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I met up with a friend in New York to catch up over a cocktail at The Plaza.
Within the first five minutes of our conversation, she flashed a huge 4 carat canary diamond ring and then I heard the words:
She went on to tell me that she was quitting her job to take care of their new mini mansion in Connecticut.
Oh, and did I mention that they were getting married in Paris?
In case you haven’t figured it out by now, Jason is filthy rich.
What may shock you is that I sat there feeling nothing but joy for her.
Not one ounce of jealousy.
I found this odd, because I’m not above being jealous.
I mean, come on:
She seemed to “have it all”: Wedding in Paris, a huge wedding ring, a mansion in Connecticut, no more work, just hosting dinner parties and playing weekday tennis matches at the exclusive country club…..
Why was I truly able to be 100% happy for her?
As much as I’d love to tell you that I have some special powers, or I have transcended jealousy and envy, that’s not why.
This is the typical Cinderella story that would make most woman burst with envy.
But, the fairytale that she had described, why wasn’t I feeling some kind of envy?
It all comes down to this fact:
I realized that this wasn’t the life I craved.
I love working and being financially independent.
Big diamonds, meh, they don’t do it for me.
I have no desire to live in a big house. Been there done that.
And, while this seems cliche, I marry myself in Paris every time I go.
So I realized that I was actually very happy for her, not jealous.
Understanding more about the life you desire really helps eliminate unnecessary jealousy.
About that time I felt a deep pang of envy.
Truth serum time.
This time also involved a meet up with a girlfriend.
And this time, jealousy reared its head when I least expected it.
It was over a morning pour over coffee at my favorite little coffee shop with my friend, Lisa. She indiscreetly pulled her wallet out of a the most perfect spring handbag.
It was beautiful.
I felt this little pang of envy in my stomach. Of course, I love my friend and was happy that she had this handbag. In fact, I was the one who talked her into buying it for herself when we were in Paris. But still, underneath it all was jealousy.
Apparently, diamonds aren’t my thing…. but handbags are.
So, what do we do when jealousy strikes? Look no further than a Parisian.
The French can make anything beautiful, including jealousy.
I love how a French woman can take a jacket found at a vintage store that most would never consider buying… and with the right styling, she turns it into a stunning statement piece.
They have a way of turning the ugly into something grand, including emotions we have labeled “bad.”
I was chatting with Claudia, a French friend of mine in Paris over coffee
(there’s a theme here: I love conversations paired with a good beverage).
The topic of jealousy came up, and I admitted to her that I hated the feeling of it.
“Why,” she asked. “It’s a beautiful emotion.”
I was having a difficult time buying into this radical (and very French) concept because, for one, I didn’t like who I was when I was acting jealous.
Secondly, I didn’t enjoy being on the receiving end of another woman’s envy.
And, we’ve all been taught that jealousy is the “killer” emotion, right?
So, to consider that jealousy could be beautiful blew my mind.
It’s true that jealousy can be harmful when we act out on the emotion, harboring fear and resentment towards another person.
Making nasty comments on social media, creating unnecessary drama in relationships and gossipping about others because your envy is unchecked is never a good idea. It’s not only hurtful to others, but it’s hurtful to you.
But, Claudia challenged me to rethink how I had been thinking about this emotion when she asked,
“What if jealousy could be beautiful?”
I had to know more.
Jokingly, I asked Claudia what kind of French poetic spin she was going to put on jealousy.
I should have known that she was very capable of such a task. Because she’s not only French, she’s Parisian.
She replied, dead serious:
“I adore feeling jealous. It makes my heart feel alive. I know I’m being pulled towards desire and longing.”
I was like, what the what?
She didn’t elaborate.
And that’s another thing I’ve noticed about the French.
They just leave you hanging in the mystery of the question to figure it out on your own.
My quest to uncover the gift in the pain of Jealousy.
My dear friend Claudia had piqued my interest.
I knew I had to explore this concept more deeply.
Instead of fighting jealousy (as I often did for it only to show up more), I wanted to allow it to make my heart come alive, as Claudia had so romantically described.
And this was very hard to do because I prided myself on not being a jealous person. I didn’t even want to admit to having jealousy. I’ve never been the possessive girlfriend or had the desire to drop a hate comment on someone’s post.
But, if we’re all being honest here (and I hope we will all be), we all feel envy or jealousy at times.
I used to feel extremely guilty for feeling it.
Shouldn’t I be grateful for what I have?
Shouldn’t I stop comparing myself to others?
Hey, I mentor women! Shouldn’t I be over this by now?
My answer to these questions isn’t so black and white.
Yes, life is SO much better when you live in a state of gratitude and keep your eyes on your own paper.
But, ladies, we need to lighten up on ourselves.
We are simply human beings having very human emotions.
Your power comes when you take those emotions and use them to discover more about yourself and to dissolve whatever is holding you back.
Feeling jealous does not make you a bad person. In fact, they make you a very normal one.
It’s when we act on jealousy and hurt ourselves and others that it can be damaging.
The key to seeing jealousy as the beautiful gift that it can be is to realize that it has absolutely nothing to do with the other person. It has everything to do with what you deeply desire and what’s holding you back from creating it for yourself.
If you are jealous of your husband, what feeling is be revealed that you need to create for yourself?
If you’re jealous of your friend’s success, what is your soul longing for and what’s stopping you from having it too? (Hint: it will always be thoughts in your head.)
When you use it as your teacher, your guide, jealousy can be one of the most wonderful emotions in the world.
Today, I get excited when I feel envy, because I know my soul is trying to wake me up to a deep longing.
Pop open the Champagne! Let’s toast to Jealousy.
The moral of the story is this:
The people and things that evoke jealousy are simply holding the gift of showing you what you want.
It’s only damaging when you let it eat your heart out.
But, when you allow it to show you your deep longings, you can use it to your advantage.
Knowing exactly what you want, this is the most important step to creating a beautiful life.
JOIN THE CHIC CONVERSATION: Okay, time to get honest with yourself. When was the last time you felt envy? What is it showing you that you want for yourself?