I have a few friends of whom I'm consistently envious. Why? They go to concerts, festivals, vacations; they see shows and movies; they plan adventures. They are fun. And I am jealous.
Why? Because they have endless supplies of cash to invest in entertainment and travel? Nope, they don't. Because they have so much more time than me? Nope, they don't have that either. They just choose to spend their money and time differently.
I've come to view jealousy not as an enemy or a sin, but rather as a teacher or a friend. I learn from it. These questions are very eye-opening:
Who am I jealous of?
What do they have or do that I don't?
How can I get what they have or do what I do?
Am I willing to do what it takes?
Do I really want that? Or do I just like to feel jealous?
What do I really want?
Sure, sometimes jealousy is just a reminder of what we can't afford or don't have. It shows us what or how we're lacking. But sometimes it helps us figure out what we really want.
One person I know travels over and over and over. I get a twinge of jealousy each time she posts a photo. Then I remind herself one of the reasons she can travel as much as she does is that she doesn't have children, freeing up both time and money. I love my kids, and returning them isn't an option, so that's out of the question. Also, I have a passport with only one stamp on it, but I could get more if I made it a priority. But really, I'm not that keen to travel internationally. I really like being at home. I also really don't enjoy planning trips; I have a feeling this person does. So what is a joy for her would feel like a burden to me.
So maybe I'm not really that jealous of her after all. But there is a part of me who wishes I would choose the bigger life more often. Well, I could do that by accepting invitations. By paying attention to what's available and signing up for it. By recognizing what it is my family would enjoy most and investing our time and money there.
What will you learn if you question your jealousy?