It isn’t the prettiest aspect of your personality, but there it is: jealousy.
Ick. How very seventh-grade of you. But all of us, no matter how far beyond seventh grade we’ve gotten, feel jealous sometimes.
And here’s a news flash: jealousy is a gift.
Jealousy is your gut’s way of telling you that first of all, whatever it is, you want some. And moreover, you believe that you could have it. After all, you are never jealous of those who have things you don’t want.
Imagine that your best friend just added an amazing rare frog to her rare frog collection. Feel jealous? I didn’t think so.
If you have no interest in frog husbandry, you don’t feel jealous. Mystified, maybe, about why she might want to collect frogs to begin with (in much the same way your family might feel about you and your choice of a career in the arts), but in no way jealous.
Now, if that same friend suddenly lucked into an all-expenses paid six-month artist’s retreat in a villa in Provence, you might feel jealous. Because that, you want.
This is part one of the gift: the simple acknowledgment of desire.
I don’t know about you, but I sometimes pretend that I don’t want what I want. I pretend that things are okay with me when they aren’t. I pretend to be patient when I feel impatient. I pretend I don’t mind being passed over when, in fact, I mind very much.
Have you done that? Tried to quiet that “I want” voice? Hurts a bit, no?
The second half of the equation, and perhaps the more important half, is this: you believe you are capable of getting it.
You are only ever jealous of things you believe you could do or have yourself.
What if your frog-loving best friend just swam the English Channel? Still not jealous, are you? Of course not, because not only do you not want to do that, but you also don’t think you have the ability.
But if that friend wins an award in something you think you could do, or reaches some milestone you aspire to, or obtains some neat thing that you’re pretty sure you could obtain if only the circumstances were right, then that green-eyed monster light is likely to start flashing.
Exercise : Harnessing the Power of Jealousy
Jealousy is a signal from within about desire and will. Add a little anger (also known by its polite name, frustration) and the recipe is complete.
Again, it’s not pretty, but it is an important message from your inner self — ignore it at your peril.
So the next time you find yourself trying to muzzle that nasty little voice of jealousy, take a moment and ask yourself:
1. Do I want that?
2. Why do I want that? What will getting that thing mean to me?
3. Do I think I could have it?
4. What do I think is standing in the way of my obtaining that?
5. What fifteen-minute baby steps could I take today toward that?
See if making a little progress toward your own goals doesn’t turn that jealous-monster voice into a happy-cheering-look-at-me-go voice.
Keep making those baby steps toward your goal, and I bet that someday soon someone might just be jealous of you.