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Can Jealousy be GOOD for you?

by Kelly Lundberg

I listen to a lot of podcasts, they are my go-to for inspiration and professional growth, with topics that are varied, relevant and thought-provoking. Just recently a particular podcast piqued my interest as it was centred around a topic that attracts a lot of negative and unhealthy connotations.


Mel Robbins, (American ex-lawyer, TV host, author, and motivational speaker) sat alongside Jay Shetty (an English author, former Hindu monk, and life coach) discussing that jealousy need be nothing more than ‘a needle mover’.

So, why is a needle mover such a revelation? Jealousy may be a powerful emotion but most people don’t use it in their favour. You can’t control how you feel. But you can always choose how you act.

When I got my first job working overseas at the age of 18, a girl I went to school with gushed profusely saying that I was so lucky to be moving away, she said she was ‘so jealous that I was going to live in the sun’

At the time all I could think of was; ‘what had luck got to do with it?’, it was a lot of hard work to get the overseas post. I remember thinking, ‘if you’re so jealous why don’t you go do it too?’. It turns out that this was her needle mover moment, just two years later she had also taken a job overseas.

The feeling of jealousy is just being human. I can admit that I have been a jealous person and have frequently been on the receiving end of a jealous person's irrational thinking. Over the last 20 years, there have been countless remarks made about me living a champagne lifestyle in Dubai and sitting soaking up the sunshine. You really can’t take comments like these personally; the reality is always different to how someone else perceives it.

Mel Robbins, in her podcast, goes as far as to say that “it’s impossible to be jealous of people who have something you don’t want”.

Jealousy is nothing more than a clue, a directional signal that the desire is blocked by fear, comparison or even insecurity. It can be productive, it can make you competitive, pushing you to do better than someone else did, and indirectly pushing yourself to be the better version of who you are. Even greater, it can motivate you to achieve goals, defined or undefined.

Just the other week I was at an event watching a panel of speakers present to a huge audience. Whilst I will never belittle the effort, the planning and the momentum it takes to stand on a stage to share knowledge, I felt that the content presented was a little lacklustre. I wanted to be the person on that stage, in that panel, the one to be inspiring the audience.

Some people may be a little uncomfortable using the word ‘want’ so openly. With just a few simple changes to our thought process, we can effect real change. Think desire!

Whether it’s a personal or professional desire, finding a partner, making the move overseas or starting a business of your own, the goal setting is the same. Ask yourself some simple and honest questions:

  • What is it that I really want?

  • Will I be willing to get uncomfortable and possibly make some sacrifices?

  • What do I have to do to get there?

  • How and why would my life need to change to get there?

Social media romanticises and blurs the lines between real-life and fake happiness. Posting what people think is a perfect life, can often stir up feelings of jealousy. I like to think of social media as an embellished version of your life, a bit like your CV. Some people choose to embellish their CV a lot, others only a little, social media is no different.

Wants and dreams are natural desires. We have all found ourselves at some time or another jealous of someone or something.

So instead of feeling like it’s a negative emotion, how can you use it to inspire you?


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