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The green-eyed monster strikes again!

October 20, 2014

Jealousy is a challenging emotion… a very challenging emotion. I recently found myself reconnected with an old friend, and wow… was I ever jealous of him. I found myself absolutely coveting his lifestyle, his attitudes, his friendships, his everything. The details of his life that I was jealous of are, in reality, kind of ridiculous, but the feelings were very very real. He is one of those guys that seeks fun over everything else… and not just normal-people fun, like going to movies or hanging out with friends, but rock-star fun. Serious parties, Vegas, over-indulgence, large circles of people who are up for just about anything, at any time of the day or night… and for some reason I was jealous. The jealousy that I felt cut me very deeply. It made me question, well, everything about myself and my choices.

I know. I have a wonderful career. I have the privilege of helping people, teaching people, bringing meaning and comfort into people’s lives. It really is an honour and one that I don’t take lightly… and yet… yet I was jealous of this guy. A part of me wants to know what it’s like to live in a world where feelings don’t matter, and sheer excitement and pleasure take precedence over all. A world in which anything goes, in which choices don’t need to be weighed against morality, and ethical dilemmas don’t really factor. A world in which consequences are irrelevant, the word “serious” is considered dirty, and life is simply fun.

Even as I write this now I recognize how naive and presumptuous I am being. I know that it’s not true that morals and ethics don’t exists in that world – this guy is a good man… his life has just taken a very different path than mine has. I also know that I sound shallow, childish, and ungrateful – all of those things that I work so hard to avoid. I know that all of the work that I have done on myself to be open, warm, kind, and positive (and yes, I know that I still have a long way to go) has been and will continue to be worthwhile. I also know that most people can’t party forever without eventually wanting something more meaningful….most people…and so I’m left feeling even worse about this envy. It is irrational, and, as anyone who knows me well already knows, I don’t do well with irrational. I have to try to figure it out and make sense of it all.

Here is what I’ve come up with so far: Jealousy, I think, is really just tied to feelings of self worth. When I was around this guy I definitely felt like I wasn’t cool enough, wasn’t fun enough, wasn’t stylish enough, wasn’t etc etc etc enough. It was nothing that he said or did, it was all me and the expectations that I placed upon myself. There is something in me that compares myself to others, and almost always I come up short. I see what other people have, what other people do, and using that all-important positive attitude that I work so hard on, I only see the good, the shiny, the enviable. I also hate to think that the people I care about are anything less than happy and fulfilled, and so I don’t even think about the ways in which their lives may not be sparkly… and I get jealous. I think that I can’t possibly be worthy of the wonderful lives that they live. I assume that I’m not good enough, in whatever way, to be able to ‘make it work’ the way that they do.

I am fully aware of how unrealistic and blatantly untrue that all is.  I get that there’s so much more to everyone’s story and that all people have both beauty and pain in their lives.  I also know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I am EXACTLY where I need to be right now, and so the feelings of jealousy and feelings of not being worthy are very unsettling.  Envy, obviously, is incredibly detrimental, especially when it is based on half-truths and misunderstandings.  Jealousy can cloud one’s vision and be a painful distraction from real life… and yet, maybe a little bit of jealousy isn’t so bad – especially when one can step back and take a really close look at the source of the jealousy.  Maybe the feelings of not being worthy are a sign of needing to take a break, or relax, or stop trying so hard.  Maybe the envy is just an indication of something small that is missing, and easily found, rather than some major life changes that need to take place.  Maybe the jealousy is just the trigger that is needed to stop, look around, and learn to appreciate what is, instead of what could have been.  The more that I’ve examined it and the more that I’ve pulled it apart, the more I have realized how much better off I really am with what I have, and what I’m capable of achieving… and for that, I am infinitely grateful.

Wishing you light and love

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