Jealousy sucks. Whether it's coming from you or someone else. Jealousy is one of the worst human experiences we have to deal with. If you are feeling jealous, you have to figure out why, and do something productive about it, or if you are like most people in this world, you act out in nasty behaviors in order to punish the person you are jealous of. Most of us are guilty of doing the latter. But what if someone is jealous of you? The other day, one of my most talented students was acting very shy about performing in the school talent show. Now, this is a kid who can play 3 instruments well, sing, dance, and basically excel at everything. On top of that, he is so sweet, so of course he is adored by all of his teachers, including me! He performs at the retirement home with me, and when he starts to play, everyone runs in the room to see who is making such amazing music! So when he said he didn't want to perform, I knew something was up. Turns out, there is a bully at school who is jealous of his talents. Ah. Ok. That made sense to me.
My first reaction to this was irritation and anger. Not at my student. At the bully. At the jealousy. What can my student do? Nothing, really. You cannot control someone else's jealous feelings. Jealousy stems from insecurity, and that is an internal problem. We had a very long discussion about how important it is to stay true to yourself and never let anyone else's insecurities stop you from doing what you love. By the end, he said he would think about performing. I'll take it. Much better than the beginning of the conversation.
It really made me think about jealousy in my own life. I am so jealous of the singer Adele right now. She is so amazing! The way she sings so freely. I want to be like that. But I try to remember what my best friend told me the other day... that there is room in the world for everyone, and that jealousy only holds me back. I think about how it feels to be jealous whenever I sense jealousy coming from others.
When I was performing a lot of shows in the North Florida music scene, I remember feeling like there was an unspoken competition between the (very few) female musicians. When I was there, I could count on one hand how many local female singer-songwriters were opening for touring bands. At the time, I was taking a lot of Women's Studies classes in college, participating in Take Back the Night rallies, going to Lilith Fair, and basically being a very loud cheerleader for women in music, so the thought of other female musicians being jealous of me bothered me a lot. If they could have seen inside my mind, they would have known that I was only excited to see more women rising up to represent music. But, like I said before, you cannot control how other people feel.
If you want to be a musician, or any kind of artist, and you begin to excel, you are going to have to experience jealousy from others. This is a fact. How will you deal with it? Will you let them succeed in destroying your dream in order to make them more comfortable? Or will you stay true to who you are and what you are meant to do in this lifetime? Will you continue to keep them in your life even after experiencing their jealous feelings over and over again? To me, letting jealousy get in your way and letting jealous people stay in your life is a form of self-sabotage. I learned how to let jealous people out of my life long, long ago. This is a difficult life, and you need to be surrounded by people who support you and lift you up.