You went to the opening, you got an email, or you saw a post on Instagram or Facebook. And in your heart of hearts, the first thing you thought was, "Why not me?"
Why am I not getting that kind of recognition?
Why didn't I share my piece sooner so it'd look like I did it first?
How'd they get that exhibition?
If you've never felt this, stop reading.
If you have felt this, even just a teeny-tiny bit, rest assured that you are in good company. As mortals, we can count on feeling this less-than-fun emotion at some point (or multiple points) in our lives.
What do you do with it when it shows up? How do you get rid of it, especially if it makes you feel like a total jerk to think those jealous thoughts?
I don't have easy answers to these questions.
I do have thoughts that might help you to let go of your inner green-eyed-monster so you can get back to doing the work that's truly important to you - making your best work and sharing it with the world.
It's a process that takes practice. So, here are a few yoga moves for your mind when you feel pangs of jealousy.
Set a timer.
Look at the thing that's making you jealous and give it a limit. Maybe 10 to 20 minutes to really dig-in and be irked about whatever it is. Text your friend with it to get some validation of your anger and to vent. Look that person up on Instagram or their website. Check them out ALL-the-way. I mean how in the world did they accomplish that thing and you haven't?!?! ...allow yourself to wallow in it.
When the timer goes off, you stop. Yep, you shut the door on being annoyed that they got something that you want, or that you think you might want as some point in the future.
This is a way to own your jealousy and to confront it.
And, it's a way to save yourself from getting stuck in the emotions of it. Take care of it now and limit how much energy you put on it so you can get back to doing the things that actually need your energy.
After your timer goes off, what's the difference?
Now that you've stalked this person a little and learned all about their accomplishment (that you'd like to also experience) what do you see that's different from what you do? Is their approach different? Have they done the work and maybe you're still in the process of doing that kind of work that'll bring you that same level of recognition? Do they have a different audience than you?
What do you notice that's different and maybe even better about what you do? Start to get your mind thinking about the answers to this instead of getting stuck in a comparison loop.
There are a million hair stylists in this world.
And we need all of them. Some are great at short haircuts, some know how to cut curly hair, some are experts at hair coloring, etc. Who did you pick as your hair stylist or barber? Why did you pick them from this sea of people who will cut your hair?
I bet it's because something about them resonated with you. I bet you even found a few that were also great at what they do but the one you chose happened to feel like a better fit to you so you picked them.
It's the same way with art and artists. There IS enough room in this world for all of us. We need all of us here. Even if we're doing work that seems extremely similar to someone else.
When you think about a jealous moment this way, does it help to move your mind away from that jealous feeling and closer to the idea that there's enough for all of us to do our specific work in this world?
Let me know in the comments what you do to keep jealous thoughts in check?