Jealousy: The Element of Exclusion

Some days I feel as if I’m “living the dream”. I feel as if I am right on the cusp of somewhere I want to be. Today sort of feels like one of those days. Not for any particular great reason, I just feel as if I am a lot further into my career than when I started. Today I have a network of people who I love and feel truly honored to work with. It makes me happy, excited, (and sometimes a little jealous too) to see that my facebook feed, twitter, instagram, etc. is filled with actors and other industry people. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy because they’re my friends, and it makes me happy to see they’re successes. And it also inspires me and reminds me that I too can have success. I think some people forget that. Which is what I want to write about today. How jealousy and bitterness does no good. It doesn’t help, and it just leads to loneliness. I mean I guess it could lead to other things, like becoming an evil villain. Actually I think those are probably some of the key traits to becoming an evil villain.

I was jealous and bitter not too long ago. For quite a while actually. I would look around at everyone I knew and be jealous of their successes, their lives, their friendships. I think it made me a little bitter, because I didn’t have those things, at least I didn’t think I did.  And honestly seeing other people being happy and accomplishing things just made me feel like I couldn’t. Instead of it motivating me to work harder, it put this heavy weight on me. And then I would just compare myself and think, I can’t do that because they are doing it. And they know what they are doing/they’re better at it than me/everyone will laugh at me/i can’t make a fool of myself because I’m brookespivey/nobody will care anyways.

Those are all negative thoughts that are not going to help anybody. And unfortunately nobody in the world can make someone stop thinking them except the person thinking them.

Lately though I have been combatting these feelings. I think I’m getting better at not comparing myself and also being happy for other people. I think this just came with time for me. And also I naturally just love most everyone anyways, so feeling bitter and resentful is just not something I like feeling. For me, I grew out of being resentful when I started opening up to other people. When I stopped being angry that I didn’t know something and started asking questions.

I think that having good friends in this industry is a little like being in an open relationship. You’re constantly surrounded by people who you respect and cherish, but you’re also competing for the same thing sometimes. Not that people in open relationships are competing for the same thing, but they do share a level of jealousy with each other.  I’ve never been in an open relationship, but from what I’ve learned from other people, is that yes,there is jealousy at times but they have open communication and talk about it. And they deal with it together.  The thing about being in open relationship, in my opinion, that is similar to being in relationships with other actors/artists/creatives is that there will be jealousy at times, but the overwhelming support and love hopefully overshadows those feelings.

I think another thing that makes jealousy such a hurtful thing, is because of the element of exclusion. Being jealous of what someone else has, implies a certain lonesomeness, a left out feeling. I mean that’s what jealousy, envy are, right? It’s seeing people have things that you are left out of because you don’t possess them. So one thing that I’ve been doing to try to combat this feeling, is really being a part of others successes. I don’t mean like riding their coattails. But I mean by helping others reach their goals, by being a good partner. Being there when they need a reader. Or just listening to someone else’s problems. I think that by being a part of other people’s lives in this way, it doesn’t feel so lonesome when other people have success because it’s your success too. You were a part of it.  Also it’s motivating to help others work. And inspiring. Because it makes you want to do something too. And helping others with their projects means it will be a  lot more likely that they will want to help you with your crazy one person show about your spoon collection.

I don’t think feelings of jealousy or bitterness are bad. I think they are normal human feelings that everyone deals with. But I do think that they can hold people back, so I say, let them go! Or use them. Or connect with others about them. I’ve always said that if I can tell people I’m jealous of whatever it is I am jealous of them, then it’s not wrong. I don’t know why I’ve thought that. But by letting it out in the air, it helps to at least not feel so alone with it.

What are ways that you deal with feelings of jealousy, bitterness, and resentment?