Capturing Jealousy: The Little Green Monster

The comments are made in passing...

"I wish I had her feet."

"Man, I wish I could do the splits as easily as you."

"Ugh, her turns are PERFECT. I wish I could turn like that..."

These comments come from a desire within us of wanting to be someone we aren't. We want her legs, her feet, his jumping power, their strength, this or that, over here or over there. The challenge is teaching students to recognize the little green monster before its tentacles reach every aspect of your thought processes, thus affecting every aspect of your life.

How is this done in a performance world where ballerinas have been taught for ages to execute everything the exact same way?

1. Stop comparing yourself to others. "Comparison is the thief of joy." In yoga, they tell everyone to "stay on their own mat." Since our bodies, training and experiences are different (which is fantastic!) stop holding yourself to the same expectations as the person next to you. You are starting from different places.

2. Embrace your own strengths. Figure out what is amazing about you. Perhaps your grande battements are perfect, and you're still working on turns. That's OK! Perhaps your hair falls perfectly on your shoulders, or you never forget to point your feet. Once you find your strengths (and acknowledge them), you'll start finding more of them.

3. Know what you are working on and don't punish yourself for that. Every process of growth takes time and a lot of effort. It isn't going to happen right away (the way we'd all like it to!) For example, in physical therapy, they say, "Go to your edge and hold it." You push yourself to the point where your body registers slight pain / stretching and you hold it. The next time you go back to that point, you'll body will give you the go-ahead to move further. It's an amazing process that should make you feel proud (and smile!)

4. Encourage compliments without self-loathing. I love when my students point out the beautiful things their fellow students do! It creates a lovely atmosphere. But I'm always careful to listen to the tone. Did they just tell their friend how beautiful something was because they secretly know they can't do it like that (yet?) If I get a sense that it's one of those type of compliments, I immediately respond by saying, "Wasn't that beautiful? It's like your {fill in the blank of one of their strengths here}" It's important to acknowledge and talk about the fact that we all have different strengths and we're all working on something.

5. Understand how life tends to work. In most situations, jealousy is all the fun you think they had.  A lot of it is mental. We make situations better than they ever were in our lively imaginations. As Steven Furtick said, "One reason why we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes to everyone else's highlight reel." Don't worry about everyone else's highlight reel. Focus on making your behind-the-scenes as beautiful and fantastic and lifechanging as you want it to be.

Photo by: Laura Lazenga

You are too stunning to let jealousy anywhere in your life. If you start to feel a little jealous or if you start comparing yourself to someone else and start wishing that maybe... stop there! Capture the little green monster and lock him away. Move forward knowing you have no use for a thing such as jealousy, because you have a life of your own to create.

"Extraordinary began life as ordinary." -Rick Beneteau 


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