Jealousy (and a know thyself art therapy directive)

I have jealousy on my mind. What is it? Why do we feel it? What’s the message?

Jealousy, by definition, is the fear that someone else will take what you perceive to be yours—you feel jealous when an attractive (better), powerful (better), amazing (better) person is talking to your significant other.

I know the feeling. It sucks. It’s fear and anxiety. Anger, to try to fend off the fear and anxiety. There is certainly a feeling of crazy. Pain, hurt, doom, those come to mind as well. And physically I feel jealousy right in the pit of my stomach. Where it likes to punch me until I feel like even more of an idiot.

An idiot. Right. Because along with the physical and emotional crap, there is also the self-talk that likes to remind me that I am a crazy, stupid, idiot, dumb, over-the-top a-hole. Because when one part of me is feeling jealous another part of me is telling that part to shut up. But there’s more! On top of the name-calling, my terrorist is also making up stories!!! Like the most fantastical, out of this world, should-be-made-into-a-motion-picture stories about things that do not exist. And my terrorist feeds my emotions and it would seem as though my emotions are starving.

Turns out, jealousy is a quality of the insecure. In fact, there is a school of scientific thought that states that jealousy is a feeling that promotes survival. Way back whenever it encouraged the protection of ones mate and increased the likelihood of procreation. Yeah. These days, though, it’s a signal to look inside. It is a reminder to find your center and if this is your first time, it is encouragement to look for it. How do you find your center? Well, who are you? Grab a paper and pen (pencil, whatever) and draw a circle with a person inside of it. That’s you.

How do you identify yourself?
I am a mother, wife, art therapist, sister, daughter, artist, yogi…etc.
Write it down outside of the circle.

Now what if a tornado hit and I lost everything? Husband and kids, gone. Family, gone. Job, gone. Who am I then? Who am I at my core? Who am I without the masks that I switch in and out of?

Try to think of the qualities that each mask requires…get into the feeling.
I am love, compassion, empathy, creativity, awesome (that’s a joke), funny, etc.
Write yours down inside of the circle.

Who are you?

Now take it a bit further. Assign a color to each quality. On a new piece of paper draw a figure.


Using each chosen color figure out where each quality resides in you and illustrate it. Don’t think too hard; go with whatever comes to you first.


Who am I?
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  1. paper
  2. writing utensil
  1. Draw a circle.
  2. Outside of the circle draw/write who you are. How do you identify yourself?
  3. Inside the circle draw/write the quality or feeling of each identifying trait that you wrote inside of the circle. There may be more than one quality for each trait.
  4. Assign a color to each quality.
  5. On a new piece of paper draw a figure.
  6. Using each chosen color figure out where each quality resides within you and illustrate it.
  7. Look at you!
Melissa Fannin

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