Learning From Jealousy
Jealousy is one of life’s greatest teachers.
Posted Mar 01, 2012
There are some truly great things going on in my studio. Lots of Broadway roles, lots of TV appearances, lots of success.
And lots of concerns about jealousy.
You'd think that in the face of such big victories a little envy coming at them would be small potatoes to these talented men and women. But it's not. It cuts them to the bone. Every time.
Thankfully, something wonderful lies in wait here. Jealousy—though many people resist it—is a great teacher. One of life's greatest, in fact.
Here's what jealousy has to say, when we allow ourselves to set aside our defenses and really listen:
- Not everyone will like you. And that's OK.
- Compassion, in every situation and under every circumstance, is your greatest tool.
- We react to our insecurities. So know and deal with them proactively and gracefully.
Let's take a look at each.
What is it about singers—correction, people—that makes us think that everyone will like us when we succeed? Or at least this is our sincere hope, no matter what we may say in interviews, to our families, and on Facebook.
It's not possible. So give it up. Your purpose in your career and on this planet is not to be perfect or to have everyone love you. You are not the exception to the rule on this; try and name one person in the history of the world who was universally loved. It's not happening. Someone, somewhere, is writing an article about the ‘lie' of Mother Teresa and the ‘myth' of Gandhi.
Other people have their own opinions, tastes, and reactions, and newsflash: you are not in control of them! No amount of ‘perfect' (read: delusion) will change this. So please let it go.
Sadly, many don't. No matter their level of fame or success, I've watched countless men and women stew and rot in the incomprehension of why everyone doesn't love them. Others don't even bother to go for their dreams or to try much of anything. They sit on the sidelines of life in an effort to avoid being criticized—or heaven forbid, not liked—rather than play full out.
Which brings us to the next lesson. Jealousy—when it is directed at you—is a sign that you are inspiring people to look at the distance between where they are and where they want to be in their own lives. It may not feel good, but it is an honor in its own way. No one's jealous of the guy sitting on his butt watching TV all day. No one is jealous of someone down on her luck. We're jealous of those who have want we want, whether it be material things, success, or relationships... as well as the courage to go for them.
If you keep this in mind the next time you experience jealousy, it should more than soften the blow. In fact, it should breed compassion... which you can then use to make a difference.
Finally, jealousy is an invitation for us to explore our own limitations and feelings of inadequacy. "Do I deserve to be here? Am I good enough? Am I prepared?" These questions have lived inside of you for a long, long time. Don't fault those who are bringing them to light. It was never their job to provide the answers, only to get you consciously asking the questions.
When you do, you'll stop caring so much about what people say. And eventually, you may even appreciate and thank them for it. There is nothing so powerful—and inspiring—as a person who can hear and utilize the constructive criticism of others. When judgment is warranted, it becomes useful. When it is unfounded, compassion is there waiting.
Every situation is an opportunity to learn if you're willing to see it as such. Dealing with jealousy—whether directed at someone else or at you—is no exception.
To learn more about the psychology of singing and performing, click here to read Jennifer's book: "The Art of Singing: Discovering and Developing Your True Voice"
To learn more about Jennifer's work and to schedule a session, click here to visit her website