Why Being Jealous Is A Waste Of Your Damn Time

redhead staring at camera
Spencer Selover

There’s so much agony in feeling jealous.

Every way you look, it hurts. Every way you move, it hurts. Everything you do…it hurts. It hurts because you’re looking at someone else’s life and trying to put yourself in it. It doesn’t work. They don’t have your shoe size. None of it will fit. Yet so desperately do we try and cram our feet into those shoes like we’re Cinderella.

And we’re not.

Maybe her stepsisters would have been happier had they not tried to put their feet in her glass slipper. Maybe the prince would have found someone suitable for them. Who the hell knows? But what I do know is that they were so jealous they couldn’t see that this-or-that wasn’t meant for them.

I know that doesn’t really help. I know it doesn’t change that jealousy hurts. Or that sometimes you don’t even know you wanted something until someone else has it.

Jealousy is ugly. I don’t think anyone wears it well, but it’s something I’ve been wearing a lot of lately. I guess I haven’t looked in the mirror much. Maybe then I would have noticed the green tint to my eyes, and the way I have been becoming a bit of a monster.

I don’t generally wish negative things would happen to other people. Generally is a key word here, because I’ve found myself doing it lately. If I hoped they wouldn’t get the job, maybe I’d find success in my own endeavors. Normally, I’m very aware someone else’s success doesn’t mean I can’t find it, too.

But sometimes it’s so hard to recognize that. To accept my ability for what it is. To accept myself for who I am. I’m trying so damn hard to put my foot into a slipper that’s not the right size. And I don’t know what is the right size, which makes it worse.

I turn another shade of green, and it isn’t a pretty one.

I want what other people have because I don’t know what I want. I don’t know how to find out what I want, just yet, so I covet what others have. The unknown is deep and dark, like a lake I don’t want to swim in. I don’t know what’s in there. I don’t want to jump in, afraid of what I might find. I know the bottom is covered mainly by leaves, some variety of sand or mud, and maybe a bottom-feeding fish or two.

Being afraid you won’t get what you want (even if you don’t know what you want) creates an atmosphere of jealousy. Others know what they want. Why not want what they’ve got, too?

Identity isn’t a static thing. It changes and you can change along with it. Change doesn’t necessarily come with a price tag, but you’ve got to check your receipt for other charges. Change comes with worry, and with worry comes the need to solve. And with the need to solve comes a desperation that clouds your thinking.

The next time you find yourself turning a particularly putrid shade of green, take a deep breath. Take a look in the mirror, because chances are you’ll see yourself. Not the person or the opportunity you’re jealous of. The reflection looking back at you is far more important than the job you wish you’d gotten, or the opportunity you wish you could have taken.

Jealousy is ugly. It’s painful. But it’s a choice, not a feeling.Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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