Monday, June 10, 2013

The green-eyed monster


It's been rearing its ugly head a lot over here, recently.

I'm envious of other people's accomplishments, even in the face of my own. How come that person gets to be younger, prettier, more talented? Gets to open for so-and-so, be the darling of that promoter or this radio station and just plain gets more attention than I do. 

It makes me want to sit in a corner and sulk. 

Western culture is bizarre about competition. We're obsessed with winning and achieving things. We teach kids in school to work hard for marks and to care about the hierarchy - who's smarter than whom, who's winning?

I was an academic whiz in school, so I got used to winning that race early on. I had my share of people who were mean to me because they resented my position in the academic hierarchy. You'd think that would have shown me the dark side of envy and made me less prone to it. But, I guess it didn't.

Envy especially seems to thrive because we're not supposed to talk about it. One of my favourite songs is about envy - My Cousin has a Grey Cup Ring by Donovan Woods. 

All the things I want in life  
He's got a car, and a beard and a wife 
He's not jealous of the way I sing 
But I'm jealous of his Grey Cup Ring

I love Donovan's light touch with how we often long for what we don't have. When I envy the young kids in my business with their energy and talent, do I really long to be twenty-five again? No, I wouldn't relive my twenties for all the gold in the Canadian North. My 20s sucked.

I find being kind to myself helps alleviate envy.

The external world might be all about winning and losing, but my internal world doesn't need to be.

Competition kills creativity. 

I heard Jamie Ridler interview Brené Brown once and that's what Brené said. And if you can't trust Brené Brown, who can you trust? 

Remembering to be grateful for what I have takes the focus off other people. Remembering to celebrate other people's accomplishments and be genuinely happy for them is important. And remembering that they are them and I am me is the most important. 

Nobody can be better at being me than me. 

And all I truly want is to be authentically myself, wherever that "gets me" in the exterior world.
Do you ever feel jealous - of colleagues, friends, even family? What sets off your green-eyed monster and how do you calm it down?

1 comment:

  1. I don't tend to get jealous now that I'm older I've had my own share of "accomplishments" and I know that what looks like the brass ring from the outside might just be cheap plastic when you've got your hand on it. I've discovered that for every accomplishment I don't have there is something I DO have that I probably wouldn't have if I spent all my time chasing that other thing.