How to Stop Being Jealous (& Start Appreciating Others)

Mar 29, 2024

A Jealous Heart Hurts

If you say you never get jealous, you’re probably not being honest with yourself. . .

Honestly. . .

Because being jealous or envious of the success of others or of what they have is simply part of human nature.

It’s not a NICE part, but unfortunately it IS one of those things that makes us US. 

(Although monkeys apparently experience feelings of jealousy too, although I doubt they have a word for it.)

So many cultures across the globe have a specific word for that feeling of joy one gets from realising that someone they envy is having a hard time.

In Russian, zloradstvo. In French joie maligne. In Hebrew, simcha la-ed. In Mandarin, xìng-zāi-lè-huò. In Danish it is skadefryd. In ancient Rome it was known as malevolentiaIn. . .

The English word, which is borrowed directly from German, is schadenfreude.

No-one would be surprised to know that these feelings of schadenfreude are common among all human beings. 

But they might be surprised to know that jealousy is so powerful it lights up the same parts of the brain that are active when processing pain.

I guess there’s some truth in the saying, “I want it so bad it hurts”. . .

The fact is, a jealous heart not only hurts us emotionally; if it goes unchecked it can also hurt others, too.

I guess that’s why we call it the green-eyed monster.

The good news? The monster can be tamed and taught to be much more mindful, empathetic, and joyful.

Let’s find out how.

green eyed monster sitting on a pile of gold coins

Jealousy of a Modern Mind

In today’s world, it’s easier than ever to feel jealous.

We’re inundated with a digital tsunami of information about how we should look, feel and be better, and we’re constantly manipulated into feeling insecure.

Each time envy creeps in, we subject ourselves to needless anguish, injecting doses of free suffering .

Many of us do it throughout the day, hour after hour as we pick up our phones for a quick dopamine hit and make sure we’re not ‘missing out’. 

We’re repeatedly diving into that digital sea, repeatedly feeling envious of what we see and read and repeatedly damaging our mental health as a result.


Recent research indicates a significant decline in overall happiness since the widespread adoption of smartphones and social media, especially among the younger generation. 

And it’s no surprise, as they’re constantly comparing themselves to people they believe have so much more than they do (when it’s not even true. . .). 

Comparison Culture

The danger of comparing ourselves to others is something I’ve talked about before.

Ever since the beginning of human history when people lived in much smaller groups and had much more limited contact with the outside world, they’re likely to have been jealous creatures.

But in an interconnected global world where literally anything is at our fingertips, the triggers are everywhere and available all the time. 

For example, there are new ‘influencers’ popping up every day who make their lives seem so exciting and ours, in comparison, so boring and dull.

They look amazing, have amazing stuff, do amazing things, travel to amazing places, have amazing jobs, amazing partners, amazing families, amazing bank balances and amazing lives. . .

At least, that’s what they WANT us to think.

The reality, unfortunately, is that much of it is an illusion.

It’s also the case that sometimes those people who seem to have everything, feel they have nothing at all, and take their own lives. . .

Cultivating ‘Mutida’

The word mutida comes from the ancient Indian language Sanskrit and doesn’t have a perfect English translation.

In Buddhism, Mutida is part of the Four Brahmaviharas, often called the “sublime attitudes” or “divine abodes.” 

At its heart it’s about feeling happy for others’ success and joy, without any jealousy or envy.

Practicing mutida means adopting a mindset that celebrates everyone’s happiness, achievements, and good qualities, not just your own or those close to you.

It’s about going beyond selfishness and ego, and finding joy in seeing other people experience happiness.

The practice cultivates positive emotions, fosters compassion, and strengthens our sense of connection with others, leading to a more fulfilling life for us and our community.

In Buddhist teachings, cultivating mutida is seen as crucial for maintaining a healthy and happy mind. 

It helps us let go of negative feelings like jealousy and resentment, while nurturing qualities like kindness and compassion towards everyone. 

Mutida is actually part of a Buddhist system of practice known as brahmavihara.

There are four different virtues that can be cultivated together: 

1. Loving-kindness (Metta)

2. Compassion (Karuna)

3. Empathetic joy (Mutida)

4. Equanimity (Upekkha)

Perhaps I’ll speak about the other three another time.

For now, I’ll just say that from a very young age, Thai people are taught to share in the joy of other’s happiness and success. We understand that by doing so we reduce the strength of the connection to our own ego as we are thinking more about ‘you than ‘me’.

When we do this as individuals, we become happier and nicer people. 

When we do this on scale we become a happier and nicer community.

10 Ways to Practice

To finish, I’ll share with you ten ways that YOU can start practicing mutida and also start improving the way you live your own life.

Here goes:

1.     Celebrate Their Success

Take the time to genuinely celebrate their achievements with them.

Offer congratulations and express your happiness for their accomplishment.

2.     Offer Support and Encouragement

Show your support by offering words of encouragement.

Let them know that you believe in their abilities and are there to cheer them on in their future endeavors.

3.     Avoid Comparison

Resist the temptation to compare yourself to them.

Instead, focus on their journey and celebrate their unique path to success.

4.     Practice Gratitude

Cultivate a mindset of gratitude by appreciating the successes of others.

Recognize the positivity and inspiration their achievements bring into your own life.

5.     Find Inspiration

Use their success as inspiration for your own goals and aspirations.

Let their achievements motivate you to pursue your dreams with renewed vigor and determination.

two people celebrating with balloons

6.     Share in Their Joy

Take pleasure in seeing them happy and fulfilled.

Share in their joy by acknowledging the significance of their success and the positive impact it has on their life.

7.     Learn from Them

Recognize that there is always something to learn from the successes of others.

Pay attention to the strategies and qualities that contributed to their achievement and consider how you can apply similar principles in your own life.

8.     Offer Practical Help

If appropriate, offer practical support to help them further their success.

Whether it’s lending a helping hand, providing resources, or offering advice, your support can make a meaningful difference.

9.     Be Genuine

The most important of all. Be sincere in your expressions of happiness for their success.

After all, you can’t fool yourself.

Authenticity not only means you reap the benefits of purifying your mind; you also foster deeper connections and strengthen relationships with others.

10.  Practice Self-Compassion

Finally, be kind to yourself and recognize that everyone’s journey is unique.

Share honestly in the joy of other people’s success, but don’t forget to focus on your own growth and celebrate your own successes at the same time.

Let Go Of Jealousy, Say Hello To Mutida

tiger opening chest and looking at its own glowing heart

In a world often characterized by comparison, envy and celebration of the ‘self’, cultivating the Buddhist virtue of mutida offers a powerful antidote to the ego-driven envy and the green-eyed monster of jealousy.

By practicing diligently in our daily lives, we can start to overcome feelings of insecurity, anxiety and anger about what others have and begin boosting our self-esteem.

If we do so, we’ll eventually stop being jealous, and quickly become happier, healthier and nicer members of our global community.

I’ll finish this post with a quote I feel sums things up well:

“Jealousy is a tiger that tears not only its prey but also its own raging heart.”

– Unknown


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