Last year, I attended a short artistic workshop that I found really valuable. This year, my girlfriend is attending a similar, but much longer and more prestigious workshop, and it's killing me.
She applied on sort of a lark, not really expecting to be accepted (although I privately thought it was much more likely than she did), and did indeed get in. Last year I deliberately avoided this particular program, thinking it was too prestigious, and aimed lower.
Now I find myself plagued with a litany of intrusive thoughts:
- This is proof that she's "better" than me.
- She's already ahead of me, artistically, and this is only going to widen the gap.
- My experience was short and still transformative, how much more could I have learned given a month instead of a week?
- Obviously I am a failure.
- How could she do this to me?!
- Et cetera, ad actual, not figurative, nauseam.
I have arranged to leave town before she leaves, and come home only after she's returned. I will be distracting myself as effectively as I can manage, although I do not have a stellar track record with managing envy in the past. I have a long history of feeling as though I have failed to live up to my potential, both because of laziness on my part and lack of access to opportunities I've seen granted to others. What's happening now could not be more perfectly calculated to exploit my insecurities.
I'm in general a very envious person; it's one of my least favorite parts about myself. But now it threatens to ruin my summer (at the very least), and possibly wreak serious damage on a relationship I value very highly. I haven't had much success with tempering this character flaw in the past, and I would very much like to hear from anyone who has overcome envy of any kind.
I am aware that my envious thoughts are fundamentally fallacious, and that in particular the ones that begrudge my girlfriend her happiness and success are total bullshit. Please do not call me out on this; I am only too aware of how poorly such feelings reflect on me as a human being.
N.B.: I am in therapy.