Quite recently I’ve found myself experiencing feelings I luckily do not experience often. Usually in times when I do feel them I am able to push through them within a day or two and move on. This has not been the case this time around and I guess that’s what lead me to revisit a blog in which I haven’t made a post in since 2011! It may just be crazy enough to work.
What I’ve been feeling lately is jealousy. At least that’s what I initially thought it was. But when I google’d jealousy, as one does, and upon reading up on definitions of jealousy I realized that what I’ve been actually experiencing is envy, not jealousy. The difference is nicely summarized in this paragraph found on the Wikipedia page for Envy:
“Envy” and “jealousy” are often used interchangeably in common usage, but the words stand for two distinct emotions. Jealousy is the result or fear of losing someone or something that one is attached to or possesses to another person (the transfer of a lover’s affections in the typical form), while envy is the resentment caused by another person having something that one does not have, but desires for oneself
So, great, now I’d correctly identified what I was feeling but what next? You guessed it, I google’d how to deal with envy. Google has honestly been one of the greatest inventions for socially awkward introverts like myself who can remember life before the internet. When I had questions before Google became my go to I would write them down in a journal or keep them in the back of my head and either:
a) Wait for a opportunity for the answer to present itself when listening to people’s conversations
b) Check the dictionary if applicable to the question at hand
c) Check resources at the library
I may or may not have found out what sex is in grade 7 (I know, I know! I was a sheltered kid jeez) after having a horribly uninformative health class and waiting to get home to look up the definition of sex in the dictionary…
Right, back to envy, it was nice to see that some of the recommendations were conclusions I had come to myself. A blog post I found that was helpful is this one – http://tinybuddha.com/blog/when-your-friends-happy-news-fills-you-with-envy-instead-of-joy/
First thing to note:
Envy is a strong involuntary feeling that you cannot get rid of by just wishing or willing it away.
Uh DUHRRRR, I only have been trying to do just that for the past few days and it hasn’t worked! But not gonna lie it’s quite comforting to read that it’s a strong INVOLUNTARY feeling. It takes the onus off the person even if I don’t think that’s completely true.
Followed by this step:
Focus your attention on addressing the source of your envy, instead of trying to eliminate the feeling.
I’ll admit to initially being blindsided by these feelings of envy and threw me for a bit and it took a couple days to acknowledge it for what it was. One of the first things I decided was this had very little to do with the person that was evoking this reaction and more to do with myself. I was never a person growing up that gave personal development the time of day. I thought it was some hippy dippy nonsense garbage until one day someone point blank told me how much easier it is for a person (re: me) to be cynical and make fun of something rather than genuinely caring and most importantly trying something and taking that risk at failing publicly at that thing you care for. They, of course, worded it in a way that was far more eloquent than that runoff sentence but hopefully I captured the gist of it.
This brings us to now. I decided I needed to find a way to spin this negative energy to positive action as a person who is quite prone to depression I need to take lead with these types of things before they get worse. It can start going downhill real fast, for real. What I’ve realized is that when I isolated what specifically was fueling my envy I was able to identify areas where I can improve and critically look at them instead of trying to gloss over or justify my ineptitude in these areas. I’ve obviously been feeling self conscious about them on some level for feelings of envy to emerge as strongly as they did. For this reason I think envy can be a good thing from time to time. As long as your reaction isn’t to stew in it and give the person who is causing you to react this way the stink eye and I dunno, make up a voodoo doll of them and push pins into it, or something like that. It can be a good motivator to work on yourself and improve your life in areas that you may have been slacking.