Something that we don’t talk about with others very often, but is very much a part of being human, is jealousy. Jealousy at our workplace of other co-workers and their recognition, promotions, opportunities; jealousy at home of our friends big new home, hot car, successful children, exotic trips, you name it.
Jealously can be a deadly emotional state, especially when is remains unconscious and unacknowledged. It can eat away at us, leaving us feeling despair, self-loathing and a reason to withdraw from engaging in life.
Bringing these feelings into the light of day, not only lightens the load, but also gives us some amazing insight into who we are and what we desire. If we choose to make these feelings conscious and look at the situation that is causing these reactions, rather than keep the feelings attached to a particular person and make the wrong or bad for what they have that we want, we can tune into the longing in our heart to have that particular situation happen in our lives.
Jealousy can give us clarity about what we want. Many of us were shamed as children into not wanting, not speaking about what we wanted because it reflected badly on those caring for us who couldn’t always provide it. So rather than feel the pain of inadequacy, they shamed us into not wanting by imagining the poor, starving children in china, for instance.
We were shamed into being grateful for what we had. It is valuable to be grateful—gratitude opens up a perspective of the glass half full rather than half empty—one of appreciation for the beauty, abundance and good fortune in our lives. But the way to gratitude is not down the path of shame.
As we peruse social media sites, we get to see all the wonderful things people are doing in their lives. This can be uplifting and inspiring, or it can be a way to feel less than as our lives pale in comparison. We need to remember that no one ever posts a picture of themselves yelling at their children—those parts of their lives are not spoken of on social media—so we get this skewed version of their reality.
At a workshop I was facilitating, I asked a participant what she was envious of, saying that therein lies the gold of what she longs to have for herself. She gasped and proclaimed that she experienced no envy or jealousy of anyone or anybody. If this were true, she would have been super human and an exception to what the rest of us experience as normal.
Although we are loath to admit it, we do have jealousy and envy in our hearts from time to time. I ask you to look at these emotions as informational gifts—a place to look for what you long for, desire, want to bring more of in your life in order to live a more satisfied and fulfilled life.
Diane Ingram, PCC, www.dianeingram.com