Jealousy is often regarded as a petty emotion, the sort of thing that only less-evolved types feel, or perhaps as the domain of losers who like to complain more than they like to take action.

Sure, we all know those people. We’ve all been those people, at some point or another.

But jealousy, pissed off or whiny as she may sound, has something important to say:

“Look over here, at this thing that you want to do, but are not allowing yourself to do.”

 

Big Dreams

When I was three, when people asked what I wanted to do when I grew up: I wanted to write and illustrate children’s books. I was declaring this before I could even write letters.

When I was in middle-school, I wanted to write books for girls my age: Sleepover Friends, The Babysitters Club, things like that–then Sweet Valley High.

In my 20s, in graduate school for creative writing, I wanted to write literary fiction.

Would you believe that the deep desire now that I’m in my 30s and have been running a personal development website for a few years, has been to write a book?

So I have written books–two books in the past two years, in fact, and tricked them out with videos and more.

And–that’s a lot.

But.

But, but, but–

Jealousy keeps popping up and letting me know that my long-held dream of a print book, an actual bound book that you can hold in your hands, is where I’ve always been oriented.

This basically means that any time someone talks about a book proposal, Jealousy gets seriously stirred up.

 

The Truth About Jealousy

Jealousy is incredibly helpful. Jealousy is clarifying. Jealousy points a fat magnifying glass on what you truly want.

Jealousy does not always need to indicate that you wish less for someone else. When I hear about anyone else’s book proposals, I don’t go to a place of wishing they weren’t writing them or hoping they don’t succeed.

Jealousy simply gets honest: I want that for myself.

I don’t get jealous over things like being a high-profile doctor. Nothing appeals to me about having a thriving practice as a masseuse. A few times a year, I am hit by a whim to learn how to cook like Alice Waters, but it’s just an idea–certainly not jealousy.

But people who inherit large sums of money, who are fluent in Italian, who never get running injuries (yo, Dean Karnazes), who own Mini-Coopers, or who publish books in print?

Y’all make me jealous, in the very best possible way.

Listen to your jealousy. It feels uncomfortable, but it’s trying to point you to where you deeply, deeply desire to go. The only reason it’s uncomfortable, is because it really (really) wants to get your attention.