Episode 14: Jealousy...Let's Talk About It. How My Encounter Led Me to a Key Revelation
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Hi. I'm Victoria Hefty, and welcome come Activate Purpose, where I talk about finding purpose through action while balancing motherhood and career. In today's episode, I'm going to talk about jealousy. That word alone makes me cringe, but I recently experienced a case of jealousy that had me in a funk for almost a week. To be clear, this episode is about me feeling jealous of someone else's success. I'll talked about what happened and how I was finally able to move past that all [inaudible 00:00:32] feeling, so here we go.
Before begin, I thought it was be important to let you know that I was debating about whether I should talk about this, which, in a weird way, is precisely why I'm talking about it, even though it's not a comfortable thing. I feel like most people are comfortable sharing their failures, or successes, obviously, than talking about this other aspect of trying to achieve your goals. This part is about envying someone else's success. The worst part is that for this particular incident, I don't even know this person in real life, so I'll just back this up and say, first, I followed this person on Instagram. It sounds like such a cliché, but I read all her articles. I listen to her podcasts. You know, I'm just actually really inspired by her. I think she's amazing.
I always tell me husband that, yes, I'm obviously human, but jealousy is not one of my issues. I rarely. I can't even imagine the last time I got jealous of everyone. I genuinely feel when other people are successful, I'm the first to be excited for them, and I believe that there's enough room for everyone to shine, blah, blah, blah. You get it. It's like a big quote, inspiration quote thing. I just don't really get jealous. I'm excited for people. I think it's part of my personality.
But man, all of that completely went out the window when I was just online. I saw this person, again, that I admire, no bad will towards. I'm not a hater. I am an admirer. She had thrown this sort of really amazing event. I'll call it thought. Normally, I would be like, "That is so cool," and leave it at that. But for some reason, I felt a pang, a jealousy. You know how it is. It's just like a little ding, usually just festers out, but it was there. But of course, because I'm a masochist, I kept on reading updates about this, and my feelings just got worse and worse. I just started to feel really bad. By the end of the day, I was in a proper funk. Usually I'm like, "Okay, I'll sleep it off. I'll wake up tomorrow. It's a brand new day. I'll be fine," but this lasted for a couple of days. Then, a couple days translated into a couple more days.
For some reason, her success was just nagging me. Then, I was annoyed that it was nagging me. Then, I was just annoyed at the whole thing, like all the layers, annoyed at her, annoyed at myself, annoyed that this was taking up my time. I was truly like kind of like a hot mess. Finally, my husband was like, "What is wrong with you? What is going on? What's on your mind?" I was like, "Okay, fine." I told him about this person who he knows I talk about all the time. He knows that I love and I follow.
Then, I showed him this event that she had done. Of course, I should say like a man. I hate to stereotype, but like a man, he's like, "Okay. I don't get it." He's like, "Well, do you want to throw an event?" I was like, "No, that's not the point." He was like, "Well, do you want to do something like this in the future as like a goal of yours?" I'm like, "No, I don't." Then he was like, "Well, what? Again, what is the problem? You're literally not making any sense." I was like, "Okay." It was right at that moment that immediately realized that I actually wasn't really jealous of her or this fantastic event. I was jealous that she had set her mind to something and actually achieved it at a high level. More importantly, I was jealous because I was secretly afraid that I was never going to be able to achieve that kind of success, no matter how hard I worked.
That is when I stopped and I really just took a minute to process that. I even told my husband. I was like, "I think that's what I'm jealous of. I think that I'm afraid that I'm doing all of these things, and making progress, but I'm just never going to achieve it at the highest level of my potential, and that's actually really scary." After I thought about it, and I thought about it the next day, I realize that, one, I was actually incredibly sad that I felt this way, because that, again, is normally not in my mode of thinking. I usually think it's okay to be afraid, but I'm always ... You know, if I work hard enough and all this stuff, I'll make it happen, but I was sad that I had almost doubted myself in a very real and vulnerable way.
But on the positive side, because I'm back to myself, I also kind of felt free. I think I felt free because I finally realized why I had been in a funk and unable to work on any of my creative projects that week. You know, I had simply been afraid. I wasn't afraid, and it wasn't so much afraid of failure, because I feel like that's something I've put myself enough times out there that it wasn't the failure part that stopped me and which stops a lot of people, it was the opposite. Afraid that what I was doing would never be great, like amazing, news-worthy great. Instead, it would be like, "Oh, okay. That was cool, but not amazing."
