I've had that '90's song by the Gin Blossoms in my head for the past couple of days -- Hey Jealousy. What do you think of when you hear the word 'jealous'? For me, it can evoke an image of someone looking at another person with disdain. It's caused wars and countless acts of destruction. So much so, the bible warns us to avoid it. And what happens when an emotion hits the biblical level? It gets packed with a bunch of guilt, shame and spoken of in hushed voices and scowling faces that say 'beware!"
But what if I said that it doesn't need to be like that? That there may be a side to jealousy that can live in the light and be a source of inspiration?
I believe that our brains are essentially lazy in the sense that they are wired to put as much brain function on autopilot as possible. Because of that, it can take a big emotion to jolt our brains out of autopilot enough to pay attention to something. That's where our emotions come into play. It's hard to ignore big emotions like jealousy, right?
Because jealousy has so much negative association with it, I think we miss the point of why we feel it. Everything our bodies and minds do is to benefit our survival. But what does that have to do with feeling jealous hen we catch our partner's eye follow another person for just a bit longer than we think is acceptable? Bam! We're pissed, right? Then any number of things can happen. We confront it directly, or maybe we laugh it off. We can commit to getting into better shape, or we do something to get our partner's attention back on us. Why do you think we do that? Evolution theory would tell us that we feel a threat to our relationship, which translated in our caveman brain to the loss of our much-needed partner to keep our offspring alive. I know that's not the truth of the matter, but from our brain's way of processing it, that's why we feel jealous. All of this is to say that jealousy in and of itself is not a bad thing. It's a survival tactic that can be useful.
Here's what want you to do. I want you to take a close look at what makes you jealous because it can give you clues to what's most important to you.
Here's my story. For years, I was secretly jealous of a woman I know who quit her corporate job, traveled to France to learn how to be a chocolatier and opened her own shop. The fantasy of walking away from something that seemed 'secure' to live your dream felt like such a risky step to me. But somehow, it put the Universe into motion for me and I found myself laid off from my so-called secure job and looking for a new source of income. I've since started three businesses and have been able to rely on them for my livelihood.
And now, I'm about to start my fourth business as a life coach. That dream also started from feeling jealous of others who had become coaches, many of them coached me!
I'll mention that the feeling I had of the chocolatier and coaches wasn't a disdainful jealousy, but more of a really strong curiosity about how they were able to follow their dreams. I wanted to learn what they did so I could create my own path.
So, I encourage you to look at the people in your life who are doing something that makes you a bit jealous. It may be a clue to your life's purpose and calling.
Here are a few questions you can start to consider as you're thinking about your life's purpose:
What makes you forget about the world around you? Who would you ask to mento your if you could ask anyone in the world, alive or dead? Who is living the life you would like to have ans what do you most like about it?
Until next time, stay curious and follow your sense of jealousy to see if it leads you closer to your dreams.