Jealousy and Martial Arts
Have you ever found yourself annoyed because someone else becomes a higher rank before you?
Have you ever found yourself hating another student because they can afford to spend more time or money in their training?
Inevitably, at some point in your training, you’ll be faced with the evil green-eyed monster. That’s right, jealousy will strike and it’s often a make or break point for many studies.
Jealousy is not something to be afraid of or ashamed of; it’s part of being human. Every culture and every person eventually faces jealousy. In Martial Arts, it manifests itself in many forms, but mostly in the comparison of ourselves and our shortcomings to that of another student.
If not acknowledged and dealt with, jealousy can lead towards developing a dislike or disappointment in your Martial Arts training. At first, it will drive you to work harder. But there are natural shortcomings that are outside of our control. Not all of us are millionaires. Not all of us are as flexible or as good at remembering moves as someone else.
Unable to change the outcome of these, the jealousy turns into something hurtful. You will find less pleasure in your training. Excuses will arise and soon you’ll be spending less, not more, time training. Eventually, you may choose to leave Martial Arts all together.
Jealousy is a poison. But like all poisons, it can be put to benefit if you can apply it correctly.
First of all, recognize when jealousy strikes. The cure to jealousy is often embodied in this first step of recognizing the symptoms. If you answered yes to any of the initial questions in this article, you’re well on your way to recognizing the jealousy. Now, go deeper. What is it that is making you jealous of another student? Why do you feel compelled to compare yourself to them?
Second, recognize what is within your control and what is outside. We can’t change the circumstances we are given. I can’t suddenly become a millionaire simply by wishing it so. I can’t suddenly become more flexible or more able to remember things as maybe some of my younger practioners. Those are realities I will never escape.
However, what I can’t do, there are things I can do which perhaps others cannot. Each of us brings our own perspectives and thus our own sets of experiences. A concept that someone else might not grasp so readily, might come easily for you. Recognize what you are good at and try to utilize those skills as much as possible to advise your training.
Next, remember why you started Martial Arts. Each of us started for different and unique reasons – none of which was probably to compare ourselves to other students in the class. Don’t forget what attracted you to Martial Arts to begin with.
Were you doing it for your health? If so, then evaluate your progress to that goal. Are you improving? Are you feeling more fit and in better health?
Were you doing it to become more involved in your children’s lives? Has that bond developed? How has the relationship been?
Were you doing it because you loved some Martial Artist in a movie? Maybe take an afternoon and do a marathon of his/her movies just to get that feeling back.
Finally, use the jealousy in positive manners. Don’t let the jealousy turn you sour towards a fellow student; but rather try to harness the burst of determination to do better. See if you can push yourself just a bit further, work just a bit harder on the dojo floor, and reach for a goal that you might see others attaining.
Who knows, you may surprise yourself and discover you’ve accomplished the very thing you’re jealous of - or you may discover there are a lot of thing you can do that are better than others.
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