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Mental Health

My Secret Life With The Green-eyed Monster

“Are you a jealous girl?” the psychic across the table asked me. This sweet woman, who connected with angels and had crystals, tarot cards and all the gadgets and gizmos, told me that my angels, especially my Grandma, were sending her the message that I was a jealous girl and that I had to get my jealousy under control.

“Yes, sometimes,” I replied, looking down at the floor. While there were many nice things that the psychic said to me during my two sessions with her, every time I sat down with her, she brought up this idea of being a jealous girl. This idea that I was troubled by the ugly, green-eyed monster of jealousy really stuck with me. I mean, I just assumed I was normal; I didn’t really think I was any more jealous than anyone else.

Whether you believe in angels and psychics or not, everyone experiences jealousy sometimes. But honestly, I shouldn’t be a jealous girl. I’ve had a great and privileged life with a roof over my head, clothes on my back, food on my table, a great education, awesome friends and a mom, who loves me and would do anything to make me happy. And yet, despite all of this, I get jealous. A lot. My jealousy is not just limited to one thing. I get jealous of people’s looks, their accomplishments, their intelligence, how many friends they have, the cool parties they go to. I get jealous when my crush talks to another girl, or when my friends hang out without me. 

The most stupid part of it all is that sometimes I get jealous over people’s accomplishments that I literally have no interest in, or that aren’t in my realm or industry at all. For example, the other day, there was a girl in my Indigenous Studies class who gave an amazing presentation about how she’s volunteered with all these organizations, attended conferences at Harvard and has been to the United Nations’ General Assembly twice, where she has been a speaker and where she has met many esteemed Nobel Peace prize winners. While I am happy for her successes, as she was talking, there was this twinge of jealousy festering inside me. And the worst part? While I appreciate everything the United Nations does, after doing a couple of Model UN conferences in high school, I quickly learned that policy making was not my career path, as public speaking and debating were not in my wheelhouse. I wasn’t good at it, and quite frankly I didn’t enjoy it. And yet, after her presentation, jealousy was still stirring inside me.

So yeah, I get super jealous sometimes. I mean, I do feel guilty about being jealous, I really do. Now I want to make something clear: I don’t take my feelings of jealousy and tear people down. I know that my jealousy comes from a place of low self-worth, and rather than tearing others down, I just use my inner critic to push myself harder. From what I’ve noticed, my jealousy results in a cycle:

  1. My competitive and jealous side comes out after stalking someone’s social media accounts or overhearing someone’s conversation about their extracurricular activities

  2. My brain convinces me that I’m not good enough and I should be better whether by joining more extracurricular activities or writing more articles

  3. I commit to a trillion things that I don’t have time for

  4. After committing to all those activities, I experience burnout and begin to become depressed

  5. I take some time to focus on myself 

  6. The cycle repeats

It’s not a healthy cycle and it’s 100% all put into motion because of me. I can actually be my own worst enemy, but I’m glad that I at least am aware that I do it.

It’s funny, though—when I try to be honest about it, people get really weird about it. I mean, I get it, what are you going to say if I tell you that I’m jealous of how many friends you have or how accomplished you are? But I do wish a conversation could be started about jealousy so it could be more accepted in society. Because right now, I feel like there’s a kind of shame if people express that they feel jealous, whether that jealousy stems from a person’s grades, looks, social life, extracurricular activities or something else. For women in particular, the stereotype of the “overly jealous girlfriend” can be especially harmful. But I think what’s important to note is that while jealousy can be unhealthy, it’s also completely natural and the only was to address it is to become aware of it and confront your feelings about what you’re feeling this way. 

At the end of the day, I don’t really know what the magical solution is to get rid of all of my jealousy or how to break my destructive cycle of jealousy that leads to burnout. I’ve tried a bunch of things, some things work and some don’t. Techniques I’ve found the most effective include journaling out my feelings to understand the root of my jealousy, writing and reviewing a list of all of your accomplishments, writing and saying affirmations, and finally just putting things in perspective and reminding yourself that while it may not always look it, nobody is perfect and amazing at everything. For example, journaling helped me realize that I was jealous of the girl who presented about speaking at the UN not because of her work specifically with the UN, but because she was giving back to the local community, and I feel like I don’t give back enough. Or when I get jealous of my friend’s relationship with her boyfriend, I remind myself that while I may long to be in a relationship, I have other things going for me right now including great grades and a bunch of extracurricular activities that I absolutely love. 

We all have strengths and weaknesses, because we’re all human beings. Jealousy is not an emotion anyone likes to feel, but what’s important is that it’s natural and everyone experiences it from time to time. It’s not about never feeling jealous again, it’s about what you do with those jealous feelings. I’ve got a long way to go, but my hope is that one day when I sit down with that psychic, she won’t see me as just a jealous girl, she’ll see me as a woman who is capable of dealing with her jealous emotions in a healthy way.

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Anika is the President of Her Campus Western. She is a fourth-year student studying media and creative writing at Western University and would love to work as an advertising copywriter after graduation. When she's not doing Her Campus things, you can find her baking, watching movies and shows, playing video games, and hanging out with friends.
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