Think you're the only one who feels jealous sometimes?
It was a normal Wednesday morning. I woke up in the home I've built--surrounded by flowers, trees, three dogs, a kitten, and a family of people for whom I'd give my life. The sun was shining and the stifling heat wave that recently overcame Los Angeles had lifted. I felt healthy, pleasantly sore from yesterday's yoga class, and eager to get started on a day of recording the audio version of the 7 Steps to Manifesting Your Heart's Desires.
I am free. I chart my own course, work for myself, and spend my life doing what I love to do. This is everything I've wanted.
An uninvited guest joined me that morning. I sat down at my computer and saw that a woman who does work similar to mine was traveling to Capri for an event she's hosting for women entrepreneurs. Another woman in my field just landed a co-host role on an uplifting AM radio show with syndication. My friend, Lubna Salah (pictured above), decided that life is for living and now is the time, so she packed up and went to Bali.
A heavy, matted, uncomfortable sensation settled in my belly. The day ahead didn't feel as bright anymore. The blessings that surround and pervade my life receded into grayness and an idealized vision of each woman's life burst into vibrant color. I was jealous.
I want to be in Capri, I want to do national radio, I want to submerge myself in life, in Bali. Why not me? Why don't I have/do this? In what ways are they so much better than me to get these things?
Ah, that question did it. It marked my departure from the realm of sane inquiry and my ego's entrance.
Thankfully, I've done this work long enough to recognize the ego's sabotaging strategies. It begins with seemingly innocent inquiries that are soon laden with presumptions--like why are they better than me--and by answering, you tacitly agree with the question's premise and your powerlessness. Your agreement makes the thought true for you and slowly it devours your self-image. Left unchecked, you'll be feeling like a loser before the morning's out. It's slick slope and we've all slid down it.
My strategy for grappling with anything undesirable is to ask:
--What is the opportunity here?
--What is this here to teach me?
--What would I need to be/have to handle this with grace and mastery?
These alchemical questions transmute every perceived negative into an opportunity for learning and growth.
Applying them to the jealous blob of goo in my center revealed a powerful insight:
Jealousy is the projection of negative feelings derived from the recognition of our deepest desires coupled with a (false) belief that we can't have them--it's not about the person you're feeling jealousy toward--it's about you.
My feelings of jealousy had nothing to do with the women in the scenarios. The crux of my upset was from the recognition of my desire coupled with the belief that I can't have/do what they're doing. I can.
I could be in Capri or Bali, granted not simultaneously, tomorrow if I chose to be. It wouldn't be convenient and would necessitate foregoing the projects I'm working on, and require me to make arrangements for the care of my responsibilities--not easy, but possible. I've made choices that align with my greatest desires (like being a mother who's home after school) and these choices supersede my desire to travel, right now, but children grow up and I'll get to Bali and Capri soon enough. As far as national radio goes, if I choose to make this a goal and take consistent and intelligent action toward it (like get an agent, edit my reel, send it out), I'll get one.
The opportunity in feeling jealous is to reveal what you really want, acknowledge that it's possible for you, and to give you the opportunity to say yes, no, or not now, to it. It's a call to focus on what you desire and to decide what you're going to do about it.
This applies as much to career/vacation envy as it does to material, romantic, and superficial jealousy. The next time you find yourself jealously fixating on an individual, white them out and look at what it is about them that you want for your life. Examine whether it's really your heart's desire, or something you were conditioned to want. If it's your genuine desire, put a plan together--hire a coach if you need help--and go for it.
The world is wide open to those who believe it is--anything is possible for you. Believe.
What's your heart's desire? Leave me a comment and tell me what you're going to do about it.