Jealousy. I venture to say we’ve all felt it. It pulls at your heart strings. Nagging and breaking your spirit. It leaves a lump in your throat and a chip on your shoulder.
Ugly. Painful. Unnecessary. Normal.
So, to be jealous is to feel envious and to feel envious is to feel shitty because you want what someone else has. You want what someone else has for yourself. You may not want your sister’s husband, but you want your own husband. You may not want your best friend’s job, but you want a job that will make you feel alive too.
Like I said, we’ve all felt it and none of us enjoyed it. But sometimes it seems inevitable. What can we do today to STOP this unattractive green-eyed monster?
You can remember this: when you feel jealous of someone, you are focused on something good in this person’s life. You disregard the fact that you don’t know everything. How can you be jealous of your neighbor’s success when you don’t know what it took for her to get there? Are you also jealous of the stress-induced wrinkles and the sleepless nights and the failed marriage that she sacrificed to achieve her success? Even if she paints the picture that her life is a piece of cake, experience tells us that it is not. We know better.
Like the proverb says; before criticizing a man, walk a mile in his shoes. Before envying another man, walk a mile in his shoes. Just something to ponder as you navigate a mid-summer’s weekend.
No life is ever perfect. No one fully discloses the imperfection of their life. We keep secrets of failures and heartbreaks whereas we brag about our successes and our fabulous luck. Of course, there are exceptions. Those people who love to complain, who probably share more of the bad stuff than your average joe. But the general rule is that we prefer to advertise our fortune rather than our strife, rather than “keeping it real.”
My challenge for you and for me is to stop allowing ourselves to experience jealousy. Instead, we will congratulate others’ successes and harness this energy into achieving our own successes. Rather than being jealous, be inspired. If your co-worker can lose 10 pounds. So can you, it’s as simple as that.
Last Monday, I posted the video for Baz Luhrmann’s “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen).” That song has a few lines about jealousy that really struck a chord with me:
Don’t waste time on jealousy; sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself.
Go listen to it here. The way he says it makes me know that it’s true.
Do you ever catch yourself feeling jealous? If so, what usually sparks it? Is it another’s success, passion, drive, money, family, appearance, house, car, something else? What do you do combat these feelings?