Ohhh that green-eyed monster.
Insidiously she steals into our heart and whispers poisonous words into our ear with forked tongue.
At best, she causes our skin to crawl with itchiness. At worst, she wreaks havoc and destruction at work, in our relationships, and worst of all, within ourselves.
Psychology Today defines jealousy as:
“Jealousy is a complex emotion that includes feelings ranging from suspicion to rage to fear to humiliation. It strikes people of all ages, genders, and sexual orientations, and is most typically aroused when a person perceives a threat to a valued relationship from a third party. The threat may be real or imagined.”
Suspicion. Rage. Fear. Humiliation. Yup, sounds about right.
I used to struggle A LOT with jealousy of other women. It consumed me ravenously, not unlike the way I’ll devour a cheese platter after a few Saturday night glasses of red.
But I digress.
I didn’t know that what I was experiencing was jealousy. I thought I was somehow holier than that, above that shit.
But I wasn’t.
FOR YEARS I lived with a secret belief that all women were somehow superior to me. I would look at my girlfriends, my co-workers, or people in my social periphery and think:
God, she’s so put together
She has it all figured out
I wish I could be organized like her
She’s so flawless and perfect
How does she get her makeup to look like that? She must spend hours!
Look at her. She thinks she’s so perfect
How could I possibly compare to her?
And when I felt I couldn’t compare, I mentally tried to pick them apart, sniff out their flaws, and find ways to be superior.
I saw women as potential threats or competition, not as sisters. It affected how I made friends, my confidence with men, and the extent to which I was able to trust others.
Here’s the thing though: NONE of this had ANYTHING to do with other women. They had never done or said anything to make me feel inferior or threatened.
THIS was about ME. This was about my relationship with myself.
See, here’s the harsh truth about jealousy: the fact that you’re jealous of other women has NOTHING to do with them at all. It’s not their problem or their responsibility to make you feel better about yourself.
And it is NEVER going to be solved by mentally picking them apart, gossiping and talking smack about them, or trying to ban your boyfriend from talking to them.
Because jealousy isn’t incited from other people: it comes from within us as a result of our programming, fear of abandonment, and fear of being unworthy/not enough.
Ergo, jealousy (like everything else) is a mirror reflecting your relationship with yourself. It is about you and your own self-esteem.
Women who love and accept themselves, feel confident about their abilities, and celebrate their uniqueness aren’t jealous of other women. Well, sometimes they are, but at least they don’t let it turn them into the green-eyed monster.
Instead, they use those feelings of jealousy to empower themselves and celebrate others. Just like anything, the extent to which I felt jealous of other women diminished the more I learned to trust, accept, love, and celebrate myself.
This isn’t an easy process by any means.
Society LOVES to pit women against each other. You only need to look at how the press invented an entire imaginary “Kate vs Meghan” showdown to know it.
In a perfect world, we would see a successful, polished woman and feel inspired and empowered by her.
We would celebrate her. We would feel motivated by her. We would cheer for her rise instead of trying to pick her apart.
But this isn’t a perfect world. In fact, even our biology is hardwired for competition with other females.
When we see a woman who we subjectively think has more to offer, it triggers a “threat” response in our brain.
We think we have to compete with her (we don’t).
It feels like survival of the fittest (it’s not).
So, jealousy is NORMAL. Even if you love yourself unconditionally and think you’re the most adorable little strawberry muffin in the bakery, you are not impervious to feeling envious of other badass women from time to time.
Remember, there are NO good or bad emotions. They are all part of the human experience.
The difference between someone who is consumed by jealousy and someone who feels empowered by it is how they respond to it.
STEP ONE: Self Awareness
“Self-awareness is the ability to take an honest look at your life without any attachment to it being right or wrong, good or bad.” — Debbie Ford
We can’t change or transmute what we don’t acknowledge. If you’ve landed here, I’m guessing you might have an inkling that you feel jealous of other women. But maybe it’s not as black and white as that for you.
Maybe you’re just sick of that yucky feeling you get when your friend calls to tell you about her promotion at work.
Or maybe you’ve noticed you burst into tears when you read about someone’s engagement or pregnancy.
Or maybe you feel your skin prickling when you see your partner going gooey around your pretty waitress.
Grab your journal (bet you knew I was going to say that) and write down all the times:
You felt jealous or envious of other women
You felt triggered by another woman’s success or milestone
You felt tempted to compare yourself to other women
You gossiped or talked smack about other women
You picked apart another woman (mentally or with others)
No need for guilt, shame or judgement as you work through this exercise. Just really sit with what comes up with you as you do it.
What feelings rise up in you, apart from jealousy?
What thoughts do you find yourself thinking?
Make sure you write these down and do not judge or censor.
What are you REALLY scared will happen?
What is it about this person that you envy?
How is this person triggering you?
You might find this exercise helped you extract some beliefs about yourself/others that you didn’t know you had. This guide on limiting beliefs will help you ditch them so you can adopt new empowering beliefs instead.
Knowledge is power, especially in this case. The very worst thing you can do about jealousy is pretending it doesn’t exist, or squish it deep down where you think it will never surface.
What ultimately ends up happening is that it surfaces in insidious, ugly ways, bursting spectacularly forth like a volcanic eruption. Better to acknowledge the emotion, sit with it, and let it run its natural course, which leads me to my second point.
STEP TWO: Know it’s okay to be jealous sometimes
“We girls, I’m afraid, have a tendency to hide our feelings.” — Marilyn Monroe
We ALL get jealous sometimes. Remember there are no good or bad emotions: only what we choose to make them mean AND what we do about them.
