I read an article last Friday that opened my eyes to a new way of thinking about myself and my feelings. I have been a long time reader of the Dr NerdLove blog and his article on Friday called “How to Deal with Jealousy” dealt with all the things that I had been feeling for quite a while now. Previously, I had thought jealousy to be in the realm of those with relationships. I thought it was the feeling that one gets when their significant other is possibly (or at least seemingly) being pulled away from them. Whether it is in the form of other people or even a career that pull the other person away. In his article though, Dr NerdLove defines jealousy as (and I am very much paraphrasing and interpreting):
The feeling of inadequacy as a result of the perception that others have what you want.
Now, the article doesn’t have an actual definition but as I read through it, I found that this is probably the most accurate definition that I have come across. Wikipedia and many of the online dictionaries, including Urban Dictionary (not a credible source), focus on the loss of something. Google’s Dictionary equates it a feeling of envy for others advantages and I find this one to be the closest to my current definition.
This new definition has struck a chord with my own thoughts on how to improve myself. We all know (I hope) that jealousy is generally a destructive emotion and is incredibly hard to control but I never thought that it would apply to someone who was not in a relationship. This new information surprised me and made me realize that most of the problems that I have been having can be attributed to this feeling of inadequacy. Lately, I have been feeling like everyone around me has their life together and I can barely get a decent laundry schedule going. I have been feeling that all these people I see on the street and in the movies or on TV have something that I don’t. They have some unidentified quality that I can’t see and because of this their lives are so much better, so much more full than mine. Then I started reading the Dr Nerdlove blog and I realized that most of the problems that I have been having are the same problems that everyone else has. I now understand that many of my current problems stem from (As Dr NerdLove like to put it) comparing other peoples highlight reel to my raw footage.
You see, I have been looking at another persons awesome day and just assuming that their entire life must be like that. We all know that our lives are not like this so why do we assume other peoples lives are like this. This is really the thing that hangs me up. I am jealous of the way that I perceive other peoples lives to be, even though I don’t really have an idea what they are like. From now on, I am going to try to not look at another persons awesome qualities and instead focus on the things that make me awesome.
If you have not read anything of Dr NerdLove and are looking for dating and general life advice gear towards the geeky/nerdy side, this is a good place to start.