But, the funny thing is once I realized that what I was afraid of, I said, "Okay, well, that's good to know. I can only control what I can control. Ultimately, that's all I can do. I just have to focus on my work and take the steps I need to be great in my own way." It was sort of this most anticlimactic thing. I mean, it was literally like I had spent a whole week moping around, and within a couple of days ... I wouldn't even say a couple of days. Within a day, I got over it. I went back to being happy and motivated Victoria. It was so strange. I wish I sort of had this lengthy episode to show how I overcame it all and how I was motivated to push past the feeling, but literally, the feeling was gone almost as soon as I realized what the underlying root cause was. You know, actually, maybe now that I think about that, that is a lesson in and of itself that maybe sometimes taking the time to actually figure out what is underneath that fear, or jealousy, or maybe depression, not clinical depression, don't get me wrong, but just like that down-in-the-dumps feeling is maybe trying to figure out why that feeling is there. It's the hardest, but actually maybe it's the most simple step to finally fixing the problem.
As for me, like well, what has happened since this incident? Well, one, I love Instagram. I'm not an addict, but I definitely go on there. Again, I like following people that I inspire me, and I like ... Instagram is usually a happy place to go. So I do love the app, but what I did do was I ended up actually hiding the app in my phone. What I did was I buried it. I didn't delete it, because I like it, but I buried it in one of the app folders that I rarely use. It's in there with, I don't know, like a heart health app, or some other stuff. I just don't go in there. But what this has allowed me to do is it's sort of like out of sight, out of mind. If I don't see the app, I don't go on it. I go on it maybe like once every other day. Unless I actively remember like, "Oh, yeah. I was supposed to check out what this person was doing," I just don't go on it.
What that's made me do is while I like seeing what people are up to and still loving being inspired, I think this experience has taught me that sometimes that inspiration can be a really fine line between feeling good and actually feeling jealous or having this vulnerability of fear internally, and I really don't want either of those things in my life again, primarily the jealousy or fear. I realized that by not focusing on what other people are sharing, as far as their success or life wins, I can focus on my own work.
I know this is not groundbreaking for a lot a people. I feel like there's articles all the time about how social media is making everyone worse. For me, it's never been an issue, because again, I've never been the type of person to really experience those feelings, but I do see now what people are talking about. I think the power of, especially when you're creative or you're doing something new, when you are on these types of social media apps or maybe in an environment where other people are also doing stuff that you want to do or you want to achieve, it is a slippery slope between feeling really motivated but also feeling really bad about yourself.
I think, in summary, taking the app away has been really great for me. I have actually found more peace and clarity in my own work, because I'm not subconsciously comparing their success to mine. I think it's a really important lesson and one that, for me, I hope to remind myself about if and when these types of feelings come up again. I think to come full circle, I maybe it was just like a couple of days, I saw a post by this person. She had a new podcast, and I listened to it, and I loved it. I was like, "Victoria, you were being so silly. There's no reason to be jealous. This is someone that inspires and motivates you. I'm glad you've ... " You know, I'm talking third-person, but I was like, "I'm glad you figured out your stuff and that you can now continue to gain inspiration from this person and not make that this weird perverted thing."
I'm really excited and proud about myself, and feel like I've actually come full circle without too much damage. Just like a week and a half gone, but other than that, I'm back on track. My challenge for you today is to really think about a person that has in the past or maybe is currently made you feel jealous, and take the time to really be objective. And if you can't, maybe talk to your friend or spouse, like I did, and try and analyze why you feel jealous. Are they doing something you want to do ? Are you just afraid, like me, of perhaps not really reaching your full potential in what you're doing and it's not so much about what they're doing?
Either way, be honest with yourself and know that by taking the time to really think about what is bothering you, I think you're actually giving yourself the power to not only address the problem, but to fix the problem. You may find, like me, that once I realized what it was, actually all that feeling, most of the feeling, went away rather quickly and I didn't have to all this work. It was just like freedom mentally, I felt really good and back to myself. I challenge you to do that. Going through this process has really been a game changer for me, and I hope it gives you the same peace.
As always, if you have questions or you have an incident that you want to share, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Even though I didn't need them, I did, actually, for research purposes, I was trying to figure out good articles that talk about jealousy and how to work through that. I will put in the show notes a couple of episode ... I mean, a couple of articles that I think were really helpful. You'll find those at activatepurpose.com/episode14. If you enjoyed today's episode, make sure to leave a review and subscribe to next week's episode.
Thank you so much for listening to me and for really allowing me to share, again, a topic that I know isn't the best thing to admit, but is something very real.
So, thank you again, and until next time.