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Last Updated on November 27, 2020

How To Overcome Jealousy for a Happier Life

How To Overcome Jealousy for a Happier Life

Knowing how to overcome jealousy is really about knowing how to overcome yourself. You may have ideas about who you should be, often based on very high or unrealistic standards that you see others emulating. When you are jealous of others, it’s not because of how much they have. It’s because of how little you perceive yourself to be.

Now, with social media, getting likes and page views is the new gauge for popularity. Are people flocking to your profile? Are you keeping up with Instagram influencers? Are you marketing yourself properly? Do you have a personal brand? Do you have any following? Do you have all the latest things? Are you like your friends?

Are you happy?

Only one of those questions matter—whether you’re happy or not. When you are jealous, it is difficult to let in positive feelings about yourself and life. You play a constant game of comparison with others, and everything becomes about competition.

That leaves you with an ideal of who you can be, rather than feeling good about who you already are. It’s good to always want to better yourself, but there is a limit. There is a point where you have to look at yourself and think you’re enough. Otherwise, you’ll never really “make it.”

Success will always be this elusive thing that you try to grasp when comparing yourself to others. You run a race that isn’t your own, and you let go of the person you are truly meant to be.

The good news is that you can overcome jealousy for a happier life. You can still meet your goals, and accept yourself along the way. You can stop checking for who is checking you out on social media. You can breathe a little. You can learn to say “no.”

You can value others while not wanting to become them. You can choose happiness that is about self-compassion, fulfillment, and purpose, things that lead you away from jealousy—and you can start now.

Here are 5 ways on how you can overcome jealousy and become happier in life.

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1. It’s Not About Keeping up With the Joneses

Appearances are not everything. You don’t have to follow what’s shiny and new. You don’t have to meet others’ expectations of you.

If you don’t want to do something, say “no.” If you don’t want to be something, say “no.” And if you don’t want to just follow another’s example, say, “no.”

You have the power to control your decisions—your destiny.

If someone has everything perfectly together, they may not be all who you think they are. It may be an image or a facade. Because if you look deeper, everyone has flaws. Everyone has things about themselves that they don’t like.

You never know if someone may be looking to you as an example. You might be the person to lead rather than follow. Rather than seeking inspiration, BE the inspiration. That’s a game-changer.

You may fear rejection when you try to become like others. But what if you were comfortable with yourself to a point that others felt they could be comfortable with you too? What if everyone could let their guards down because of you? Maybe everyone’s waiting to relax and be reassured, too.

Comparing yourself to others may be difficult to pull away from at first. Avoid triggers that cause you to compare yourself to others by not looking at someone’s social media or taking a break to work on yourself—avoiding certain people who put you down or doing something spontaneous rather than just following those around you.[1] You can choose your life. You can find happiness.

2. Finding Satisfaction

On a scale of 1-10, how do you feel about your life?

If you are on the lower end, you are most susceptible to copying others. You don’t have to prove anyone to anything, though. If you find satisfaction with your life, be proud of it.

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As long as you can find some satisfaction, you can center yourself in what is good and right and find some meaning in everything. You can overcome jealousy towards others and let your ambitions be your own. When you find satisfaction, you find a newfound love of life—and that is happiness.

Being satisfied doesn’t come easily. It’s human nature to always want more—more stuff, more time, more achievements, more money, more more more. Instead, gratitude minimizes envy. Be grateful to be here, and you will see what’s worth it.

Are you prioritizing your life right? If you are feeling dissatisfied, you may have to readjust your value system. It’s not about your reputation. It’s about your realness.

Are you being honest with yourself in what you need? If not, start there. Start with what makes you happy, without having to have a reason for it—without wanting more or thinking about what it can get you. Just fall in love with the life you live. Then, you will be satisfied.

3. Look to Yourself, Not to Others

What if everything you’re doing is actually right? What if you are okay as you are? What if you have nothing to fear?

Uncertainty and desperation are what lead people to copy each other. A lack of confidence keeps people from coming back to themselves and overcoming jealousy. You might find out who you really are, or you might find out who someone else is. You can only choose one person to be—choose you.

It’s not your fault that you may be feeling insecure. If you listen to the small voice within, you may find that self-love is what you need, not societal approval. But it’s easy to mistake the two.

When you feel like you have nothing of worth, you look to others thinking they have more. It’s time to look to the person who knows you best- yourself. And only you can represent yourself.

Jealousy can lead you to look to anyone but you. This can harm relationships, cause tension, and cause added stress—but you have some control.

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Recognize when you are becoming jealous and work on mending the relationship you have with the person because jealousy happens to everyone.[2] You just have to know when it’s happening to you.

Rather than pulling together traits, values, priorities, passions, etc. from another person, pull from within. Your happiness depends on it. So, give up following the crowd because they may be going the wrong direction. It’s time to take a step forward as the real you.

4. Being Your Own Cheerleader

One day, you won’t look back and think, “I’m so happy because of all my energy placed into other people.” Instead, you will look back and think, “I’m so happy because I got to be myself and live a full life.”

When you are your own cheerleader, you are also your own advocate. You speak up for what you need, and you take care of yourself. No one can do it for you.

Sometimes, you may wait for others to validate you before you value yourself. Instead, try to stand tall with what you have, and you will go farther.

When you motivate yourself by healthy means, you rely less on jealousy or competition to fuel you, and this allows you to overcome jealousy. When you get up each morning and decide that life is worth it, that decision changes lives. Perhaps, those whom you look to are looking to you as well. You have to decide that your voice matters.

Positive affirmations are a great way to motivate yourself. For example:

  • I Am Enough
  • I Am Whole
  • I Am Worthy
  • I Am Loved
  • I Am…

Keep going. Keep saying “I am.” That will empower you to no longer need to envy others.

5. Realistic Expectations

Everyone wants to be on top. Everyone also wants the easy way to get there. But there’s a better way than just being like everyone. You don’t have to always have the answers to be authentic. You just have to have realistic goals.

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There’s no easy way to anything, and if there is, it most likely costs too much. When you choose the road best for you, it may be a lonely one.

Your road may be the one less traveled. You may not have much other than your vision of who you want to be. But you know what? You have your own road.

Not everyone ends up doing what they want to do in life; sometimes, envy has a say in that. Sometimes, envy and jealousy rip you from reality. You start diverging from the road meant for you, crossing into the paths of others’. You may get lost there, and before you know it, it’s too late to turn back.

There’s hope, though. You can stay the course and be the person you are meant to be. You can let go of jealousy and that anguish to be someone other than yourself.

There is no perfect person. But there is perfect happiness in being who you are. You can find it by letting it all go. That’s when you know you are enough.

Final Thoughts

“A flower never thinks of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.” –Unknown

It’s time to put jealousy behind you. Love yourself, and you will love your life. What do you have to lose?

Find who you are by letting go of others’ expectations. Authentically show up each day and say, “I am here.” Learn how to overcome jealousy, and happiness will come once you do.

More Tips on How to Overcome Jealousy

Featured photo credit: Andrew Le via unsplash.com

Reference

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Sarah Browne

Sarah is a speaker, writer and activist

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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