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    To Have and Have-Not: Is Jealousy Affecting Your Life?

    By Kristen Houghton     

    A woman I knew was fond of saying, “If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all! I’m one of the “have-nots” in life.”

    She really wasn’t a have-not and her luck was pretty good. She and her husband were healthy and lived quite well. They were a two income family who were able to enjoy many material comforts. Yet she always saw others as having more than she and was constantly jealous. This attitude defined her life and had a negative impact on her marriage. She equated happiness with having what others had.

    Jealousy is one of the most common of human feelings. Most people have times in their lives when they covet what others have. Whether it is a nicer car, a bigger house, a better wardrobe, or just an assumed happier life-style, we envy it.

    There is nothing wrong with jealousy. You can’t help entertaining the green-eyed monster once in a while. But the “monster” becomes a big problem when you allow it to take control of your everyday life.

    Therapists define negative thought processes as something which interferes with your daily life. A little bit of jealousy is not harmful but it becomes an unhealthy problem when you allow it to become a constant part of your thinking.

    How happy can you be when you are always unfavorably comparing what others have to what you have? Being jealous of what other people may have in their lives is not only unhealthy but unproductive. You develop a relationship with the “green-eyed” monster and it can be a destructive lifelong one if you allow it. It affects you and all other relationships you may have.

    It is up to you to decide what to do with your feelings.

    There are times when a little envy can actually work to your advantage. If you are envious of someone who may have succeeded in something you want to do, say a new career, weight loss, or education, that small amount of envy might just spur you on to set new goals and make you determined to achieve them. The “monster” then becomes little and helpful.

    Being satisfied with what you have now does not make you complacent and stuck with your current life. You can still look around and make needed or wanted changes. Make jealousy work for you, not destroy you.

    Jealousy and calling yourself a “have-not” can become a self-filling prophecy because, eventually, what you “have not” is happiness.

    Written by Kristen HoughtonRate this article:

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