I’m not too proud to admit that I’ve been jealous before.
The earliest memory I have is when I went to summer camp in elementary school with a friend, Mindy. Mindy was the life of the party – all the camp counselors gave her attention. Fellow campers wanted to sit next to her during campfires. I couldn’t help but wonder, “Why don’t they want to sit next to me?” This led me to try and act like Mindy, a horrible mistake. I left camp feeling deflated because I just didn’t feel “good enough.”
Flash forward to today; I’ve had workplace jealousy before – I get it when I read a beautiful sentence that I know is beyond my capabilities to compose, when I look at some of the cool things that my peers are doing in the learning and development space, or even when I see some of the rates my colleagues are charging for keynotes … I mean, wow!
I’ve learned, though, to transform this jealousy into admiration. In other words, I feel the emotion but work really quickly to process it into something more appreciative and positive so I don’t let it impact how I value myself, my work, and my contributions to this world.
How do I do it?
Well, simple … or, at least, simply stated.
I get curious about my emotions. When I feel a tinge of jealousy, rather than act on the emotion blindly, I seek to label and identify it so I can deal with it. It’s as simple as “Angie, you’re feeling a little jealous of this person and their talent. Why?”
I then correct the emotion. I ask myself, “Are you really jealous of this person … or, do you have crazy respect for their talent and would love to have (articulated that point, or developed that idea, or could earn that type of money)?”
I then transform that emotion into appreciation. I work towards the thought of “Rather than being jealous, what would happen if you appreciated that person for their gifts?! Their gifts are their gifts – your gifts are your gifts.”
Finally, I celebrate the other person. I make a conscious choice to have the thought “I’m really, really happy for them that they’ve been able to achieve this.” And I remind myself that their success is a statement of their talents. My success is a statement of my talents. And the world is a better place because of how our own, unique contributions work in harmony.
What I’ve discovered, too, is that if I can celebrate others, their example inspires me to be a better version of myself. In other words, a win all around.
I urge you – don’t judge yourself for feeling a little jealous from time to time. Use that emotion to grow from it and discover that what’s better than sinking into the negative, dark depths of jealousy is using the emotion to spark personal curiosity and growth.