[I’m excited to announce that today’s article is Melanie’s first a staff writer!]
Jealousy is one of those emotions that can just get under your skin. It turns you into someone else and really exposes some of the darker sides of being human. I’m constantly fascinated by emotions, as we are one of the few species that can experience some of these irrational feelings. As much as I’m interested in emotions and psychology, I’m even more interested in how those emotions affect our financial well-being.
Jealousy, the evil green-eyed monster can seriously detract you from your goals. It can also make you poor, both in the financial and emotional sense. I speak from experience as I used to let jealousy rule my emotions when I was younger. I felt this intense anger (that I didn’t have something) and longing (for something else) come over me. More often than not, it was about something insignificant. I look back and think that if I spent as much time improving my own situation, rather than be jealous of someone else, I could have made serious improvements in my life. But sometimes things take time and we have to figure things out in our own time.
Here are ways that jealousy is making you poor:
You Think You Can Buy What Others Have
Being jealous of the so-called Joneses will quickly make you poor. If you are constantly looking to your neighbor, friend, or co-worker on how to live, you are missing the point. Maybe they have nicer cars, a bigger house, and more fashionable clothes, but that doesn’t mean they are happy or well off. Buying more things to keep up with a public persona of happiness and success is an easy way to drain your budget.
Think about why you are jealous of someone. What do you want that they have? More often than not, we buy things as a symbol of something, not because it actually gives us that particular thing. Nice things may give us status, power, and pride. But nice things fade. Make memories, buy things that are more sustainable, something internal. Having a strong sense of self that is happy, confident, and flexible is a great way to live a rich life, regardless of the things you have or the things you don’t have.
You Let Unhappiness Rule
Jealousy is just another aspect of unhappiness. Some level of jealousy can be normal, but you need to learn how to turn it into motivation. However, most of the time jealousy can paralyze you and hit you like a ton of bricks. Then the self-doubt rolls in. Then you think, “Well, I’ll never be like that, so what’s the point?”
Jealousy can lead you to a downward spiral of inactivity. By letting unhappiness rule you, and jealousy take over, you are wasting your precious brain cells on things that won’t change anything. As I mentioned before, think about using all that mental power on YOURSELF. What can you change about yourself to make you happier? How can you be your own rock star? Think about all the good ideas not being born because of your unhappiness. Letting those ideas go to waste, and killing time being jealous is hurting your income potential. If you are like me, you’ll probably spend more money when you are unhappy too. You’ll buy that much needed Ben and Jerry’s to console you, you’ll buy those nice shoes because they’ll “make you feel better” and you’ll complain, instead of do something about it. I speak from experience of wasting time and spending money as a band-aid. I didn’t want to focus on the root of the issue; I was unhappy and jealous of others.
It wasn’t until I fully realized, that I could only be me that I was able to start taming the jealously beast. No matter how hard I tried, I would never be anyone else — so why not be the best version of myself? And do the best I can? Some of these things come naturally with maturity, but most of all with diligent practice.
Your Mindset Limits You
Jealousy is a form of the scarcity mindset; one that pivots you against other people for a slice of the pie. Instead of seeing the beauty in everyone and getting inspired by their successes, you are jealous of what they have. You think there is a finite amount of money and success out there, and because they have it all, you have none.
The world doesn’t work that way. It’s hard to think that there is room for all of us to be successful. There is room for us all to be successful in our own way. Success usually comes in different forms and usually not in the ways we think. My new-age averse mind has had the hardest time believing this. But it’s true.
Changing your mindset, getting rid of jealousy, and choosing to get inspired by the people you are jealous of can do wonders for your life and money making potential. If you are jealous of someone, it means you want something they have. Contact them and talk to them about it. Ask them to be a mentor. Spin it in a positive light and learn from them.
About The Author: Melanie blogs about breaking up with debt at DearDebt.com and invites others to write breakup letters to their debt as well. She’s accumulated a total of $81k in student loan debt between two degrees. Currently she puts more than 50% of her income towards debt, while living a frugal, fun life. Melanie enjoys travel, art, music, adventure, and of course, personal finance. If you’re interested in writing for Vosa contact us here.
Photo credit: Richard Masoner