Sometimes the word "jealousy" brings up negative connotations – no one wants to be thought of as a jealous person. For the purpose of this post I am referring to the meaning of "jealousy" that denotes wanting what someone else has. You may call it envy. I don't mean jealousy in a relationships or a possessive boyfriend/suspicious partner. (That is an issue of insecurity - another story for another day.)
Sometimes these feelings of envy provoke a twinge of discomfort - or maybe even rage or resentment toward a specific person in your life. If you are feeling jealous of someone, try not to bury this or wash these feelings down with a dose of denial. Instead, think of these emotions as bits of data - as if you are collecting information about yourself, conducting research. When you want something that someone else has, this might be signaling a lack in your life. This "something" does not have to be a material thing, it could very well be formless or abstract. Maybe you can't even put it in to words, and that is okay.
If you are feeling envy toward someone, I encourage you to explore that. Right now.
I read somewhere that we can view jealousy as an arrow.
Arrows are pointers, markers, indicators. They can be useful. They can lead us in new directions.
Think of a few people you are jealous of and why. Maybe you don't even know the "why" yet, but this exercise may help you to reveal that. I have a few questions for you. . .
Get out a pen and some paper. Try to answer in an uncensored way - this is for your eyes only. Just let the data flow out of you, with an open stream of consciousness. What appears on that piece of paper might surprise you.
4 Quick Questions - Don't overthink it.
Q1: Think of about 1 - 3 people you feel jealous of. What about this person (or these people) draws your attention and why do you feel that you want what they have? (Is it their social status? Their financial wellbeing? Their demeanor? Their essence?)
Q2: Can you identify any common themes or connections when you think of those people you envy most? (For example, maybe some buzz words crop up like health, love life, spirituality, career.)
Q3: Is there something in your life that you feel is stopping you from getting what that person has or feeling that or becoming that? Is this blockage internal or is it an outside force, person, or construct?
Q4: What is this information telling you? How are you going to use this data?
If you are still feeling lost, here is an assortment of some of MY answers to a couple of these (very) personal questions... just as an example to get you going.
XXX is hardworking and charming. He has a high-paying job and he gets to travel all the time. It seems like everything just works out for him. YYY is lean and fit, confident, popular, and strong-willed. ZZZ is glowing and happy and healthy. She is beautiful, knowledgable, spiritual, and authentic.
The major themes gleaned through my exploratory exercise identify a few areas in which I could use some strengthening: professional development, fitness, self-esteem, and spirituality. Boom. Isn't that helpful? At least it seems more helpful than just sitting here in a state of confusion and self-pity, feeling lost and unsure of where to go next, wondering how those XYZ people can be sooo f-ing lucky.
Let's change the lingo. Jealousy doesn't have to be a "bad" word, and we can also reframe it. Instead of saying "I am jealous of _____," why not say "I am inspired by _____." Think of these people as little arrows pointing you to your next step.
In order to GET what somebody else has, I have to DO the things they do. That sounds simple, but do we not make it so complicated?
Now, think of one small, little, tiny thing you can do today to go in the direction of that arrow. If fitness is a buzz word for you, as it is for me, maybe set a simple and realistic goal in that area.
Visualize the arrow on a compass. If you turn just one degree to the right and start going that way, following your compass, you will end up in a completely different place than you would had you not taken that baby step, only one little degree over. It has been my experience that the big shifts in my life have happened very slowly and incrementally - through small degrees of change.
Pay attention to your feelings, even the negative ones - envy, discomfort, anger, rage, confusion - these are signals. Meet them where they are and work through them. Keep doing the work, keep taking the next right step, listen to the nudges and whispers, follow the arrows, and you will surely find your place in this world.
"Confusion clouds the heart, but it also points the way.
Quiet down the mind,
the more the song will play."