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The Green-Eyed Monster

It's easier now than ever to look around at how other people live and make comparisons. Do I look as attractive as them? I wonder if their relationships is happier, easier, or more satisfying? Why don't I make as much money as they do? I know I work harder, am smarter, or have been here longer. All of these speculations breed a green-eyed monster of envy and jealousy.

Social media posts and pictures suggest that everyone else you know is happy, healthy, and successful. They post about dream vacations, promotions, and blissful endeavors. Even when tragedy strikes with illness or death, their posts sound so strong and mature. The comparisons begin...

We look around at our own lives and check to see if we measure up. This drive to "keep up with the Joneses" has its root in social psychology. When we enter novel situations, we look around to see what everyone else is doing to gather social cues on how we should behave to fit the situation. So when it seems as though everyone else's lives are perfect, and we know ours is not, we instantly feel like we are doing something wrong.

We easily forget that what people choose to make public, can be whatever version they want to share. If someone gets fired, they may boast about new opportunities. When experiencing loss, people may know the "right" things to say, but feel differently inside.

Shakespeare created the phrase "green-eyed monster" to describe the uncontrollable force of jealousy that overcame Othello when he suspected his wife of infidelity. By using the color green, Shakespeare suggested this was a kind of sickness that plagued Othello. The constant wondering tortured him.

How to Slay the Monster:

  • Remember that what you see may not be the whole story.

  • Reduce or stop your social media consumption.

  • Reflect on how you feel when you see others do well.

  • Improve how you manage those strong feelings of disappointment, envy, or jealousy.

  • Make goals to improve problematic areas of your life.

Stop torturing yourself. Break the hold the "green-eyed monster" has on you.


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