Intentional Jealousy

Jealousy is a natural part of being human.

We want what other's have - status, money, clothes, physique - it is human instinct to want something better than what you have. It inspires growth, aspirations, it forces us to pursue something greater than what is right in front of our noses.

But, when is jealousy too much?

At what point does jealousy crossover from motivating factor to detrimental emotional turmoil? When do you feel jealousy become the invasive fire of envy, and when you feel it, why doesn't that stop us? We understand that jealousy is supposed to be something we don't enjoy. We understand that being green with envy is in poor manners. So, what is it that leaves us stewing over what we want most?

I'm still jealous of things that happened to other people years ago. What is that?

And we never talk about the things we are deeply and inflexibly jealous about. Why is that?

I've been thinking about this, as I work towards more. Because working towards more isn't bad. And inherently, I don't think that looking to others to kickstart myself in to action is bad either. But whether I am working towards more in my career, in how I look, in how I act, or where I stand in any part of my life - when am I hitting the point where jealousy doesn't serve to make me better? Where is the point where jealousy only serves to make me covetous, and unappreciative of what I do have? 

The tricky thing is, I think it changes every day. I think every day I have to focus and remind myself to balance my wants with my haves. I need to look at my life every day and say wow, this is good. Moreover, I have to step back - look at what I'm getting jealous of. I need to shake my eyes open when I'm in a continuous scroll of perfectly captured Instagrams.

Y'all, IG is not real life.

It is one tiny fraction of second treated, edited, and filtered until it looks good enough to share with the entire universe. And I would be lying if I said that I could follow all those perfect land-mermaids, with beautiful balayage waves, and toned tummies, and perfect tans, and hot boyfriends. I can't, I get jealous. It is not even real, and I get jealous.

When I do step back, and when I am being actively aware of the good things that I do have, I find jealousy. Even when I am working towards more, even when I am working towards something "better," and I am conscious of my own effort, I can find thoughts of oh I wish I had that. 

And I realize that my jealousy could always become envy, and it could burn a little green hole in my heart from how much I want something. Maybe even if I focus on the things I am grateful for, I'll still be jealous of other people with salaries, and fianc├ęs, and houses, and dream jobs, and abs. So what does that mean?

Even if we love what we have, and are so grateful for our big wonderful lives, and take pride in working harder for more....even then, will we always still be isolated by the pervasive loneliness of jealousy?


So what do we do? We embrace it.

We welcome it in. We learn that it can be the force that propels us through the chip aisle in the grocery store, and a stagnant place at work, and a bad fifth date. We let jealousy be a force greater than passive aggressively tapping a little heart. We force it to work for us, and that burn that settles in our chest becomes a desire to work harder, and smarter, and be more for the sake of jealousy, instead of despite it. 

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