Let’s talk a little about jealousy. It’s a bit of an uncomfortable topic. No one likes to admit they’re jealous. We’re all like to think we’re above it, that we have ourselves together and are far too mature to stoop to such lows, letting such a silly emotion as envy creep into our lives. But let us all collectively dismount our high horses for a second so we can have an honest discussion about it. Jealousy can rear its ugly head over the most trivial of things and can be such a toxic feeling. It’s important we acknowledge it and find a way we can manage it within ourselves.
Truth time: who among you has felt jealousy? OK, I guess I’ll kick off the proceedings *raises hand* I have most definitely felt intense twinges of jealousy in my time. I have let that feeling chew me up and spit me out, I have let it make me angry and resentful, I’ve allowed it to make me bitchy. And that’s the thing with jealousy – it seeps out into your every pore and consumes you. And when I really looked at it, it was always over the most trivial of situations and yup, you guessed it, it always came back to a flaw within myself.
I see it time and again, especially within the blogger community. Jealous digs are bandied about all the time over Twitter, sometimes masked as indirect ramblings, sometimes upfront and outright. If there are products or opportunities involved and one blogger gets it over another, you can expect jealous digs to fly on Twitter, in emails between other bloggers or in extreme cases, in an email to a PR asking why exactly you didn’t get that opportunity.
I have definitely both felt that as a blogger and been on the receiving end of it. There have been times in my professional life I’m felt pangs of jealousy when someone got an opportunity over me. I’d get all pissed off about it and feel resentment towards them, but then I really took a good look at myself and what was causing me to feel like that. Bottom line, I was annoyed with myself that I hadn’t worked hard enough to be in that position. Getting bogged down in the opportunities I didn’t have wasn’t leaving me much room to actually work towards ones I could have.
What I realised is, I don’t know that person’s story (and no, just because you read someone’s blog, doesn’t necessarily mean you know about their life). I don’t know how much work went into them getting that opportunity, I don’t know what a personal triumph it is for them, if it’s part of a bigger picture they’re working towards, what role this achievement plays in the larger goal they’ve set for themselves. What I do know is how hard I’d work for it and how disheartening it’d be for people to dismiss it once I’d achieved it, simply because they felt jealous. I don’t want to be that person.
Suddenly, other people’s achievements served as motivation. They mean hope, they mean it’s possible. If I work my ass off, I too can get there. Being jealous of the fact that they got there first is nonsensical. I can either complain about it or I can figure out how to up my own game and be successful in my own right.
See, jealousy is a cop out. It lets you rest on your laurels while you put someone else’s success down to them being better connected or having money or whatever the case may be. It’s a good excuse to not pursue your own passions, to talk yourself out of having to try. As always, a little self reflection goes a long way. I’m not saying jealousy is an easy emotion to overcome, but you definitely have to be a little introspective to dig yourself out of that hole, move on and lead a more productive life.
And I’ll tell you what – it’s incredibly freeing when you do.