It is a feeling that can be really painful for those of us who are graced by its presence.
However, jealousy exists to get our attention and show us where we can improve. Jealousy can be a beautiful tool to show you what you are supposed to be doing or embodying.
If we keep this in mind, when it rears its ugly head inside of us we can make note of several things:
- Who is the object of jealousy? What is it about them you are jealous or envious of? Is it their abilities, money, possessions, etc.?
- How does your personal jealousy feel to you? How does in manifest in your life – a feeling in your body, finding yourself acting strange around them, or something more subtle?
- Why are you jealous of these things? Is it because you believe you don’t possess certain qualities or think you are worthy of possessing them?
- What areas in your life do these qualities cover? Is it business, personal life, physical looks, possessions, or social life?
- In what ways can you work on yourself in these areas to remind yourself you are, indeed, worthy of them yourself? Or in what ways can you work more diligently to improve in the areas you see others excelling in?
A common misunderstanding about jealousy is that it can crop up and leave us completely hopeless, as if the person we are feeling it toward has everything and we could never achieve or embody what they do. The point of this particular exercise in self-awareness is that the jealousy POINTS us in the direction of our current weakness. It shows us areas of ourselves that we may not have been aware of before.
Why would we want to spend any time paying attention to the weak parts of ourselves?
By paying attention to our jealousy, we uncover hidden belief systems that we hold about ourselves. This is crucial self-knowledge to have if we want to change these beliefs!
Armed with the knowledge of the weak aspects of ourselves, we can then go about healing them. The beliefs are no longer hidden.
We can take this knowledge, and manifest change.
For example, I met an amazing woman once who I was quite jealous of. She always looked shockingly beautiful, was amazingly successful in her business, and had her life together. She represented the person I wanted to be but felt I could not!
What I did instead of stewing in my jealousy and letting it eat me up inside (only to take it out on myself and others), I paid attention to the areas of my life that were lacking the stability and strength that she so glamorously displayed.
My relationships (at the time) were unstable and I felt noncommittal about many areas of my life. I felt I did not look put-together, and I certainly didn't feel it. I also felt that she had naturally what I had to work so hard for. Let me tell you - this is false thinking! While it is true to some degree that others can have easily (due to karma or strong self-confidence) things that do not come so easily for us, it is best to put that into perspective. How much of that have they actually worked hard for? How much of it just LOOKS easy? And if they truly are gifted in these areas, what areas are YOU gifted in and why?
I started realizing that her area of profession was a direction that I needed to go in my own career. I started working hard to develop and realize these attributes for myself. When I gave myself permission to own these traits and abilities, they started occurring!
I also realized that she spent a lot of time perfecting her image and a lot of energy on self-care. I did not. At the time, I did not respect my body enough to eat or drink in healthy ways. I also didn't feel excited when it came to presenting my image to the world, and I began to look at that in a new way. We should be able to feel pride in all aspects of our lives, from our looks, to our abilities, to our spiritual, social, and professional life.
There are also aspects of my life that I was jealous of others for past circumstances I can't change. In looking closer at it, I gained perspective on what I came here to do. It made me realize that certain circumstances were necessary in order to gain the experiences I've had, however positive or negative.
Anytime we look at our negative feelings with objectivity and self-examination, we improve ourselves. We are going INTO the feeling rather than around it; rather than hiding from it. We are working on ourselves by doing this, and that is sacred work that we all came here to remember to do.
Of course, we all need support sometimes in these "self-awareness spiritual endeavors" from friends and professional healers. Knowing what we want for ourselves is a crucial first step to enact change, and support can really help the process.
So, in the spirit of growth and self-awareness, follow your jealousy rather than hide from or deny it! It will point you in the direction of self-love.