Recently, I have not been caught in the throes of jealousy. Thankfully, over time I began to learn the significance of taking continual action towards what I wanted to do—no matter how big or small—and that has been my saving grace. Before that, it was easy for me to become jealous of others who appeared to “have it all together” or who seemed to be “further along”, moving towards their dream more than myself—or so I thought. Although I felt justified, the dark residue that it stained on my heart left my demeanor darkened, rotting like a year’s worth of mildew in a stark white bathroom. (Enjoy that image?)
After a while, I realized that all the excuses had to go. To dispel jealousy and “stinking thinking”, I knew I had to keep moving forward with one small step at a time. Instead of telling myself, “I shouldn’t spend money on another class” or “I should be further along by now”, I tried the “I Wish” exercise. Reading Julia Cameron’s helpful exercises (from The Artist’s Way & other books), I jotted down the phrase “I Wish” twenty-five times and filled in whatever came to mind. Reviewing the list, I grasped how easily I could accomplish at least three or four of those “wishes”. Attributing action to my inmost desires and then following through propelled my mind, body and spirit to jump on a faster track, moving past jaded jealousy, and into a world of kindness, goodwill, determination and grace.
In Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way, she tells us on page 123 that “jealousy is a map” and each of our maps are different. “Jealousy is always a mask for fear: fear that we aren’t able to get what we want; frustration that somebody else seems to be getting what is rightfully ours even if we are too frightened to reach for it.”
She goes on to page 124 to say, “Jealousy tells us there is room for only one—one poet, one painter, one whatever you dream of being. The truth, revealed by action in the direction of our dreams is that there is room for all of us.” How true.
Entertaining jealousy keeps us from accepting the truth that if you believe and take action towards your dream then you are on your way, as you transform into the person you were meant to be. This is how our Creator desires us to be, moving from being focused on the end result and external motivations to relishing the process, living life’s grand journey from the drive within. As we do this, our focus shifts from envying others and the “woe is me” mentality to taking responsibility for our dreams and unique purpose He has given us. Amen.
If you’re up for it: How have you been jealous of other artists? Why do you think you felt that way? What did you do about it?