How To Be Jealous Of Others

Some people have a natural gift for jealousy. Without even trying, they find reasons to envy their siblings, their friends, their fellow students or co-workers, and more. But if you don’t have a knack for it, don’t worry. Just practice these simple techniques, and before you know it, you can become the most dissatisfied, begrudging person you know. Let’s get started!


Painting: Jealousy, by Natale Shiavoni (A woman looks off to the side while tearing a letter)
Jealousy, by Natale Shiavoni

Always compare yourself to people who have it better than you.
When you notice that someone has something you wish you had–a nice apartment, a cute figure, a family who gets along, you name it–don’t let opportunity pass you by. Dedicate some time to thinking about how nice it would be if you had what they have. Ask yourself whether they even deserve it. You probably deserve it more!

Take the images other people project of themselves at face value. If your coworker has a framed photo of her and her girlfriend smiling, their relationship is always easy and fun. If your former college roommate has an important-sounding job, you can bet that she loves it and can’t wait to get to work in the morning. She doesn’t find it stressful or soul-sucking, and she certainly doesn’t need three glasses of wine every evening. Sure, you don’t broadcast your problems and worries to the world, but the only reason other people don’t is that they don’t have any.

Never compare yourself to people who have it worse than you. For instance, if you have enough food, don’t think about people suffering from famine, or if you haven’t undergone any terrible losses lately, don’t read about someone dealing with grief. Once in a while, someone may encourage you to count your blessings, or even make a list of twenty or fifty or one hundred things for which you are grateful. Resist this kind of thing. It’s a jealousy destroyer!

Be as oblivious as possible to your own amazingness. Are you smart? Funny? Imaginative? Open-minded? Try not to think about those things. If you become too aware of all your own good qualities, you’ll feel so confident and pleased with yourself that it will be difficult to muster up negative feelings about what you lack.

Don’t get too caught up in your own projects and activities. Even if you are very out of shape, it will be harder to resent fit people if you just worked out three days in a row. If you want to be a successful artist, you will begrudge successful artists less when you get lost in your own work. It’s weird, but it’s true.

Finally, and this may sound counterintuitive, but criticize yourself harshly for being jealous of other people. Don’t tell yourself that it’s a natural emotion people have experienced for millennia, or that you’re only human. Remember, the worse you feel about yourself, you are more likely to achieve green-eyed monsterhood. Good luck!

By Bryn Donovan

Romance writer, poet, quilter, and dog cuddler.

3 replies on “How To Be Jealous Of Others”

I had a bit of a giggle how appropriate it was that when you click on this article’s link, it turns bright green! (I know, so do all the other articles, but it’s still apt). Great article, I found a lot of this worthy thinking about, not just about jealousy, but the kind of down feeling of being compared to others (without the resentment of others).

Also I love the painting and the story that might be behind it– I think the letter has something to do with a lover replacing her in his affections, and that seems like a jealouy thta might be a bit harder to fix.

This has always been a sore subject for me. I got an award? How dare I have done the work to have received it! I saw an opportunity and networked to get invited to an event? I should give the invite to someone who didn’t work to get it (just because they want it)! There were always people around me muttering (mostly directly to my face) about how easy everything must be [to have whatever things that I worked to get, because they didn’t have it]. Instead of being grateful for what they had, or even asking me to show them how they could also earn the things I worked hard to have, they’d pit themselves against me in some sort of jealousy-fest, and whine about how unfair it was that I had anything at all – which of course meant that they weren’t spending their time actively doing things that would have enabled them to have gotten whatever it was that they wanted.

In the best cases, it was merely an annoyance to listen to people whine and lose ‘friends.’ But in many cases, these people actively decided that their efforts were best spent actively trying to take whatever I had earned away from me. It suddenly became okay to lie, steal, sabotage my work, anything, just so long as they didn’t, you know, actually have to achieve things by earning them and/or be happy for the accomplishments of someone else. I love teaching people how to be successful, but so many people don’t want to hear that they can’t just do things stupidly and get smart results. And jealousy starts to become a poisonous kudzu, spreading and infecting everything around it. I’ve had to cut the vines off of me too many times to count…

Sounds like you are making people jealous right and left! Seriously, good for you for working hard and pursuing your goals.

This is a really silly example of that kind of thing, but the other day someone told me I was so lucky that I knew how to quilt. I learned how to quilt! I wasn’t born that way. :D

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