My mom always used to say that her grandmother's besetting sin was jealousy. And I used to think how lucky I was that I wasn't jealous of my girlfriends' clothes or their boyfriends or their cool houses or their opportunities to travel. No! Not at all! I wasn't the jealous type.
And then I became a writer.
The truth is I often struggle with feelings of envy. Why can't I construct a plot as easily as this writer? Why don't my books win awards like that writer? The list of tortured questions goes on and on. I don't WANT to feel jealous. But there it is. I do sometimes, especially when things aren't going well for me.
What to do? I remember something Shannon Hale once said in a workshop. Her grandmother always used to say that hanging onto jealousy and resentment is like drinking poison and expecting it to hurt the other guy. True that. And here's something else. Listen to your best self. When somebody gets something you wanted, be the first to send flowers and notes of congratulation. I learned this from two veteran writers when I first started out--Ivy Ruckman and Barbara Williams. They were graciousness itself at all times, and I cherish their examples as much as I cherish their books.