jealousy: can the green-eyed monster be healthy?

I was browsing a women’s magazine as I worked out on the elliptical the other day and there was one section about jealousy that really hit home for me.

In general, I think we’re so easy to dismiss envy as a wholly negative emotion- a quick Google search shows pages of results on how to overcome jealousy.

First of all, we have to recognize that our culture encourages jealousy. The omnipresence of Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook make it nearly impossible to avoid posts from friends and strangers that may provoke envy.

But the article pointed out that instead of seeing jealousy as a negative thing, we should use it as a means to realize our own goals. Why are we feeling jealous?

As Robin says, it’s important to figure out what your “hot button” issues are. What makes you envious and why? Maybe it’s supposedly perfect bodies. Or people who seem to love working out and never have an off day. Or someone who just had a perfect wedding.

For me, I’m usually jealous of people with thriving social lives, who always seem to be busy with fun, interesting, and unique activities and events. People who maintain a healthy balance of eating well and exercising, but also loving life. People who find the humor and intellect in everyday life. But you know what? I don’t think letting any of these things inspire me is a negative thing!

But occasionally, I get jealous of the wrong things. People who don’t seem to have a care in the world and spend all their time having fun. People who have crazy amounts of disposable income. People with perfect bodies who spend hours every day working out. But is that actually how I want to be? Are these actually things I care about? Not really. So admittedly, if what we envy is unattainable or won’t actually satisfy us, we might want brush them off.

Otherwise, let that jealousy inspire you to figure out what you really want out of life. I want to live a fun, balanced life and be surrounded by friends. I want a healthy but non-obsessive life. I want to be constantly inspired, fun-loving, and enthusiastic. So thanks, social media, for reminding me of all that 🙂

Here’s a relevant Carrots n Cake post: Jealousy vs Inspiration! Also check out 6 Ways to Let Jealousy Guide You.

What are your hot button issues? Where is the line between jealousy and inspiration for you? 

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