THE BLOG
07/01/2014 03:22 pm ET Updated Aug 31, 2014

5 Reasons Why Jealousy Is a Good Thing

Eric O'Connell via Getty Images

I've always been a jealous person. As an entrepreneur, I think the tendency towards jealousy is just engrained in me; I always want do better and I'm constantly striving for more.

Like most parents, mine taught me that jealousy was a negative emotion, and that I should be grateful for what I have instead of focusing on what I don't have. I grew up believing that it was important to push jealousy away and ignore it; now I believe the complete opposite.

About four months ago, there was an important event happening in London that I wanted to attend. I knew that many of the successful people in my industry were going to be speaking at it, and that it would be life-changing for me, but for some reason, I was hesitant to register.

After a few hours of avoiding my computer, I realized what was going on: I was jealous. I admitted to my husband that I was afraid I would be too envious when I got there because I wanted to be one of the ones speaking at the event -- not just another member of the audience.

I laughed out loud after hearing those words come out of my mouth -- realizing how ridiculous it sounded -- and soon enough my jealousy subsided and I signed-up.

Ever since that experience, I've come to learn that all emotions serve a purpose, so by pushing them away, I'm actually missing out on the opportunity to discover more about myself and what I want from life. My emotions, including jealousy, can act as a bit of a compass or magnifying glass, and when it comes to life or career goals, jealousy can actually be useful.

Here are five reasons why jealousy is a good thing:

1. It reveals your next step.

You have to actually know what you want to get there, right? Awareness is key when you're trying to reach your goals, and I believe jealousy is something that's actually quite a good indicator of where you want to be in your life. It points out where you may be holding back and what your true emotion is regarding a life step or goal. Until I felt that twinge of jealousy, I was actually unaware of my desire to speak at events.

2. It helps you make connections.

When you see someone who has done what you want to do or has what you want, you should connect with her/him. In my case, at the conference, I made connections with a few of the people I truly admire in my field, and they've already helped me in various ways. (And who knows, maybe I'll even be able to collaborate with them one day!)

3. It turns into curiosity.

When you feel envious of someone, turn it around and get curious. If you aren't able to ask them how they achieved their success, at least get curious about their path and Google their story. I guarantee that by researching one person's story, you'll discover even more people who have gotten where you want to go and you'll be able to get great tips for making your dreams happen.

4. It shows possibilities.

So many people don't know what they want from life, so use jealousy to your advantage. Whenever I feel jealous of the people who are further along in my industry, I turn that around and try to remember that they are helping me see what is possible down the line -- most of which I had never even thought of!

5. It leads to more gratitude.

When you're feeling jealous, don't push that emotion away. Instead, turn the mirror around and look at what you've done and be grateful for that. And if you need some help seeing the picture clearly, contact a trusted friend who can remind you of everything you've accomplished and give you support in the steps you want to take next.

Remember, the grass is always greener where you water it, so focus on what's going right in your life, give it some attention, and watch it grow. And if you need some help along the way, just get in touch with me at emily@iheartmylife.com.

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