I recently listened to all the Alain de Botton videos on YouTubr that I could possibly take. And one of the points he made that struck me was that he said that jealousy was an indicator of what you want or would like to do. He advises that we examine these feelings to get at the core of what it is we are really envious of.
Often times, jealousy is frowned upon as being something unrighteous. It's pegged as one of the seven deadly sins, after all! But perhaps Alain de Botton has a point, that it can be used productively, rather than destructively. Some who are jealous of you will avoid you. Others will try to tear you down or sabotage you. But what is there to gain in this behaviour? Probably nothing or very little.
Instead, can we recognize this feeling, and ask, what is it about this person is making me envious? Is it they are doing or having something I would like to have in my life? It is often the people who are in close demographic profile to us that causes the most envy. Someone who is our age range, gender, or even race. We think, "that could of been me, but it isn't!". Can I get a raise of hands on those who are jealous of Kate Middleton? If you are, you're more likely to be female, of similar age range, and considered "common". I don't reckon a middle aged man is likely to being envious of Kate!
I have to admit, I do get jealous. I have fabulous friends who get to do amazing things. But I also realize its only human to have desire. I find that envy can be a source of motivation when applied properly. While comparing yourself to others in close proximity to you, then sulking about it, isn't going to help you, reflecting on what you want is productive. Knowing exactly what you want is powerful. It gives you something to work towards. People you envy are probably also people you admire (though you might not want to admit it). If these people are in your social circle, don't avoid them. There is probably sometching you can learn from therir success. After all, success breeds sucess. They will keep you motivated about moving towards what you want in life, as long as you keep things in perspective.
And that's when jealousy can be a good thing.