Jealousy, Inferiority, Politics, Stress: 10 Steps for Using these as your Strengths!

Jealousy, Inferiority, Politics, Stress: 10 Steps for Using these as your Strengths!

Swati Agarwal 24/02/2019 6

If one or more from below list of things apply to you or someone you care about, let's explore how to come out of these negative emotions and use them as our strengths:

  1. Do you have a colleague who always pretends to be the smartest dude/dudette on the floor, and looks at you in a very condescending manner in every meeting?
  2. Do you feel some people are gossiping about you behind your back all the time?
  3. Do you feel inferiority complex around some smart, pretty, handsome groups of persons even when they don't say a word?
  4. Do you feel jealous of someone's success, recognition, client appreciation, appraisal, onsite trips etc?
  5. Do you feel constantly under stress throughout the week, round the clock, for reasons unknown but mostly people-related?

I won't judge you if your answer to one, or more, or all of above questions is a yes. It's okay to feel that way. In fact, you should not give a damn about what I or anyone feels about your answers. In my view, what most important is,that you honestly become aware, understand and admit to yourself that you are someone who is constantly surrounded with negative emotions or feelings which are result of your take on people around you.

I have talked about category of people in an old article, "WHY SHOULD YOU KNOW WHICH BUCKET PEOPLE IN YOUR NETWORK BELONG TO?"

But the emotions I am talking about in this post above are not necessarily related to people from Bucket B. These are your own emotions. They may be coming out of your interaction with some actually good people, who may belong to your Bucket A or C. (Read my article shared on the link above!)

In this article, I want to talk about you and your emotions for now. I want (you) to admit that there are certain negative emotions flowing through my head and body at my workplace - which are result of my equations with some specific persons. These persons may not necessarily be bad humans. But every time I meet with them, see them, I feel negative electrons charging up within my body. This brings me to the ultimate question - Why? And whatever in hell is the reason behind such energy shift, HOW to deal with these emotions?

I have worked in the corporate sector in my first job. I was a fresher when I joined, but moved quickly to a Team Lead sort of role in little over 2 years' time. I had the opportunity to be on both side of equation. I was a jealous person and I saw people being jealous of me! I was given extreme levels of stress from upper management, and I have given stress to people who reported to me. And so on.

However when I joined Teach For India (TFI), a non-for-profit (NGO) organization, four years back, I didn't feel such way ever during my two year stint. And it's not because TFI didn't have smarter, intimidating people. In fact, I used to be one of the smartest girls in my first job, but when I moved to TFI, I literally had a great reality check. I met several hundreds of smarter professionals - extremely well-articulate, well-traveled, graduates from top US universities, and so on.

So what's the difference?

One clear difference is that the non-for-profit sectors are mostly #non-competitive in nature. In TFI, your salary (stipend) doesn't increase. It remains constant for two years. There are no material incentives linked to performance. There is no race for onsite trips, promotions etc. I didn't really think about salary, hikes, bonus for two years. That sense of non-competitiveness, collaboration, sharing etc helped me to look at my colleagues as friends and I started deriving positive energy from our interactions.

However, when I talk to few friends who are still working in competitive environments and are constantly going through stress mostly derived from people around, I get really worried. I feel it's killing us deeply, internally. It's making our minds and souls unhealthy and toxic. There must be ways to deal with such negative emotions, and we must develop strategy to use such negative emotions as our strengths.

So I reflected upon my own past and present experiences and conversations I have had from people across sectors, ranks, age, etc and come up with a few steps thinking questions that could help you convert your negative emotions to your strengths. Let's take a look. But before that please understand if you are not ready to work hard, and just want to continue to feel jealous or negatively, I or no one in the world can have a plan/strategy for you to feel better. This post doesn't claim to give you a ready-made plan or support negative feelings. This post wants you to know that you are not alone in feeling negatively, and it's not bad. It's human nature to feel that way. But overcoming such emotions is certainly in your hands if you honestly want to. Let's read the steps now-

  1. Deeply reflect upon persons who seem to be the cause of your negative emotions. Who are some of those people you thought of when you were answering the list of questions shared on top of this article?

