It’s so nice when good things happen to people who deserve them, isn’t it? It feels great to watch people who’ve worked hard for something finally see it happen. You know that awesome feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you get to witness their elation, and realize that their dreams are coming true in this moment? It’s sort of, like…well, it’s sort of like happiness, but mixed with a little…concern? Is it…could it be…nah, no way. Not you. Not in this case. Not here.
You couldn’t possibly be jealous of them. You’re excited for them! Jealousy is for mean people, people who want to take things away from happy people, right? You don’t want that. Good for them, let them celebrate! But ugh, there it is again…that pit in your stomach. The mind may tell us stories sometimes, but the body doesn’t lie. It’s just that we often push jealousy back down deep inside us – or cover it up with indignation – because not only does it feel bad, we feel bad about feeling it. That’s a whole lotta “yuck” for a celebration, wouldn’t you say?
Feeling a little jealous doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. This time of year, lots of folks are getting big news from schools and companies. You might be one of them. Even still, you might be seeing others get the offer you wanted, and notice that internal pang as you think about what might have been if that were you. That’s not to say that you wish them ill, necessarily, but just that you wish it could be you, too. Or, if you’re being honest, maybe instead…no judgment.
Part of jealousy is recognizing that what we wanted to be our reality just isn’t, and least not right now. That’s actually a powerful recognition of truth, and extremely mindful. Just as with any uncomfortable emotion, mindfulness can help us learn to recognize when we are grieving the perceived loss of a possibility. It gives us the tools to acknowledge these feelings without judging ourselves too harshly for them. If we dig a little deeper, we may find that we are simply anxious about our own outcomes. Seeing other people acquire something that you were certain was right for you creates a dissonance that can be hard to resolve, making us feel insecure and ungrounded. Acceptance, especially in the face of the lack thereof, can be a challenging intention. Start by taking some deep breaths to connect you to yourself in this moment. It is what it is. And if you’re paying attention, it may actually be pretty great.
What happens when we spend a lot of time watching other people’s experiences it that we tend to miss our own. In running away from discomfort, we miss the good stuff, too. We also fail to recognize that what we have right now may have been someone else’s unrealized dream. It’s more than ok to acknowledge disappointment, jealousy and frustration. In fact, we’re not being mindful if we don’t. The idea is that in doing so, we may open ourselves up to all of the possibilities of our present reality, in this moment, enabling us to make the most of every one of them.
This is your path. It isn’t anyone else’s. And if you’re paying attention, you’ll see that it’s a beautiful one.
Photo credit: Danielle MacInnes