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psychology / philosophy

The 7 antidotes to jealousy

. 4 min read .

Jealousy and feelings of inferiority are born when one has something somebody else desires. A nice body, a nice camera, a nice job position etc.

5 years back, I used to get jealous often.

'That girl has a six-pack, I don't.'

'That dude has such a dope desktop setup with liquid cooling and LEDs, I don't.'

'That guy managed to get into the Google APM program and he is 2 years younger than me!'

It took me years to dial those sucky feelings of jealousy from say, 80 down to 5. I was pondering on what could have caused that...

I came up with some strategies.

-1- 'Would you change positions?'

If I am jealous of somebody, I do not allow myself to be selectively jealous. It is either the entire package or nothing. This is what I used to tell myself:

'Want this person's current career, you will have to get their unfit body too. Want this person's current body, you will have to get their career too. Want this person's car, you will now have to get their declining mental health too.'

I do not allow myself to be selectively jealous because everything has an opportunity cost. If one has something, they probably sacrificed something else to have that and most of the times, I would not be willing to make that sacrifice myself in order to have the thing I am jealous of.

Even the most exceptional people are still mostly mediocre; they're mostly exceptional in one way and in the rest they are spectacularly average.

-2- Abundance Mindset

Switch from a scarsity mindset to an ebundance mindset. She can have that and you can have that too. It is not a competition.

-3- Minimise Desires

Jealousy is created from the tension between of what you -think- you want and what other people already have. Jealousy goes away when you close that gap.

Slash desires to a minimum. If you don't need something, you are not missing it. Find whats good enough. Not desiring something is as good as having it. It is not unusual to realise that some of the things I want, I want because I was subconsciously programmed to want them via mimetic desire. If everybody is chasing after something, I probably should too no? Wrong.

  1. Rething what YOU want not what others except you to want
  2. Then dial down expectations. What would really be the good enough. Isn't a small 2bd house with a garden enough instead of the 5bd mansion with sea view?

If you don’t; you are doomed to a life of misery. That is because there will always be something or somebody ‘better’ to aspire towards. And you will always find these people since we are all connected via the internet nowadays.

It is an endless imaginary game you are bound to loose.

-4- Unique personal vision

If you are climbing the same mountain everybody is trying to climb, the mountain will be busy. You will see people running up the uphill, others having the fanciest gear,

Take for example this dream: I want a penthouse apartment, a Mercedes and a promotion. I can argue that most of the middle-class population in the western world shares this exact dream. So you will be surrounded by people that play the exact game you are playing.

Of course that causes more jealousy than being surrounded by people who are playing completely different games like: I want a life in which I can just play Minecraft and eat pizza all day, I want to move to a cabin next to the woods and become a mountain climbing instructor, I want a low intensity part-time job that will allow me to spend most of my time writing fiction.

If your pursuit is as unique as you are, you will end up climbing a mountain very few or maybe only you are. You will try to find people to compare yourself against and you will struggle. If there are no people to compare yourself against, there is no trigger for jealousy.

People too ‘close' to you will invoke more jealousy than people that seem too different/far.

Tap into your true desires. Is it really that thing what you want or are you playing an invisible game that society told you are supposed to play? Is that what u want or what society expects you to want? Also is that the deepest desire or some other root cause? Are you trying to fill another gap maybe?

-5- Self-esteem

There are no tips and tricks for this. Building self-esteem is a mystery to me. But I had to add it because building self esteem is like pixie dust. Self-esteem makes your mentality more robust.

-6- Appreciation of the role of luck

  1. Inherent Luck: Genetics. I can be jealous all I want about the people that were born tall with big calves and defined cheekbones, but there is nothing I can do about it. They were blessed with the genetics to sing beautifully, to grow muscle faster, to jump higher. There is nothing I can do about the natural advantage, all I can do is work for it.
  2. Environmental luck. Being born in Europe instead of the middle of rural India, being born as part of a family that has the funds to let you do all the extracurriculars you heart desires could be another advantage for some pursuits. What if you have an accident and strain your ankle in the middle of ballet season. What if somebody happened to go to the same school as somebody who then gave them opportunities, what if your mum knew somebody that could invest in their business. Shit happens, all I can do is work for it.

Luck is real. Some people are luckier than other. When I look at other people who might have something I don't, I always see it through the lens of luck. There might be something that helped them that i did not get, so comparing myself to them is like comparing apples and pineapples. All I can do about it is work harder.

-7- Behind the curtain..

Remember that this person you are jealous of probably used to suck once before they got where they got -unless they were tremendously lucky ofcourse and were born with incredible genetics or fortunes-.

The remember that via social media you will only see the moments that are the highest highs with, the tip of the iceberg. And if that wasn't enough, they put a filter on top.

What we see is a super distorted version of reality, not reality. But through consumption our definition of reality gets calibrated to that 'spotless' version of reality we see online where everybody is making it, is creating the most amazing things all the time and is having the time of their lives.

Do I still stumble upon people that have things that I wish I had? Absolutely. All the time. But now instead of any bitterness, jealousy or resentment, those examples act more like inspiration (woah that looks cool, maybe I should try that too!) and opportunities to learn (woah he did X and got Y, i want Y too so maybe I should consider doing it like them)