If Inside Out taught us anything, it's that all emotions have their place, not just the "nice" ones. Nonetheless, jealousy tends to reside with anxiety, guilt and sadness in the house of emotions we still don't want to feel.
As infallible humans, we're going to experience jealousy. As actors, we're likely to encounter the "green-eyed monster" either more frequently or with greater intensity.
Yet, there's an alternative mindset and strategy that can actually prove tremendously enlightening and instructive. A mindset and strategy that can even see us begin to add a little Pixar-inspired magic to our own life.
Emotions are data, not decrees
The mindset underlying this approach is the awareness that emotions are data, not decrees. Therefore, we accept that jealousy — being an emotion — can provide us with profound insight (data), but doesn't then have to dictate (decree) our subsequent experience.
In practice, we personally like to go Benjamin Zander on jealousy. Benjamin Zander, for the uninitiated, is the musical director of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and co-author of The Art of Possibility (a Dojo fave). Zander has a delightful — and exquisitely profound — practice of declaring, "How fascinating!", to stimuli he may otherwise automatically perceive as "negative". We enjoy throwing our hands in the air to accompany the exclamation, but y'all might have a sense of dignity and skip this step.
Note we aren't performing crazy mental gymnastics and declaring, "Wow, how wonderful! Jealousy is the best!" (which would be a real stretch). We're simply saying jealousy is fascinating, curious and/or unexpected (which is true).
It can also be empowering to recognise jealousy as evidence that we ultimately want the best for ourself. Which is freaking awesome. This means we acknowledge we're capable of being more. Of not being content settling for mediocrity. Of believing we're worth the greatest goodness this earthly experience has to offer. And we should. Abundance is our birthright.
The strategy underlying this approach is to now investigate jealousy when it arises. This is best done by making a physical note rather than a mental one (lawd knows we already have enough of those). Ye olde pen and paper are always preferable, but even a designated note on our trusty smartphone will do the trick.
Then, when we capture a moment of jealousy in the act, we write it down and ask, "Is this pointing to something we'd like to be true in our own life?", at least three times. We do this three times to counter the ease of just answering "yes" by default in the first instance: "yes" to fame, for example. We may well find the answer is in fact "no" by the third time 'round.
After we've come to our final conclusion, we make a note of this too. If we find the answer is "no", awesome, we let that shiz go. We no longer need to waste our precious time and energy pining over something we don't actually fancy. Alternatively, if the answer is "yes", equally awesome, we've just been gifted a sign of something we truly desire. In today's world — a world of constantly being marketed to — possessing the knowledge of what we want is rare. The line between our aspirations and the aspirations force-fed to us has become far less clear. So, receiving such clarity — though wrapped in an "undesirable" bodily sensation — is cause for celebration. We can now put our mind, body and soul to planning how we make this object of jealousy a reality.
To underscore again, the suggestion isn't that we start running through the streets proclaiming our love of jealousy (which is unlikely to be genuine, no matter how Oscar-worthy our performance). Instead, we recognise jealousy — like all emotions — has a purpose, and we can use that purpose to Bedazzle our life.
The joy that results from starting to tackle our list of "desirables" makes the initial interaction with jealousy feel like a worthwhile investment. For us, committing to wildly decorating our life with the coveted people, experiences and objects has incited a Spongebob-esque glee.
Thoughts / feedback / challenges? We'd genuinely love to hear.