From Jane Austen’s Emma:
Emma: There is only one thing to do with a person as impossible as she.
Emma: I must throw a party for her. Otherwise everyone will feel at once how much I dislike her.
Oh Jealousy. I know you well. You are a vixen and a muse. I thought we had parted ways after I left the acting world, but it turns out you are omnipresent in the online community as well.
The benefit of such a long-lasting relationship is that I’ve gotten to know both your wily ways and your incredible gifts.
Now, if I may, I’d love to share what I’ve learned in our many encounters with my lovely readers, so they can create a healthy relationship with you as well….
Ok, here’s the deal. We are all prone to feeling jealous from time to time. (For those of us who are Renaissance Souls or Mulitpotentialities, almost everything is fair game because there are so many things we are passionate about.) The absolute worst thing we can do is deny that we are feeling jealous. What good has lying to ourselves ever done?
Instead, jealousy can be the greatest motivator/inspiration of all time- when used correctly.
There are a few questions we can ask ourselves to determine whether jealousy is turning us into a good witch or a bad witch.
1. The first, and most important step, when we start to turn green with envy, is to ask ourselves what is it exactly that we are jealous of?
Often times it’s not what a person is doing/creating/accomplishing, it’s just that they are actually doing/creating/accomplishing something. This is a vital distinction. Which leads to the next question:
2. Do we want what they have or do we want their gumption in getting it?
3. If it’s a result they’ve achieved that we are after, is this something we already knew we wanted? OR Is this something we didn’t even know we wanted until we felt jealous?
Jealousy can often shed light on a desire deep within us that we didn’t even know existed! (Yep- she’s a tricky one)
Make it work
Sometimes (often) the grass really is greener on the other side. In that case staring at our neighbor’s perfectly kept yard while bemoaning our growing weeds doesn’t accomplish anything.
Taking our jealousy out on them by trashing their yard lands us in jail or a mental institution.
The only option? Stop staring at their lawn, get some fertilizer, pull out the weeds, and get to work on our own yard.
Bonus points for politely asking the neighbor for any helpful tips on achieving a green thumb!
Go for it
Once we’ve set our sights on what it is we want (thanks jealousy!) and we put in the effort to make it happen, there are three possible results:
1. We are totally motivated to get it- nothing can stop us now!
2. We realize this goal isn’t really what we want after all- relief!
3. The goal is impossible/unhealthy (like my desire to marry Prince William and my jealousy of Kate Middleton) in which case, we make a gratitude list for the incredible gifts we do have in our lives.
Keep in mind
Even though jealousy can be a terrific truth seer and motivator, it can also create resentment, dishonesty, and unoriginality. To combat these unwanted side affects:
1. Remember that someone wants something you have, just as much as you want something someone else has.
2. Don’t copy someone else’s work or process! Instead, treat it like a road map to help get you to your own unique destination.
3. Be genuine and vocal about your admiration for another’s success.
Don’t Quote Me
This post is really about being jealous of other people’s experiences and accomplishments.
When it comes to advice regarding jealousy of belongings I’m not much help since A. I’m not much of “stuff” person and B. If I really truly want something, I get it- even if it means putting it on my credit card (NOT good advice- just the truth).
As far as jealousy in our love-lives goes, well, I’m not much help either because I haven’t mastered that one… although I suspect trust, communication, and self-confidence are involved somehow.
So that’s it! When it comes to feeling jealous of our peers and mentors, remember the mantra: “If you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em!”
And have a kick arse time.