Here’s something that may be hard to hear: Jealousy is never about the other person, it’s always about YOU – YOUR feelings of being ignored, unappreciated, unseen and unloved, and underneath all of that, your frustrated desire to control others – what they do, what they want, how they are received, who loves them – and ultimately, your desire to control the universe.
Ouch. This is strong medicine. Jealousy as the attempted insurrection of the separate self against its greatest threat, unconditional love.
Admit it: Someone else is getting all the attention, the love, the rewards, the success, the glory, and you are left out in the cold, isolated, forgotten, a failure – not special at all. Jealousy sees the other as some kind of ‘rival’, an ‘enemy’, a ‘threat’ to your path. It sees life as a giant competition and joy as a scarce commodity. And once you go down that path, there are a million rivals, a million blocks to joy…
Jealousy makes your peace dependent upon someone or something else! It says, “I can’t be at peace as long as they are …” (Fill in the blank). You give the other power over you, and then resent them for taking that power – which they never did! You gave it to them with your attention.
Jealousy can easily strike when you are feeling uncertain, insecure, doubtful about your own path. To avoid facing your own pain, being honest about your own insecurities, you bring focus away from yourself, onto the other, and begin comparing and contrasting and mentally fighting. You want what they seem to have. “Why isn’t THAT happening to ME?” you ask. It’s all about me. Me me me. Me me me me me me. The ego thrives on comparison and power struggles.
Where and when can healing begin? The only place and time there is. Here, Now.
Begin by turning towards your only place of power: the present moment. Acknowledge your experience, deeply. Feel the jealousy burning, aching, throbbing, in your neck, chest, stomach. Feel the power that’s there, the volcanic power of life itself, the power that creates universes. Take away the word/label/concept ‘jealousy’ and feel directly the raw sensations without judgement and without trying to make them ‘better’. Feel the aliveness. Contact your own uncertainty, doubt, feelings of powerlessness. Feel that old familiar friend – the urgent need to control the world from where you are.
Don’t turn away! – when you turn away from your immediate embodied experience, separation, and therefore fear, begins. Slow down. Begin to light up the sore and forgotten places in yourself with awareness. Bring gentleness and kindness to that lost child in yourself, the one who was never seen, the one who always longed for love and understanding, who always felt ‘far away’ from life and fun. The one who would destroy a universe just to get attention. Feel the innocence there…
Perhaps, from a place of deep acceptance of yourself as you are, you will begin to find compassion for the one you previously called your ‘rival’. Perhaps you will even be able to celebrate his or her happiness and achievements. You will become part of his or her abundance rather than the judge and jury of it. You may be able to learn from your ex-enemy, or at least use them as a source of inspiration. Or you may forget about them altogether, let go of trying to know their experience, and simply walk your path! You will see that there is enough room in this universe for everyone to walk their own path, find their own happiness, dance their own dance. Including you.
Joy does not come from trying to walk another’s path, or from preventing another from walking their own path. It certainly does not come from trying to take away someone else’s happiness! Jealousy, when resisted and blindly acted upon, will hurt you and the ones around you, and will create further conflict and division. But once acknowledged, understood, embraced, and even loved, jealousy can serve to open up your heart even more, bringing you to a place of great humility, freed from that awful need to control everything and everyone around you.
Let jealousy serve as yet another ingenious invitation to Presence. Let it break your heart wide open in the here and now. Let it teach you humility and slowness. Let it remind you never to neglect yourself again. Know that you are never a victim, except in your own perception.