  2. Are they worth thinking about? Are they real shit people (who know nothing) or are they people who are actually smart, but you're genuinely intimidated by their aura, popularity, personality, skills etc? (It's okay to feel that way!)

  3. Do you need them for your work? If yes, you got to find ways to deal with them. If no, can you completely chuck them off? Please do so!

  4. If answers to Q3 and Q4 are a yes (if it's a no for any or both, then forget about them for now), it means these persons are smart yet shit. Now let's focus on their positive attributes, the characteristics that make them intimidating, desirable or popular. Let's have a fresh take on these persons. Let's try to understand them as persons. Let's understand their stories. They might come across as strong people bestowed with tens of opportunities, but you don't know that for sure! Do you?

  5. Let's start admiring and appreciating them, internally and at public places. Let's join hands with them. Can you? If you appreciate someone in public, they are bound to pay it back to you. Everyone likes to be appreciated. :)

  6. Let's do self-reflection now! There is always a reason why we get intimidated by some people. They may have certain qualities which we don't have. Is that trait worth developing, working upon? If so, who is better than these persons to help you on your new development path? If it's a skill related to public speaking, ask them how can you work upon yourself to build that skill. Or if you can't ask them so directly, analyse their growth path. Understand what courses have they attended, or what are the key moves they make which make them so desirable.

  7. Let's also understand that you as a person has your own sets of strengths and weaknesses. Someone maybe good at coding, but not so much with client interaction. You maybe good with implementation, but no so much with requirement gathering. What is important is that you accept your own personality before you start imitating someone else's. You should know what are those areas you can and want to improve upon. Don't try to change yourself completely. That's not a practical solution. Work on 2-3 areas at a time. And slowly you will come out of that smallish competitive negative feeling.

  8. Think BIG! It's a crime to aim for lesser. If you really want to feel jealous of, feel jealous of someone who is incredibly successful and powerful, say, Priyanka Chopra. Look at her confidence. Don't feel jealous of a girl next door who your seniors maybe in awe of. Have a better role model sort of villain in your dreams. ;-) That will help you set your development plan really high.

  9. Know when to exit! If you really feel that you are stuck at a wrong place, surrounded by weak managers, incompetent yet bad peers, lack of clarity on larger purpose in life, you may consider leaving the place altogether. I personally strongly feel that you should not curse your employers, or peers, or subordinates, for years and still be working at that place. 

  10. People are just people in the end - all made up of same composition of oxygen, nitrogen, iron, carbon and other rubbish. :)

Don't hold grudges for lifetime from anyone. Remember, some of your biggest enemies end up becoming your strongest allies!

Happy becoming better person inwardly and outwardly!


Do share any questions, feedback or input. I would like to revise my approach with some valuable feedbacks. Thank you in advance. Take care!

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  • Calum Taylor

    Suppress your ego and emotions, get stronger mentally and physically.

  • Danny Fenwick

    Invest in yourself not in others.

  • Tom Appleton

    Success in the end, is unavoidable

  • Gabi Bradshaw

    Thanks for sharing your experience with us

  • Daniel McConnell

    If only I can make some of my enemies allies

  • Tom Clarke

    This is the approach we should use more often

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Swati Agarwal

Social Development Expert

Swati is the General Manager of Social Venture Partners (SVP) Hyderaad, where she builds powerful partnerships with non-profit organisations to tackle India's most pressing social challenges. SVP is the world's largest network of engaged philanthropists, with over 3,200+ investor-donors across more than 40 cities worldwide. Swati is a Teach For India Fellow - she has taught 100 girls for two years in a slum community in New Delhi. She has previously worked with Hedge Funds for four years as a consultant in New Delhi and New York. Swati holds a bachelor degree in Computer Science from the Institute of Engineering and Rural Technology.


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