The more we learn to be comfortable with our emotions, the more they serve us, teach us, and help us grow. Pay attention to what you are feeling and look at it as an opportunity to learn more about yourself.
Remember, when it comes to any crossroads we face in life, there are only two choices: love or fear.
The decision rooted in fear means destruction, chaos, and even greater pain. The decision rooted in love means empowerment, confidence, and healing.
Which will you choose?
What is the most loving, empowering way to deal with your jealousy that will enable you to grow?
STEP THREE: Remember - nobody is perfect
“Jealousy is all the fun you think they had.” — Erica Jong
Remember that outside the comfort of your own home, and on social media, you are putting your best foot forward. Typically, you only see the part of people they want you to see.
But what others let us see is usually the very tip of the iceberg.
You see the highlight reel, the greatest hits, and the very best effort of other people that they can surmise on that day. This is ESPECIALLY true on social media.
You are comparing your humanity, the entirety of your story, and your imperfections with somebody else’s highlight reel.
Little do you know that behind the scenes could be a very different story for them. In fact, I PROMISE you it is.
There’s a quote by Socrates that I have always loved: If all the world’s misfortunes were put in a pile, most people would be glad to walk away with their own.
And whilst that’s a sweeping generalization (and not always the case, I’m sure), it’s an important thing to remember here.
The person you are jealous of has her own problems, her own fears, and her own insecurities.
I was once jealous of a girl I didn’t really know. I thought she was just practically perfect in every way, so together and grown-up. Later on, we became good friends and I was so shocked to discover that SHE used to be as jealous of me as I was of her.
I also learned she had her own fair share of life struggles and insecurities.
Next time you catch yourself feeling snarky and jealous of another woman, just remember: you’re in the sisterhood together. She’s fighting her own battles, struggling with her own insecurities, and striving to put her best foot forward, just like you are.
STEP FOUR: Is it envy … or admiration?
“There is never jealousy where there is not strong regard.” — Washington Irving
Start to flip the script. The words we say to ourselves matter.
Rather than comparison, or letting those feelings of envy consume you, transmute it to admiration and celebration.
Are you jealous of how she can just rock a pair of skintight jeans with confidence? Or do you aspire to her confidence?
Are you jealous she’s crushing it in her career? Or is she an inspiring badass boss?
Rather than picking her apart, or trying to find the flaws, celebrate the way she shows up in the world.
Remember! Someone else’s rise, someone else’s beauty, someone else’s strengths DO NOT ERASE yours. In fact, let her be an example for you of what’s possible.
In manifestation terms, if something shows up in your experience, it is a sign of what is possible for you. It is a sign that you are vibrating on that frequency too, otherwise it wouldn’t appear in your focus!
Look at other women as inspiration and motivation to keep going, and powerful beacons of what is possible for all of us. Let them remind us that each of us is unique and has our own special strengths and qualities to offer.
Our uniqueness, our own gifts, our traits, personalities, and even our flaws are part of the intricate tapestry of our individual beauty. Celebrating another woman’s beauty doesn’t diminish your own - it amplifies it.
STEP FIVE: Focus on you - for you
Sometimes we can get so caught up in comparing ourselves to other people that we forget all about nurturing our own strengths and celebrating our uniqueness. Another way to see jealousy is as a reminder that maybe we need a little more self-love and to focus our energy inward.
Write a list of all the wonderful, amazing things you love about yourself (I share more about how to do this here). Focus on all the activities, rituals, and thoughts that make you feel good about yourself.
Rather than going to all the extra effort to “outdo” or “outshine” someone else, focus on being your best - for YOU. You are just as worthy of shining your brightest as any other person on this planet.
Instead of trying to compete with someone else, focus your energy on making yourself feel good, and nurturing your inner relationship.
You will be amazed at the transformation that comes from staying in your lane and focusing on shining your brightest, rather than worrying about what other people are doing.
STEP SIX: Become a champion of female empowerment
Be the girl who adjusts another Queen’s crown without telling her it’s crooked. Be the woman who stops another woman in the street to tell her how beautiful she looks today.
Be the woman who shares your friend’s business posts on Facebook and celebrates other women’s life milestones. Be the woman who knows the rise is more beautiful when we rise together.
See yourself as an honored member of The Sisterhood (i.e. womanhood). Be committed to helping in the rise and celebration of every other member of The Sisterhood (i.e. every woman in the world).
Make a commitment, here and now, that you will no longer participate in the tearing down, gossiping about, bullying, comparing, or betraying the confidence of other women. (Oh, by the way, this includes celebrities too.)
Remember this: no woman is an island entire of herself. When a woman rises, the Sisterhood rises. When a woman is torn apart, that is a reflection on the Sisterhood too.
Every time a woman rises she lights the way for YOU to do the same too. Celebrate her. Honor her. March for her army and wave her flag with pride.
The easiest way to start doing this is to begin paying (genuine) random compliments to other women. This is SO empowering, fun, and guaranteed to make you feel like a goddess for the rest of the day. Society wants women to compete against one another. It’s how they sell magazines, diet pills, and cleaning products.
Loving your fellow woman is a revolutionary and rebellious act of self love. Union in sisterhood is our most ancient, magickal power. Let’s wield it together.
Let’s ditch the narrative of female competition and instead embrace total allyship and celebrate the Rise of the Sisterhood. Not only will you feel more relaxed, confident, and happy, but you will enjoy more meaningful, deep, and powerful connections with others. Promise! Let’s keep the conversation going in the comments. Do you feel jealous of other women? What is one step you are going to take to transition from competition to celebration? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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