How To Turn Jealousy Into Inspiration
“Nothing will work unless you do.” - Maya Angelou
If you’ve seen the above quote on my blog before, trust me, you will see it again. This quote by Maya Angelou is one of my favorites for just being by Maya Angelou but is also because it is such a guiding statement for life. Nothing will work unless you do. Nothing will come to fruition if you don’t, in some way, not only will it but act on it. That being said, welcome to the blog post. This post is inspired by a conversation I had with someone who I absolutely adore (*Drake voice* You know who you are!) and how to process feelings of jealousy and making do with what you have.
The conversation also stemmed from my own experience with combating jealousy and dealing with a social media culture where everyone’s sharing everything from their perfectly executed morning and night routines to their routinely cleaned apartments and cars. Beyond the material items, my feelings of jealousy aroused based on people’s artistic capacity and their ability to be disciplined in their self-care/love. How we managed to turn self-care and self-love into something that you could be jealous of, I’m not quite sure, but there have definitely been times where I’ve been jealous of how well someone has taken care of themselves.
Jealousy is a natural emotion. And like anger, impatience, annoyance, sadness, and many others, it has a bad rep. However, all of these emotions are natural, realistic responses to things we encounter in life. While they may not always stem from positive sources, everyone has felt them in some shape or form. To say that at some point in time you have not experienced jealousy would most likely be lying to yourself — let’s not do that. Whether this is physical, mental, financial, emotional, traits, etc, we have felt it. Yet, instead of looking at jealousy as something that is inherently repulsive and abhorrent, let’s try to instead unpack it a bit and flip it into something else. Given the blessing of this new year and fresh start, let’s focus on turning that jealousy of others into inspiration to better our own lives.
I watch Youtube a lot, and I contemplate whether or not I want to create my own Youtube channel. Despite how cliche that seems in 2019, I think I should because one of my goals this year is to add an audio and/or visual component to my work. I was a whole Film minor in college and I own a camera, so I should probably put it to use instead of letting it sit in the top of my closet.
Anyway, one day, while watching my various Youtube videos on what people eat in a day, workouts, house/apartment tours, makeup tutorials, self-improvement, goals, career, life, THE FINANCIAL DIET, etc...I found myself suddenly feeling jealous of the people who could dedicate themselves to posting beautifully curated videos every Tuesday and Thursday and had the actual energy to do so and market them well enough to get 100K views per video or whatever else. Something about having everyone else’s lives and accomplishments constantly in my face and accessible at my fingertips just made me feel frustrated and sad, which then led to irrational bursts of anger and jealousy. This jealousy then led to me feeling overwhelmed and unsatisfied in my own life, despite the fact that I have no real reason to be unsatisfied.
I quickly realized how unhealthy this mentality was and I sought out to fix it through checking in with myself daily by journaling.
In my self-check, I realized that instead of being jealous of the Youtuber or Instagram “influencer” that could post twice a week in a full face of makeup, cheery voice, and well-edited video, I would instead be inspired. I wouldn’t force myself to also post twice a week because for me that goal just might not manifest in the same way. Instead, I would be inspired to simply post more frequently, and the frequency would remain at my discretion. I could post once a week, once every two weeks, once a month. Anything more to inspire me. Not continue to just sit and mope in my jealousy and annoyance at their success, which only mirrors and enhances my internal frustration at my lack of action. Action leads to motivation, not the other way around. In that, I took the action (changing my mentality and point of view) to become more motivated to write a post, which hey! You’re reading it right now. Wild.
Changing this “bad” habit of being jealous and angry and sitting in it, isn’t about dismissing it completely as irrational and negative, but is instead about flipping it. How can you accept this negative and then turn it into a positive? You want to feel inspired by using the very things that made you jealous as fuel for your own growth and improvement. You cannot have what the person or people you are jealous of have, but you can have your own version of it. Taking time to be satisfied with your version of life through this process is a separate blog post entirely but the basis of it is to take your time and to start small.
When you start to notice you’re feeling jealous over someone or something that this person has or does, try to sit and meditate on where these feelings originate from. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself:
Are these feelings of dissatisfaction with myself real or are they only a result of my exposure to this person/people? In other words, would I be feeling them if I hadn’t viewed this post or other content?
Do I really want the things/habits that this person/people have? If so, why do I want these habits and will they help me improve who I am in a healthy way?
What are steps I can take towards this improvement? (Start with one thing.)
Do I need to eliminate my access to this person/people until I can approach them confidently and free of these feelings of jealousy? (Block, delete, unfriend, whatever. Take a break)
What time of the day and/or week can I set aside to check-in with myself about my feelings and mental state for the future?
What is the structure of my self-check-in to keep me focused and grounded instead of overwhelmed and frustrated? (i.e. start with mental, emotional, physical, etc.)
Am I trying to do too much at one time? If so, how can I start smaller now to lead to doing more later?
Have I regarded myself with love lately?
Have I regarded others with love?
To avoid making this post hella long, let’s leave it there. Start small. Start with one thing. Start with one emotion. Unpack that and then move from there. One day at a time, one thing at a time. Once you truly begin to understand that you have everything in you to be everything you want to be and more, you will realize the possibilities are endless and the only person that can really stop you is yourself. Remember, nothing will work unless you do.
Sending love always and thank you for reading!
- Ashley Mae
Photo by Fabian Moller on Unsplash.com