Is your jealousy actually an awesome characteristic?

There are some characteristics that get a bad rap. People automatically assume if you have them, it is a disadvantage, but here is one negative trait that is actually something awesome.

Jealousy has always been considered a bad thing.

William Penn said, “The jealous are troublesome to others but a torment to themselves.” The phrase “green with envy” has been used as a mockery, and there are many Bible verses condemning jealousy (Proverbs 14:30, James 3:16 and more).

But … what if jealousy isn’t always bad?

Like with anything else, when taken to an extreme, jealousy becomes damaging. But in smaller doses, jealousy is a strength.

Here are five ways your jealousy is actually an awesome characteristic.

1. Shows you your strengths

Essentially, jealousy is competition with someone else. Although you are jealous of something about another person, you also draw on your own strengths to compete. You remind yourself of your talents and accomplishments.

2. Motivates you

The New Yorker says envy can “inspire us to reach new heights of achievement.”

Niels van de Ven, professor of psychology at Netherlands’ Tilburg University, also talked about how some kinds of envy can actually be helpful. His studies showed that while envy is unpleasant, it can be a “driver of change for the better.”

When you compare yourself to others, your jealousy serves as motivation to identify what you want and work hard for it.

3. Causes self-reflection

When you’re jealous of people, you compare your weak points to their strengths. This brings your shortcomings into sharp contrast, which can be pretty humbling.

But it’s also a great chance to evaluate yourself. With some introspection, you can self-reflect and determine where your weaknesses are.

4. Helps you prioritize

If you’re especially jealous about something, then that thing is becoming first on your mental priority list. Use this to become self-aware about what is really important to you.

5. Makes you grateful

When you’re jealous, you focus on what you don’t have.

But jealousy is also a chance to reflect on what you do have. God has given you many blessings. So, next time you’re jealous of someone else, look at everything you already have.

Megan Shauri

Megan Shauri graduated with a bachelors in anthropology and a masters in psychology. She is a mother of twins.