- Interfere with healthy and creative collaboration - I once worked with a singer who would not go to other performers' shows in order to avoid feelings of jealousy towards them. This, of course, interfered with her ability to make helpful connections and establish relationships that would be beneficial for her creativity and professional networking.
- Lead to destructive comparisons - Jealousy and envy hinder creativity in that they cause the artist to compare their work and achievements to others'. Thinking in terms of what others are doing and how they are doing it significantly limits the person's sense of creative freedom during the creative process.
- Cause significant distress and low self-worth - It is important not to see oneself as a point of comparison but as a unique entity whose worth does not waver despite flaws and weaknesses. Jealousy and envy significantly threaten the person's sense of self-worth and create a cognitively distorted way of thinking i.e. "everything they do is great because they are perfect and loved by everyone"
So how can one cope with such feelings?
- Ask yourself if these feelings are about you and not about the other person. Sometimes it seems as though we are envious of a particular trait or accomplishment in someone else, but many times this feeling is triggered by a preexisting sense of inadequacy and sensitivity. This relieves the pressure and preoccupation with the other person and shifts the attention onto the self. Though this can be a difficult process, it can also be empowering as it recognizes the personal responsibility in dealing with the feelings.
- Explore what purpose such feelings serve? A positive function served by jealousy and envy is that it's our chance to ask ourselves what is not working for us: in the we are living our lives, expressing our art, performing etc. Perhaps the jealousy tells us that we, too, have a passion for a particular mode of artistic expression or that we need to work harder at mastering a certain skill. Sometimes, the answer can be confidence-boosting in that the artist's gets to recognize that, in fact, they are pleased with their choices and it's just a matter of "grass is greener" type of thinking.
- Identify and challenge any black or white ways of thinking. Just because it seems like someone else effortlessly achieved something does not mean that this is the case. It may appear that following their path would bring you joy when, in fact, finding yourself in the other person's shoes might have triggered similar, if not more, feelings of overall life dissatisfaction.
- Finally, allow yourself some time to feel and, perhaps, mourn the loss of what has not been achieved or acquired. Losing a spot to someone else, not advancing in a competition, having fewer performance opportunities etc., can feel like a sort of loss. If the person's choices and opportunities, regarding ultimately achieving desired goals, are limited, then coming to terms with and accepting what one doesn't have (but perhaps others do) is a psychologically self-actualizing process.