If you’ve been following me on Twitter, or you’ve read my recent blog post about women that inspire me, you’ll know I’ve been listening to a LOT of episodes of the Ctrl Alt Delete podcast. One theme that seems to come up again and again is the theme of jealousy, and whether or not creative people with creative friends are jealous of and compete with each other. Time after time, Emma’s amazing guests have declared that of course they don’t feel jealous of their other blogger/writer friends. Which is nice, obviously. In a world where women are constantly pitted against each other, it’s nice to see women building each other up and supporting each other.
But it got me thinking about the nature of jealousy, and whether or not it’s always a bad thing. Because whilst it’s not healthy to constantly be pining after someone else’s life, or to be jealous and protective over your own, I do think jealousy can be a good thing.
Hear me out.
When you aspire to be a creative person (in my case, a writer), it’s natural to surround yourself with other creative people. But that means, naturally, sometimes cool things happen to your friends and they don’t happen to you. Whether it’s getting a piece published in a magazine, or getting commissioned to illustrate a book, or interviewing amazing celebrities, sometimes your friends get fucking cool opportunities. And you don’t.
And in that moment, it’s natural to be jealous. More than that, it’s okay to be jealous.
See, I believe that jealousy can be a great indicator of what you really want in life. If, when you see another blogger work with an amazing brand, you’re simultaneously incredibly happy for them and a little bit jealous, you know that deep down inside, you want to work with that brand. Jealousy can help you locate the things you really care about – even if you don’t realise you care about them.
The problem with jealousy is not feeling jealous. It’s wallowing in that jealousy. It’s feeling jealous of a friend without also feeling happy for them. If a cool thing happens to a friend and you feel jealous, the important thing is to not let it consume you.
Instead, let it motivate you.
Take that jealousy, and store it away. Later, when you’re feeling unmotivated, or lost, or directionless, take it out and remember how you felt. Remember how much you wanted that cool thing.
Remember the jealousy, and use it to kick your arse into gear.