We’ve all been there–a friend or colleague lands a really sweet gig which we applied for (or wished we knew about), and while we’re thrilled for them, we still feel that pang of jealousy and wonder when it’s going to be our turn to shine. Then, we feel guilty for our feelings and don’t want to express them because it’s not exactly socially acceptable. Fear not. Here are some questions to ask yourself, and strategies you can use… without getting all New Agey (or cut-throat). These should help you gain clarity over our own goals–and take care of yourself.
1. Is there something the person in question is doing that you wish you were doing?
Usually jealousy stems from knowing you could be doing something as well or better than the other person–and realizing you’re not. Instead of basking in negative emotions, use this as an opportunity to start working on whatever it is that you wish you were doing. While you may not be able to get an all-expense-paid trip to Europe, you may be able to plan a small weekend trip. If you’re seething that someone got a job as a musician, perhaps it’s time to dust off your own guitar (or buy one). What can you do to get you closer to where you wish to be? Take micro-steps if necessary–anything is better than inactivity.
2. If the answer to #1 is no, can you pinpoint what’s really bothering you?
This is often a bit more difficult to ferret out, but it’s possible. One recent example from my own life was when a friend and I applied for a gig which I didn’t really want (although I’d haphazardly applied, I didn’t put much time into the essay). My answer to the first question was no–it wasn’t an assignment I really even wanted, nor did I want to move more into covering that topic. However, I realized I was upset that he had received a response and I hadn’t–not even a polite rejection. (I later did get my rejection letter.) This reminded me of three other recent times when I hadn’t received so much as a response–assignments I’d put time and energy into, and expected the client to acknowledge receipt. In order to address this, I followed up with two of the three people–and it turns out that no, they didn’t hate my work. They were just busy. Having that cleared up changed the situation. My own internal dialogue shifted from the “My friend got this job and I didn’t even get a response…and nobody ever responds to me. Maybe they hate me and my work sucks” story I was telling myself.
3. Make an action plan.
None of this processing and reflection will help change things unless you actually do something about it after determining what you need to do. Set a goal date, find an accountability partner, or do whatever you need to in order to make things happen. Needing to start small is no excuse for not starting, so let’s get to it.