Yes, jealousy can be a force for good. You heard me right!
Jealousy can be a fantastic way to energize, enliven, and motivate. We think of jealousy as being a base emotion and associated with unpalatable behavior, but jealousy can also be a way to tune in and figure out what we desire most. Once we know, we can think about how we are directing our energy and, possibly, make new choices, ones help us reach the desired goal that gets us back on track.
For a half a year in my late 20’s I considered not acting anymore, just packing it in. I was new to Philadelphia, and, contrary to what I pictured in my mind, no one was lining up, excited to host my one-woman show at any theatre. I had a favorable review of my one woman show in Timeout NY. I clutched the press clipping in my pocket folder as I banged on doors yet failed to get a single appointment. No one was impressed or motivated to showcase me. I was pretty deflated.
Maybe I will just be a healer and forget about acting and writing, I mused to myself. So, I tried to go that route. I promoted my coaching services, and I was successful in finding clients who benefitted from my services, many of whom then referred me to their friends.
Then Matt Damon and Ben Affleck won the Oscar for Good Will Hunting. I loved the film, especially the writing, and I marveled at how these two friends had made this vehicle to showcase their talents.
I was undeniably jealous. They were not much older than me, they were talented, they were successful, and they had not given up on their dream. That’s when I first realized that jealousy is there to remind us when we really want something and must not give up on honoring that. That is a critical component to realizing what we want in life. One of those aha moments.
The trick is to decipher what the qualities are of the thing we are jealous about that deep down we wish we could have for ourselves. If we are willing to be flexible and have some of those qualities in another form, we stand a good chance of getting at least some of what we want and continuing to build from there. The painful part of jealousy when it hypnotizes us into believing we cannot have it. Once we change from this self-defeating one, to a self-honoring one we can then take actions to actually realize our dreams.
I still get jealous, but now I know how to use it to be an energizing tool that actually works in my favor.