How Jealousy Can Actually Be Good For You

All of us can remember a moment in which we were overcome with envy. Maybe your friend scored the lead role in the school play, when you were put in the chorus. Or perhaps your friend was named valedictorian and you found yourself suddenly seriously jealous of their huge accolade—despite not considering yourself much of an academic achiever.

We don't often share these moments with other people. Often, these jealous moments feel almost petty, silly or even just plain wrong in the moment. After all, no one wants to be accused of being jealous of someone else's accomplishments.


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Yet while this may make it seem like jealousy is a wasted emotion—one that must be hidden from the world lest we risk embarrassment—that's not the case at all. In fact, admitting that you're jealous (even just to yourself) can be beneficial in your life. Here's how.

Jealousy Shows You What You Think You're Lacking In Life

If you have zero athletic aspirations, you might think you wouldn't really care when your friend scores a winning touchdown at the homecoming game. However, if you find yourself jealous over their big win, it's likely because there's something about their success in this particular situation that you want for yourself. Maybe you don't want a trophy, but you do want to be admired by your classmates—which could indicate that, lately, you've been feeling a little bit invisible. Training for the next football season may be out, but you might want to consider taking on a leadership role at the next opportunity.


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Jealousy Motivates You

It's hard to be jealous over something you know you could never achieve (are you jealous that a bird can fly?) and if you find yourself envious of a certain accomplishment, it may be because you're convinced—even deep down—that you could achieve the same thing, if only the circumstances were different. Maybe you're jealous of a friend's better grade in math, or their bigger role in the school musical—either way, jealousy can motivate you to work a little bit harder to achieve those things.


Jealousy Teaches You About Yourself

Jealousy is an educational emotion, in that it doesn't always make immediate sense why you feel the way you do. Instead of running away from feelings of jealousy, or assuming that feeling badly about a friend's accomplishment makes you a bad person, you can use feeling jealous as a reminder to sit with your negative reaction and unpack it. You might realize your jealousy stems from a place of irrationality. Maybe you're jealous that a friend is in a new relationship because you feel like you'll never date someone. Realistically, that's probably not true, and you can use feeling jealous to take a step back and remind yourself why that's not factually accurate.


So next time you feel green with envy, consider the benefits to jealousy below—and lean into how you're feeling!


Want to read more about emotions? Click HERE to read about why being emotionally sensitive can be an asset.