It occurred to me the other day that I find the aggravating clutches of jealousy at the most annoying of times. I see someone achieving, perhaps delving successfully into a passion I too share with them, and alongside feeling great for them I feel deep in my gut a clutching jealousy that I have not also done the same. It can happen with anyone, and typically only when they’ve accomplished something which I am yet to do too, (I’m not quite so bad as to feel annoyance towards someone for doing the same as I have!).
I’ve often experienced such a feeling, however it was not until recently that I truly thought about it and what it meant. Envy is always given bad connotations, it’s a horrible feeling that you yourself are inadequate, or that someone else is somehow better than you for simply having the effort and commitment to do something which you can. It’s even listed as one of the seven deadly sins! However, I considered it again in a different light, one which I wish to share with you now.
Jealousy is not a terrible affliction. It’s your minds way of telling you to emulate another, so as to better yourself. In fact it’s the very reason I’m writing this article now. Jealousy is not something to loathe and resent, it’s a means to improving yourself. The line between our competitive nature and envy is one often crossed and merged, and is a perfectly healthy thing.
So long as you act upon it.
Of course there are many things in life not to be jealous of. High school is a great analogy for this, for life itself very much reflects the primal nature of humanity displayed in teenagers as they grow into adulthood. A student with a small circle of friends may find jealousy towards a person surrounded by people, yet that person may be jealous of the other simply as they feel they aren’t truly close to anyone. Everyone has their own problems, and to be jealous of another’s life is not to consider this fact. Of course it’s human nature to believe the grass is always greener, it’s a fundamental function we follow to better our lives and positions in order to survive. Indeed, this can be a beneficial way to strive for greatness. However, to envy something which can’t be changed, or which likely is little better than your own situation is truly unhelpful.
So be jealous of that friend who got a promotion, be jealous of the person who gave up alcohol and felt amazing. If you can do what others have done, then there is no need to writhe in jealousy, but rather embrace it, and beat it.