Hey, Jealousy


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.

  1. 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.”
  2. 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?”
  3. 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?
  4. 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?”
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

Jealousy & envy come bearing gifts… No, really, they do.


“I know I should be happy for her, but I secretly feel green with envy.”

“I really do trust him, and I know I’m not supposed to feel jealous, but I do…”

“I’m trying not to feel jealous, because she’s my friend, but I can’t help it…”

These are things I’ve heard friends and clients say, and yeah, things I’ve thought or felt myself. Until I learned how to interact with jealousy and envy in a completely new way.

Maybe you’ve had moments like this…

… You’re on the elevator on the way up to your office, having a good hair day, minding your own business, feeling pretty good about the dress you’re wearing, when the elevator stops, and in walks a perfectly beautiful, put-together, poised woman, looking dazzling, and suddenly you feel deflated. You suddenly feel frumpy and plain, and you wish you could feel as confident and look as perfect.

… Your friend’s business has taken off in big ways, she just published her book, AND she has more clients than she can handle. You smile and congratulate her over a celebratory lunch, yet secretly you find yourself thinking “Why does she get all the breaks while I still struggle, year after year?”

… You’re trying to be a good friend, but as you spin your wheels trying to lose weight, your bestie is posting her impressive before and after pics, and dropping sizes like they’re hot. You find yourself harboring some resentment, and then resenting yourself for being such a shitty person. After all, envy is a deadly sin, and she’s your bestie, better than the restie, for goodness sake.

… You’re at dinner with some friends you introduced recently, and you find out over appetizers that they recently got together for drinks, without you! While you knew, and even hoped, they’d love each other, you didn’t expect to get left in the dust of their rapidly deepening bond.

While the words “envy” and “jealousy” are often used interchangeably, there is a distinction.

Envy is defined as the feeling of wanting what someone has. Jealousy is more territorial, and requires three parties, like you, your husband and his hot new assistant, or you, your best friend and her new boyfriend that takes up all her time now, or you, your dad and your younger sister, who he always loved more.

If the feelings themselves didn’t feel crappy enough, quite often, envy and jealousy bring with them another layer of crappy feelings, our feelings about the feelings, because we are judging our feelings and making ourselves feel bad about having them.

We “shouldn’t” feel this way, so we feel guilty and wrong and ashamed. It’s messy and yucky, and yet, if we peel away these layers of emotion, we can find some really deep wisdom and sparkling information. And we can grow.

Wanna know how? Let’s talk about envy first.

Part One: Envy

Next time you notice yourself having that twisty, prickly, uncomfortable feeling of envy, for example, your best friend just got another promotion, while you remain stuck in the same dead-end job, follow these steps…

  1. Notice and name. “What is this yucky feeling? Why did I suddenly get crabby after she shared her great news? Oh… I’m feeling envious.”
  2. Open. “I know that envy is informative and Lisa said it comes bearing gifts. Alright. I’ll open myself up to experiencing something different with this feeling. What gift do you have for me, envy?”
  3. Imagine. What do you imagine the object of your envy is feeling? “I imagine my friend feels proud, accomplished, successful with her new promotion.”
  4. Listen. Your envy wants to tell you something: Envy is wisdom, pointing you in the direction of your own unmet desired feelings. It’s not as much about what we want as it about what we want to feel. “Ahhh… yes. I want to feel proud, accomplished, successful, too.”
  5. Brainstorm. “What can I do today/this week/this month that will help ME feel proud, accomplished, successful? I can finally clean out my closet and donate a couple bags of clothes to charity. I’ll catch up on some bills. I can apply for that new position I’m lusting after at work.”
  6. DO. Do a few of those things and notice the rising feelings of pride, accomplishment and success in you. They’re yours to feel too, and they’re what you really wanted. Envy told you so.

Once you realize the feeling of envy is really just pointing back at your own unmet desire, and even more specifically, what you want to feel, your attention shifts away from your friend with the promotion, and turns toward you, your needs, your desires. Then you can choose to take some action to focus on cultivating what it is you want to feel.

That’s how envy is informative, that’s how you transform the feeling of envy, that’s how you receive its gifts.

Next week, we’ll dig into jealousy and discover what gifts it has for you.

In the meantime, let me know how you’ve used this process and what wisdom was on the other side, waiting for your discovery.

To be continued…