Jealousy isn't something we have much control over. In truth, it is a natural, instinctive emotion that everyone experiences at one point or another. -Lisa Firestone PhD
Last week I talked about processing emotions. But, I decided to create an entirely separate blogpost for Jealousy because it’s such a taboo topic in society. The steps are similar but there is shame that we need to process in addition to jealousy. So, strap on your seatbelt because we are going on a journey to better understand the green-eyed monster.
The green-eyed monster:
Most of your friends or family members will tell you that jealousy is evil and that it’s a sin. But, the truth is that most people are jealous at one point or another. Yet, they are not open about it. They pretend that they are ok with their lives when they actually aren’t.
In this digital age, people are sharing more than ever, yet we are also more disconnected than ever. This is because we share a highlight reel of our lives. We share things that will get other people to like us. And, we think that if we get a big house or a fast boat, people will love us. But, that house or that boat won’t get people to love us in the long run.
Why we are jealous:
-We don’t know what we want. So, we think that if we get that exciting thing that our co-worker has, people will love us too. In other words, we go for things that we don't even care about. Why? Because we are looking for love and acceptance, and NOT that specific thing.
-We also don’t understand each other’s struggles. So when someone goes on a dream vacation, we don’t see all the stressful work hours that person had to put in to get it. We don’t see the journey, only the result. And, that leaves a sour taste in our mouths.
What causes jealousy:
Not understanding another person’s struggles
Being unclear of what you TRULY need/want
Lack of support
Inability to ask for help
Why jealousy is OK:
Jealousy is a fear-based emotion. It signifies that there is something in your life that’s been missing for a long time. It’s most likely gotten to the point where you’re unclear about what you’re missing.
If you are feeling jealous right now, or if you’ve ever felt jealous, I want you to know that it is ok! That means that you’re HUMAN. You’re not a bad person for feeling what you feel.
All emotions are signals or messengers. And, guess what?! Angels are messengers too! So you could even say that your jealousy is your angel. Jealousy is telling you that something is off track.
A deeper dive:
Jealousy isn’t evil in itself. But people can act in evil ways when they are triggered by jealousy. So, if you are poor and haven’t found a way to earn money, you might be tempted to steal. But in stealing, you are not only stealing from another person, but you are stealing from yourself. You are stealing from the creative power that you have to cultivate wealth for yourself.
Jealousy can also leave you feeling helpless if you have experienced it for a long time. And, sometimes overcoming helplessness involves getting down on your knees and praying for a miracle. That’s the hardest place to be: when you have nothing left but to surrender to that greater power that pulls the tides or makes the planets spin. It’s a shameful place to be, especially as adults, because we are supposed to be competent enough to provide four ourselves. We aren’t “supposed” to ask for help. We are “supposed” to be helpful.
Now that we have gone through the muck, I’ll say that jealousy is a challenging emotion to process. But, if you are strong enough to surrender, you’ll be shown the way. However, you first have to get clear about what you really want. And, you have to surrender to something bigger than yourself to find it. In all honesty, I am not sure what this looks like for an atheist, but for me it’s God, aka “the creative energy that governs all of existence.”
How to process jealousy:
Get clear on what you want- What is jealousy telling you that you are missing? Is it love, wealth, health, safety, adventure, etc? Do things to untangle your thoughts so that you can figure out what you truly need or want. This could involve talking to safe people or doing activities to get you out of your thought spiral.
Tools/Strategies: meditate, exercise, therapy, counseling, accountability buddies, travel, explore, community service, temp jobs, etc.
Feel what comes up- This part can be very intense, so make sure to process in a safe place with safe people if needed. Emotions at this stage can be rage, anger, sadness, despair, etc. And, you might’ve repressed them for a while. So, what comes up can be very potent.
Make amends- Apologize for past mistakes. For people that you’ve offended or victimized, it’s helpful to know that you acted unloving because you were dealing with challenging emotions. Context and understanding will contribute to the other person’s healing.
Pray/Set Intentions- Ask for what you are seeking once you are in a neutral emotional state.
Ask for help and support- Seek safe and nonjudgemental people.
Surrender- Once you have done all the work, it is time to let go and let the universe work its magic. Be on the lookout for miracles.
*Repeat these steps as often as needed.
And, remember, society may shame you for feeling jealous but everyone feels it at one point or another. Jealousy is a very human emotion, and like all human emotions, you have the power to become free of it.
It may be a difficult journey for you, but it’s totally worth it! Because, there is bliss waiting for you on the other side!
Amor y canela,