I remember being jealous of a perfect stranger – younger than me with a hand bag that cost more than I had in the bank at the time. I think she was in line ahead of me at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. When that feeling of jealousy welled up inside me it felt like – I hate her. But that didn’t make any sense. I don’t even know her. I had handbag envy but it wasn’t like, wow I really like your bag. It was more like I was pissed that I couldn’t afford that bag and she could. I sized her up and wondered how she had that kind of money. Jealousy is ugly like that – I was judging her now too. And deciding in my own mind whether she could afford that bag – WTH? Who am I? Judgey and jealous isn’t my usual mode of operation. I pride myself on being happy for others when they receive and accomplish great things and gifts and wealth. I actually believe there is enough for everyone and I don’t buy into the lack paradigm at all. But at that time in my life I wasn’t living comfortably. Money was tight and a hand bag that cost several thousand dollars was out of reach for me. And this feeling of jealousy was surprising – why did I even want a handbag that cost several thousand dollars? I certainly didn’t need it. It was so irrational and yet here I was having this emotion of jealousy.
Whenever I have a feeling – I try to notice it, sit with it, get to the bottom of what it’s really about and why. I know now that anger is really fear. Fear is something to rise above and overcome. Similarly, disappointment or feeling like something is being taken from me is a form of anger or fear. Again something to rise above. Radical forgiveness and Gratitude have long been my gurus when these feelings come to the surface. Not allowing myself to be thrown off kilter by anger and fear but rather to find my center and stay balanced always from a place of love, compassion and clarity is the self work that I do.
So what about jealousy – where does that fit in? It’s similar to feelings of being taken from. And so I tried on forgiveness – which always helps me transcend greed. I forgave the woman with the awesomely expensive handbag but I wondered, does that help me overcome it? Not really, I still felt jealous although more resigned to not hating her- she didn’t really wrong me. Her having the bag has nothing to do with me not having it. So then what?
In my usual way I look to see what other spiritual seekers have to say on the topic. I don’t remember where I found it but the answer it seems is acknowledging that whatever I am jealous of – is something I have the potential to attain. Jealousy isn’t about the other person so much as my own unconscious awareness that I’m not living to my fullest potential. Whatever I’m jealous of is what I could attain but because of some block or lack of intention or mindset of lack – I have not attained.
Whenever I notice a feeling of jealousy now – I practice gratitude. I thank the person I’m jealous of (in my head, not out loud) for showing me how great I can be. For showing me where I’m not trying hard enough. It’s like I’m winking 😉 at my soul and acknowledging the message from my higher self that I need to do better, expect more and work on my blocks to attaining that which I am jealous of. Now whenever I feel jealous – I immediately write it as a goal in my notes in my phone. I keep digital notes on my phone and I have a page of goals that I go through and check off regularly. I used to create goals annually but now I just keep a rolling list. Ridiculously expensive handbag – checked off.
Lately I’ve noticed when people have this feeling of me. They never say it out loud. It’s like a look or an avoidance usually. One friend in particular has started having strong walls up around me – like she can’t even be in the same place as me. I know she has discerned that she doesn’t feel good around me and believes she is creating some healthy boundaries for herself. She is learning to trust her intuition and to create clear space for herself and her family. I don’t think she has identified why she doesn’t feel good around me yet – she has lumped her new feelings about me into a general pot of things to avoid. She is doing great things – moving into authenticity for herself and truly glowing. I’m sad that we can’t be sharing her successes and celebrating together. Now I’m working on maintaining my confidence and not allowing her rejection of me to cause me to react toward her. I have other close relationships where I notice people can be kind and warm and generous with me when they perceive they are doing better than me financially but when they perceive I am doing better then there becomes contention. I’m careful to check myself, to make sure I am not provoking or reacting to their jealousy. I also have to implement my own boundaries with these sometimes toxic relationships. Jealousy is not a well understood emotion I think. Jealousy is not about the other person. It’s about ourself. And when someone behaves weirdly toward me out of jealousy – I have to remember it’s not about me. It’s their work to get through. I just need to step out of the way of the negative feelings they might have toward me and pour on a heavy dose of self care so I don’t get hurt.
We’re all in this earth school together. We’re all learning from one another. The interplay between people and relationships is complicated. Unraveling the emotions is important – leaving kinks and knots in our relationships is messy. Staying out of the fray is a strategy. Never giving in to feelings of jealousy is important for our own growth so we can rise to be our best self. Now I see jealousy is not about anyone else, it’s really my teacher – my goal creator.