Dancers: What To Do When You Get Jealous

Dancers: What To Do When You Get Jealous. Photo by Liel Anapolsky

You check the cast list, reverently scanning for your name. Your heart is pounding both in your stomach and in your throat at the same time as you wait for the rush of adrenaline that will hit when you see your name next to your dream role.

Except your name isn’t where you thought it would be. Your spirit and heart sink as you realize someone else got your part. Disappointment. Hurt. Jealousy.

These are normal feelings that every performer will experience in their life, and it’s ok to feel all the feels when it feels like all your hard work didn’t pay off. Know that it’s totally ok to feel disappointed and hurt, and even jealous. Pushing those feelings away isn’t the answer, but what you do next can make or break you as a dancer.

Instead of letting the little green monster of envy and jealousy get the better of you, make the choice to see jealousy as an opportunity to learn. Becoming aware of our thoughts and feelings (instead of judging them) is the key to zooming out and gaining perspective on situations that are emotionally charged and have the potential to suck you into a black hole of negativity.

Jealousy comes from a place of lack. It’s the feeling that there isn’t enough to go around, and that somehow, you’ve been overlooked. These feelings can spike negative self talk, pessimistic behaviors, and alienate you from others and yourself.

Jealousy is your ego talking, and it never feels good. Even if we want to feel differently it can be hard to put those feelings aside. Here’s an easy antidote to sweeping jealousy aside and putting yourself back on the path to becoming your best self.

Get grateful! Despite what feels like a setback or a disappointment, there is SO much to be grateful for. Go outside and get out of your head. Look at everything in this amazing world. If that’s not working, try making a gratitude list. Write down every single thing you’re grateful for, and feel your energy shift. If even that isn’t working, enlist the help of trusted friends and family to help shift your perspective; they can gently show you all the things we have to be grateful for.

Then, when you’re ready, use your let down as a jumping off point for making specific goals and action steps to reach your new goal. For example, a goal of ‘doing barre on pointe three times a week’ (so you gain strength) is much more actionable than a goal of ‘get stronger by next month’. It will feel good to channel your energy towards something you can check off each day, week, or month, and it will feel even better to see your results and know that instead of shutting down and staying jealous, you got back on your horse and made a not so great situation work for you.

There’s more than enough for everyone, and everything will happen in perfect timing for you. Say it over and over, even if you don’t believe it yet. As dancers we know, repetition makes the soul (and technique) grow stronger.