Have you ever been jealous? I suspect that all of us have at one time or another.
Typically when we think of jealousy we think of someone who can't stand to see their beloved pay any attention to another person. Hollywood has churned out hundreds of movies that revolved around jealousy.
Another type of jealousy is for position or possessions. Often we describe that as envy. I could be envious of my neighbor's new ride or a co-worker's promotion. Most of us have probably experienced this. At least momentarily.
How we respond can make a big difference in our personal finances and our happiness.
On the one hand we can choose to 'keep up with the Joneses' and buy a new car that will make us feel equal to or better than our neighbors. Of course that will either require a big withdrawal from our savings or agreeing to make payments for years. In other words, a reduction in our net worth. A step back from our personal financial independence.
Another possible response is to want to see the other person lose what they have. Hope that they fail in that new job or that someone backs into their new car. In short, if I can't have it, I don't want them to have it either.
It occurs to me that response hurts me in two ways. First, I become hardened and hateful. Very selfish. Certainly not a healthy and happy place for my mind to be.
I think that jealousy also hurts me financially. Instead of trying to build myself up financially, my mind is working overtime dreaming of ways that the other person could be brought down. My mental energy isn't being used to create wealth (mine), but to destroy wealth (other person's). No matter how you look at it, that's not a formula for making myself or my world better.
So anytime that I catch myself being jealous of possessions or position I try to quickly get off of it. Knowing that I'm only hurting myself makes it a little easier.
What's been your experience with jealousy? Am I missing something? Is there a situation where jealousy has actually been helpful to you? Or do you agree and have techniques that you use to identify when you're beginning to fall into a jealous mindset? What do you think?
Keep on Stretching those Dollars!