There are lots of emotions I feel before I even get out of bed in the a.m., but these days, jealousy is one of the most common. At least that’s the case on the mornings I scroll through Instagram first thing. When I go that route, I’m inevitably faced with a highlight reel of women taking exotic vacations or snuggling their chubby-cheeked babies…as I lay there solo, preparing to sit in front of a computer in my apartment all day.
Okay, I don’t have it so bad—there are plenty of great things about my life—but it’s human nature to be envious of people who have the things we want, whether it’s a job title, a relationship, or mind-bogglingly clear skin. It’s also human nature to stew over these feelings in silence, or try to stifle them altogether. But according to spiritual teacher and author Biet Simkin, the answer to how to deal with jealousy isn’t to avoid it—that option actually deprives us of a major opportunity to level-up ourselves. In her new book, Don’t Just Sit There!: 44 Insights to Get Your Meditation Practice Off the Cushion and Into the Real World, Simkin refers to this concept as “The Law of Equals.” Essentially, she says, jealousy is a sign that you’ve encountered someone who’s the same as you on some level. Their cameo in your life shines a light on what you really want and shows you that those goals are totally achievable.
“The mind cannot process that there are enough good things for everyone,” she says. “So when we see people who have good things, the mind sets off an alarm. It says, ‘you will never have that!’ But meditation allows you to understand that this voice is full of shit. Jealousy is actually just a compass for what you truly want.”
“Jealousy is actually just a compass for what you truly want.… [But] the mind cannot process that there are enough good things for everyone.”—Biet Simkin, spiritual teacher and author
To use envy to your advantage, says Simkin, make a list of everyone who makes you feel jealous and look for the things they have in common—maybe it’s the fact that they all have successful fitness businesses or happy marriages. Then, use those insights to create goals and an action plan for yourself, whether that involves drawing up your own business plan or finally signing up for a dating app.
Simkin also believes it’s important to spend as much time as possible with people who spark your sense of envy. Yes, that means being present for your friends whenever they experience a win—like taking your work pal out for lunch when she gets the promotion you wanted—but it’s also about making friends with the people you
resent admire from afar, in an effort to learn from them. If this makes you feel a little nauseous, that’s good. It’s kind of the point, in fact. “Discomfort is a part of the game,” Simkin says. “It’s good to be rejected. It’s good to be loved. It’s good to play. Stop focusing on results, and have more fun. Get shaky knees and go.”
Simkin herself is proof that this idea is powerful. After introducing herself to one of her idols at a party, the two became close friends and even started working together. “We collaborate, coach each other, and create new ideas together,” she says. So next time I’m lamenting the fact that I can’t travel for six months out of the year like some of my acquaintances, I’m going to ask them to coffee and score some travel tips. At the very least, I’ll have a good conversation—and at best, I’ll only feel good vibes next time I see them swimming under a waterfall in Bali. Because hey, I might be planning my own dream getaway.
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