One of the most unnerving feelings that you can experience when you’re feeling stuck or at the very beginning of starting your own business is professional jealousy. You meet other people — maybe some you’ve worked with, maybe some you’re older than, maybe some that are total strangers — and see what they’ve already built, and you can’t help but start to feel a little angry about it.
This is an experience that’s universal to everyone. No matter how far you’ve gone, there will always be someone ahead of you. There will always be someone who is doing just a little bit better than you are. However, the feeling of jealousy does not exist to help you condemn others, or hunt out their flaws to put them down. (And if you’re tempted to do that, stop now.)
Professional jealousy is a crucial feeling. It can be transformative, if you know what to do with it.
This is because on the opposite side of fear is everything we really desire. In the same way, on the opposite side of jealousy is everything that we are not allowing ourselves to have.
The reality is that you do not actually covet or desire exactly what the person you envy has. The feeling you are experiencing is awareness of your own resistance. Perhaps for the first time, you are seeing exactly what you want to create, and finally feeling all of the anger and doubt and judgment that is preventing you from doing it.
The trouble with jealousy is that instead of informing you of the ways in which you feel empty, it often projects as you thinking there’s something wrong with the way another person makes themselves whole. However, you have to realize that you do not actually wish ill will upon those you envy. You don’t actually want them to fail and you don’t actually mean to point out their flaws in order to humanize them. You are only trying to justify your own complacency.
Susan Piver, a Buddhist mindfulness teacher, put it like this:
“If I really think about it, I don’t actually want others not to have things that make them happy. What I find in myself is a tremendous well of longing for my own joy. And that longing is not bad in any way; it’s something to be embraced. And it sort of takes other people out of the equation.”
So if you really want to address the issue, write down a list of everything that makes you feel really, really jealous. Note down a list of things — no matter how small or insignificant — that make you want to dislike someone for what they have, judge them, or pick apart the ways in which they are not that perfect.
All of those voices that you are using to take down another are only the voices that are using to sabotage yourself.
If you can become aware of this, you can start to build what you want and need to experience in the world. You can use your jealousy as a medium for your personal revolution.