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You might as well face it. There will come a time when you look at a friend, classmate, colleague, relative or acquaintance and see right through them. You won’t feel pride, love, or excitement for their latest endeavor, but a shot of something way more embarrassing. Jealousy.

As a writer, I’ve experienced it far more times than I’d admit. But my relationship with envy begun eons before my life as a freelance writer. It started the first time I experienced that uncomfortable pit in my stomach-the one that made me feel less than, that questioned my ability to be worthy of whatever it was I was longing for, that grew like vines around my heart and wrapped around it, suffocating anything beautiful and loving in its path.

It’s the part of myself that I had grown to despise. It was responsible for the thoughts that kept me up late at night. Was I good enough? Why did he or she get that A in class while I struggled and ended up with a B? Why did they get that job instead of me? And on and on the questions would roll around in my mind until they left me so exhausted I finally fell asleep.

It was in college when I finally understood the purpose of jealousy in life.

I heard a classmate transfered to school on the mainland. Although I hadn’t ever wanted to move away from Hawaii where I grew up, the idea intrigued me. And eventually my envy turned into curiosity. I started to ask myself the question that would change my life, “Why not me?”

A few months later, I applied to go to school on the mainland. A year later, I moved. It’s been more than a decade since I made that decision and my life has changed dramatically because I allowed myself to transform the question, “Why me?” to “Why not me?”

Jealousy can feel like one of the most hardest pills to swallow. No one wants to admit that they feel green with envy, that at times they wish they had what you had. But feeling jealous isn’t anything to be ashamed of. It’s not only a normal emotion, but it can be a surprising gift transforming a wish (sometimes even an unconscious one) into reality.

Take action today: Think about something someone has done recently to start the seeds of jealousy. Is there an action you can take to fulfill that same accomplishment for yourself? Can you use envy as the fuel to propel your life forward in the right direction? Spend time thinking about what makes you envious and why. Then, plan what you need to do make it happen for yourself. Who knows? Your next accomplishment could inspire someone else to take the next steps in their own life.

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