In my last blog, we talked about the hidden gifts of envy, and I promised to share with you my thoughts on jealousy next time. Next time is here!
Jealousy is one of my least favorite feelings. It can bring out the worst in me. I also know it comes bearing gifts, when I remember to look for them.
Let’s clarify the difference between envy and jealousy. While both can be equally yucky, envy tells us what we want by pointing at what someone else has or is.
Jealousy is a bit different. Jealousy comes from a sense of feeling threatened, and there are usually three parties involved with jealousy. Here are some examples…
- Husband hires new assistant. You Facebook-stalked her and she is cute. You suddenly feel uneasy and worry about them spending so much time together at work.
- Best friend gets new guy, you hardly ever see her anymore, and when you do, he’s usually there, or she’s talking incessantly about him. You feel forgotten and unimportant in her life.
- Again, you find out that your dad and your sister got together for lunch. You’d sure like to have been invited. It’s always been like that, you’re certain he loves her more.
- Boyfriend has new job and he is head over heels in love with it. He eats, sleeps and breathes his work, you’ve never seen him so fired up. Except when he first fell in love with you. Would be nice if he was as passionate about you as he is about his job.
Get the idea? As you see in the last example, the three parties don’t even have to be all human. In fact, I’ve heard of (and maybe/maybe not, even personally felt) jealousy over a business, a pet, a car, sports, anything that feels like “there’s less/not enough fill-in the-blank for me.”
What is your fill-in-the-blank? What are you afraid of getting less of?
Could be time, attention, affection, validation, love… no matter what the details, here’s what jealousy really boils down to. Under the details, stories and reasons, there’s fear.
Jealousy is fear.
Fear of what? Losing who or what you love? Being forgotten? Change? Being unsafe? Being alone? Being unloved? All of the above? You decide. Investigate your jealousy.
And if you dig a little deeper, underneath the fear, you’ll find a core belief that is so common, so prevalent, yet most of us are barely aware of its existence.
The core belief is this: I am not enough.
Here’s a step-by-step process, to put into immediate practice, the next time you feel triggered with feelings of jealousy.
- Notice and name.“What is this yucky feeling? Why did I suddenly get bitchy and want to lash out? Oh… I’m feeling jealous.” Locate the feeling in your body. Notice the sensations… “Ah there it is. It feels like a rock in my chest. My face feels hot and my ears are prickly.”
- Open. “I know that jealousy is informative. Okay, I’ll open myself up to experiencing something different with this feeling. What gift do you have for me, jealousy?”
- Listen. Your jealousy wants to tell you something. Jealousy is fear. What are you afraid of? Identify your fear(s). Then, go deeper. Under the fear, what is a core belief that this fear is rooted in?
- Brainstorm. “What can I do today/this week/this month that will help ME feel safer, more grounded, that will plant me in my own enoughness?”
- Reach out. If you need to reach out to that person, be specific, own your shit and be direct. “When I hear you talk so much about your new friend, I’m finding myself feeling jealous. I know that’s mine, it’s rooted in a fear that maybe I’m not enough for you. I’m working on that fear, will you help me by reminding me of why you choose to be with me? Sometimes, it’s just really helpful to hear it.” Being direct with our desires and needs requires vulnerability, and it’s not the “easiest” thing to do, but on the other side is deeper intimacy.
- Do. Jealousy is rooted in a feeling of being unsafe. You are a safe place for every feeling. What can you do to feel safe? How can you be reassuring friend to yourself? Affirmations like “I am safe. I am enough.” “I will be okay, no matter what.” are helpful and simple and cost nothing to practice daily. Meditate. Talk to a friend. Stand barefoot in the grass to ground with the earth, make a list of all the brave things you’ve accomplished, because you’re capable, smart, you’re enough. Baby yourself. Wrap yourself in a warm blanket and put on sweet music. Nurture yourself.
You are enough. You are always enough. You have no idea how enough you are.
We so often rely on the outside world, external circumstances and other people for our sense of safety, when in actuality, we alone are the safest place.
Yes, we need each other. Yet, when we understand that we, ourselves, are enough, jealousy doesn’t have much power. We know that we are the most reliable, trustworthy, solid and steady sources of safety available, and that nothing can threaten that. Fears lose their charge, because we can trust ourselves to see us through anything.
We will be okay no matter what. Jealousy can lead us home, when we turn to it with tenderness and curiosity.
It can lead us to our enoughness. And returned to our enoughness, we come home, again and again.
So, next time you feel jealousy rearing its head, think this: Jealousy is an invitation to love myself better.