I figured “Sure, why not? We’re both adults now, and everything that we had together was a long time ago. What’s the harm?”
She accepted my friend request, but I stopped myself from really delving into her profile and pictures. I was certain that she’d have a new man, a new job, and a new life that I knew nothing about — but I knew that if I dared to look closely there was a chance I’d get jealous or upset.
Fast forward a few weeks, and I see a status update from her about her workplace. It’s a video of her office headquarters in New York, shot in an “MTV Cribs” style. I watch the video, see the super sweet company she’s working for, and get mad.
My knee-jerk reaction is raw jealousy. Her office reeks of Google-esque perks. The office culture looks young and tech savvy. There’s a break room stocked with video games, a pool table, and holy crap is that pinball? There are countless rooms filled with expensive video editing equipment, filled with young editors doing creative work. The video wraps up with a glance at the cafeteria, which serves great food during the day and transforms into a chill bar atmosphere at night.
She is working somewhere where the office culture and environment is infinitely cooler than any place that I’ve worked in my life, and I’m jealous. What makes me even more jealous is how the video’s comments indicate that it’s her first job out of college, and that she’s been happily working there for the last four years.
My rational mind tells me that she must have worked very hard to get where she is now, and that I should be happy for her. My irrational mind, however, makes me wonder HOW THE HELL DID SHE GET SO LUCKY!?
(My irrational mind is often times much louder than my rational mind.)
Ever since I watched this video I’ve been in a fit of jealous rage. I’m mad because she’s younger than me, but has surpassed me career-wise by landing a super sweet job at a super sweet company. I’m mad because in her very first attempt at finding a career she found something that she’s been excited about doing for four years, whereas the longest I’ve ever tolerated a job was only three. I’m mad that I always get frustrated at my day jobs and burned out by the work that I’m doing, because I don’t have a workplace that I’m anxious to go to. I’m jealous because I’d love to work someplace similar, where the employer not only acknowledges that work should be fun — but encourages it!
These feelings have dominated my subconscious for the last 24 hours. I’ve been bombarded with feelings of anger and frustration and self-pity when I’m trying to work, trying to relax, or even trying to shower. I tell myself that I should be happy for her. I tell myself that I don’t know the whole story, and that I’m making huge assumptions from only one glimpse of what she’s up to. All this considered, I still can’t help but feel jealous.
I tell myself that it’s not a competition, and that there are other things in my life that I am proud of. Perhaps I’m not as successful as I’d like to be regarding my career, but that doesn’t mean I’m unsuccessful as a person. It simply feels like it’s a bigger deal than it is since “work” plays such a large role in who we are as individuals. Consequently, I think that I want what she has.
I have to stop and ask myself: What am I really jealous of?
When I look at her job title, I wonder “is this what I want to be doing?” and the answer is “No, I want to be a writer.” So what is it then?
She’s working with creative minds in an environment that encourages creativity. That’s something I’ve never had at a job, and that’s something I’d enjoy.
So how do you cope with these feelings? You’re faced with something another person is succeeding at, and instead of feeling happy for them, it makes you feel bitter and enraged. Your reaction is raw, unyielding, and often irrational.
Most people cope by complaining about it. I admit that I’m doing some serious complaining this very moment. You think “Oh woe is me life’s unfair blah blah blah.” Aside from venting your frustrations and maybe feeling a tiny bit better, this method of coping is pointless.
The better option is to channel this feeling into positive action. Although I tell myself that life’s not a competition, humans are competitive by nature. You can use these jealous feelings to inspire you to create positive change in your life.
Maybe jealousy is the feeling that you needed in order to finally “wake up.” Maybe it’s the kick in the pants that you needed to start doing something you’ve been wanting to do but haven’t had the courage to. Maybe it’s the motivation you need to really look at yourself and say “This isn’t who I want to be, and now I’m going to do something about it.”
Whatever the case, jealousy is definitely a pool of raw energy that can be tapped. To quote a friend of mine: “Are you drawing from that pool?”
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