And what of the Green-Eyed Monster?
Ooh, jealousy. A yucky, uncomfortable topic. Let's dig in, shall we? For the topic of jealousy must be broached because it is one of those big, awful things that encompass the reality of being human.
Jealousy comes from fear. Fear of not being good enough, of not being loved, of missing out on something. If I am jealous it means I think I haven't got something that someone else has got and I get triggered.
This happened to me recently. I compared my insides to another woman's outsides and I came up short. "She is better than I am."
But is she? How do I know who she is on the inside? How do I know what she really feels about herself?
I can never know another person's inside state of being unless she tells me. This means that I'm jealous of what I see, not what I know. I'm imagining she is perfect or that she doesn't have problems, or insecurities or shortcomings. I'm judging a body not a human being.
If the person of whom I am jealous were to tell me that her father died when she was three and she lived in a perpetual state of sadness, or she had insomnia or she suffered from bi-polar disease then my jealousy would likely be transformed into compassion. The person in question would cease to be a body and she would now become just like me: imperfect.
A person once told me that if I am jealous of a person, if I think I want what she has, then I must imagine I have her whole life. Not just her looks or her talent, which is usually what I think I want, but her whole life.
If she has abusive parents, I've got to take them, too. If she has a video game addiction, that comes with her. Lousy boyfriend, yup. Annoying laugh? Mine.
This practice of seeing the whole person helped me to see that I didn't, in fact, want her whole life, whoever she happened to be at the time. I just wanted her hair. Or her career.
When the Green-Eyed Monster took me over in this recent episode I was overwhelmed by it. Envy is so powerful! It's so big and it can make us feel so small. But what I have learned is that it's really not that big at all. It's a thought, a feeling, and when I recognize that it's coming from fear I can change it.
After a prayer in which I asked for this fear to be removed and a meditative practice involving breath, acceptance and forgiveness, I returned to a place of compassion and surrender and the Monster went away.
Did I really want this woman's whole life? Certainly not. I have a great life! What was the fear really about? She was getting attention. A-ha! I want attention.
Like most of our negative emotions, jealousy is a teacher. It may indicate a deeper need for love or self-validation. If we can recognize it as such we can go about taking the steps to meet whatever that need may be.
Inspiring Message of the Day: How can I give myself the attention I crave? What can I do to comfort that scared part of myself that needs to be reassured and loved? I will answer these questions and then take the steps to meet my deeper needs.