everything that happens in your life is your doing. You alone are responsible for your life.
How to learn to be responsible? You need to accept this as a fact - we are always responsible for ourselves. When this realization occurs, you begin to look at life differently. Excessive tragedy disappears, you look for solutions to problems faster, “suffer” less and do not blame others for your troubles, because it was you who chose this university, this job, these friends or this apartment. Don't forget about it. nine0003
Stop following others
There are two reasons why we follow someone.
- First : increase in personal importance in one's own eyes. For example, we go to Instagram to someone, see a photo and look for flaws. As soon as they are found, we immediately begin to praise ourselves: “I am more beautiful”, “I know more”, and so on.
- The second is related to our projections. It happens that if we don’t like something in another person, then, most likely, these are our projections, those qualities that we don’t accept in ourselves. And it evokes a certain emotional response in us. nine0092
Let's say the girl Masha makes us angry - she laughs too much in society. Most likely, deep down we want to do the same, but we can’t do it for a number of reasons. For example, because of the attitudes of relatives - good and well-mannered girls must behave decently in society, so we cannot afford to laugh "from the heart".
Photo: from open sources
If something bothers us in another person, this is a sign that we need to pay attention to ourselves. Ask yourself questions: “What exactly do I not like about him? What feelings does it make me feel? How does this apply to me? or “Why do I want to have what someone else has? What does this mean for me? nine0003
Get back to your values
We need to see if we really need what the other person has. Do we really want the same appearance, an apartment in the city center or a car? Will we be happier if we acquire something that another person has?
We need to ask ourselves these questions, “dig into” ourselves and understand what we really lack. Perhaps our true desires are not the appearance of the model, but our own, not an apartment in the city center, but a small house in the forest. Now it is becoming difficult for people to hear their desires - social networks have become too aggressive in broadcasting an “ideal” picture of the world to us. nine0003
Focus on the good things
Again, you need to talk to yourself. It is often recommended to write down your positive qualities or successes on paper - this is a good technique. So you will find that in fact you can do a lot, but because of the constant attention to another person, you did not even remember your merits.
Love for yourself is different for each person. Each is unique in its own way and comes to itself in different ways.
But what we all absolutely need to develop is self-compassion. We very often engage in self-criticism, self-flagellation, which does not carry anything good in itself, does not motivate us to go forward and believe in our strengths. This is comparable to playing darts. Only here instead of targets you yourself. By the way, you throw darts too. If you do nothing, this game will destroy you - the wounds will only increase, and will love for yourself appear during aggression?
As practice shows, it is self-support that gives confidence in oneself. Yes, it's not easy for people to support themselves. Many do not know how to do this, because most people are imprisoned for self-criticism. nine0003
Photo: open source
If you find it difficult to maintain yourself, try the following exercises in practice.
- First : to learn self-compassion, you can try to imagine what words we would support our best friend in difficult times. You can feel it, imagine it and say the same thing to yourself.
- Second : you can start trying to track the moments when you criticize and devalue yourself and, again, start saying encouraging words to yourself. nine0092
- Third : try doing self-support practices. For example: find a calm, quiet place where no one will disturb you. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths in and out. Follow your breath. Place your right hand on your left shoulder and move it slowly down, feeling every inch of skin. Pay attention to the sensations that appear during this action. It will seem strange to you, but the body releases oxytocin in response to this action, providing a sense of security. When you're done, put your hand back on your shoulder and swipe down while speaking words of encouragement to yourself. The same can be done with the other hand. At the end of the practice, you can put your hand on your heart and tell yourself that at any moment when you are critical of yourself, you can “hug yourself.” And it will help. nine0092
Find a hobby
Self-development is important. When a person is busy with himself, he simply does not have time to follow someone and get angry because of someone else's results.
Start learning a new language, go in for sports. Elementary - photo processing. Yes, this may be difficult to learn, but you are already doing something and not distracted. Today it causes you difficulties, but tomorrow everything may be different, and you will become a master in this matter. They will begin to equal you, a new circle of friends will be formed. You will finally take your mind off of spying on those who made you feel angry. nine0003
In psychology, there is the concept of "emotional intelligence" - this is the ability of a person to operate with information contained in emotions. If this ability is developed, then a person can plan his actions based on information received from emotions. When we misread it, we cannot build communication with ourselves and the people around us.
It is important to live with awareness of your feelings and the reason for them. We cannot get rid of envy completely, as well as from any other feeling. Sometimes envy even motivates us and allows us to see what we really lack in order to live the way we want. nine0003
All emotions are important, if you handle them properly, you can turn each of them to your advantage, for the good. All the feelings that arise in us can serve as a foundation in the study of ourselves. And this leads to a feeling of life happier and more fulfilling.
“For a more detailed look at the topic of responsibility, I can recommend books. "The Subtle Art of Giving a Fuck" by Mark Manson is a book about how to learn to ignore other people's opinions, how to stop being afraid of failure and start looking at your values, relationships with people, and so on in a different way. "Responsibility as a resource of the individual" by Lyudmila Dementy - this book is interesting because the role of responsibility is shown in different areas of life: family relationships and the formation of ideas about success and successful people.