The weekend that wraps up today is an exceptional time as the last of a series of eclipses darkens our world. We have the opportunity to leave behind our shadowy tendencies and step forward into greater light and clarity. To support that, let’s take a look at a complex emotion that often lurks in our shadows and eclipses our inner peace: jealousy.
I am deeply grateful that here in Canada, as well as in the U.K. where my husband is serving MAPS (the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary), we have been successful at “flattening the curve” of COVID-19 infections and are cautiously beginning to reopen. At the same time, there are no words for the tragedy of thousands of people continuing to die each day, particularly in the United States and Brazil where the curve is anything but flat. After months of restrictions on our movement and interaction, people are frustrated. In some cases, citizens and leaders alike have pressed for restrictions to be lifted against medical advice—or simply flouted them entirely. Why? Could one reason be that we are jealous—whether of the apparent freedom of others, or simply of the lifestyle we once took for granted and no longer feel able to access?
Jealousy is a painful emotion. No one likes experiencing it, let alone admitting that we do. Yet many of us repeatedly find ourselves struggling with the feelings of scarcity and constriction that jealousy brings. Like anything, it can become a habit, even an addiction, the lens through which we see ourselves and the world. As with any repeated painful action, we must seek understanding to unlock the pattern and regain a fuller, healthier perspective.
Jealousy arises from a sense of being threatened or unfulfilled when we see someone else has something we feel we lack. It can be expressed as anger, self-pity, sarcasm, feelings of revenge or unhealthy competitiveness, all of which perpetuate a sense of being separate, against the world and alone.
A few years ago, I had to step back from performing for a while due to personal obligations. I found myself feeling sparks of jealousy as I thought about friends who were continuing to do what I loved to do. As I went deeper, I noticed that I was feeling afraid life would pass me by. I felt stuck, alone and out of flow. But I realized I had lost sight of my inherent value and place within a loving whole. I had fallen into feeling powerless and perceiving life as happening “to me”. Once I understood that, my feelings of jealousy eased. I was able to tap into feeling alive and grateful, regardless of my circumstance.
To free ourselves from jealousy, we need to have the humility to see that it reflects the ways in which we are invested in scarcity and disconnect, and misperceive our place in the world. Given that we each are integral parts within the abundance of Nature, these thoughts cannot be true. When we fully understand this, we no longer enable jealous feelings, and we let them go.
You can find tremendous strength when you see that you create your own suffering through the ways you perceive. If you are the cause of your suffering, you have the power to end it by changing the way you see yourself and the world. As you address your root sense of feeling not enough, you will cut jealousy off at the pass and start to see the fullness of others’ lives as a reflection of the natural, unchanging state of fullness inherently within your own self and all things.
Be gentle with yourself as you begin to look deeper at the root causes of your jealousy. Watch the tendency to feel like a victim, as though life owes you something. Remind yourself that you are love. You are loved.
PRACTICE: FIND FREEDOM FROM JEALOUSY
● Who do I feel jealous of?
Write down what comes up, without editing.
Then ask yourself:
● How do I feel about myself when I notice that I feel jealous?
● How does being jealous make me feel about the world and my life?
● In which way am I giving away my power when I feel jealous?
● What illusions am I buying into?
● Is what I am feeling jealous of temporal or permanent?
● What changes can I make right now in how I see myself and the world to feel more fulfilled and know that I am enough?