Photo by Nadi Whatisdelirium

If you pay close attention to your emotions, they can reveal your desires. Our inherent fears and insecurities can become the compass that we are looking for to guide us to our passion and dreams. A good friend of mine wisely once told me, that you should pay attention to the inner chatter that resembles jealousy because it can be your guide to becoming a better person.

Spotting and identifying the internal conflict of jealousy is a clear indication of something that you are longing for. I’m not talking about what happens when you catch your boyfriend giving the barista an extra-long smile or when someone is carrying the new Hermes bag down the street.

Instead, pay attention to when you have an emotional reaction to someone pursuing a particular dream or when you become aware that you are jealous of someone else’s accomplishment. These moments are probably triggered because of something that you want to see happening in your own life. Perhaps something that sits right under the surface of what you spend your time and energy on, but not so secretly crave.

For me, the initiator for this conversation typically centers around writers and their success. I’m often provoked by a friend whose work has been chosen by a literary agent. The jealousy starts to crawl its way into my inner discourse, and I can feel it in my body. My muscles in my neck get a little tighter, and I scrunch my shoulders up. I’m envious over someone else’s career as a writer because I have not reached anywhere close to achieving this lifelong dream.

Worse, I don’t even commit to making it happen. So, my conversation quickly turns from, “that should be my name on the front cover,” to a self-loathing rant about my lack of discipline. My desire to write trumps the actual practice of the act. Instead, I chastise myself on both accounts; for being resentful of those that do it and for not getting my ass in a chair to write.

Now that I’ve become more aware of these underlying feelings, I try to let them be my teachers. A lesson in taking jealousy and desires and turning it into motivation. I am obviously not always the best version of myself. I still catch myself gawking over someone else’s ability to dedicate their days to putting words on paper. Or more impressively squeezing it between their already busy lives just so that they can make their dreams come true.

Pay close attention to your thoughts and let them guide you because while they reflect your desires, they are not stronger than your actions