Without judging yourself, I would like you to recall the last time that you felt jealous of someone or a situation and then I invite you to ponder what was the reason for your envy. You probably felt as though you were betraying your pride. Well, what if I told you that jealousy is not entirely negative because our envious sentiments provide clues to guide our self development. I believe that the context of our jealousy reveals an abandoned aspect of ourselves, therefore our envy merely reflects our subconscious desire to reconnect with those qualities within ourselves.
Love All That You Are.
The characteristics that we envy in others represent traits that we once embodied effortlessly when we loved ourselves unconditionally as young children. We gradually choose to conceal these aspects of ourselves to be accepted by others, preferring to adopt the behaviors that are validated by others. This means that experiencing frequent jealousy suggests that we are not embracing our authentic nature and must nurture more self love to celebrate all aspects of ourselves. In the past, I was primarily jealous of women who were not attention seekers, yet their genuinely kind, reserved and self-assured nature still garnered much admiration from others. During such moments of envy, I did not correlate that those attributes matched my natural demeanor as a youth. I was an incredibly shy child who opted to be the observer, hence being more reserved was my internal setting for inner peace and my subconscious reference of authenticity. A growing desire to be noticed and admired during my adolescence led to adopting a louder and a more attention seeking disposition. Having a kinder outlook towards myself when I felt unnoticed would have enabled me to feel internally validated in embodying my reserved personality. Instead, I felt jealous seeing women who seemed comfortable in showcasing a reserved nature because it suggested that they had a more accepting and liberated relationship with themselves than I did. I was implicitly projecting a positive, yet hidden component of myself onto them and my envy was a subconscious acknowledgement that if I wanted to rekindle that aspect of myself, I would need to enhance my own sense of self acceptance. Consider another example of a naturally outspoken and vibrant friend of mine who purposely adopted a more mild-mannered temperament around a guy that she was interested in. She immediately felt jealous when she spotted him at a party enjoying the company of another boisterous and outgoing girl. Our jealousy indirectly signals a regret for not loving ourselves enough to embrace all of who we are.
Expectation Let Down.
The aspect of ourselves that is mirrored in the occasions that cause jealousy is typically opposite to the expectation(s) that we adopted in place of those characteristic(s). For example, if you have become attached to ‘certainty’ then you may become jealous of others who display the spontaneity you once had when you felt a greater capacity of self trust. Similarly, seeing boldness in another person may produce jealousy in someone who is attached to perfection because their desire not to be perceived as flawless diminishes their sense of self compassion, which fosters a fear of critique. Jealousy reveals how the expectations, which we have adopted to experience greater social contentment are potentially not as fulfilling as anticipated. These incidents force us to recognize how others who aren’t attached to our expectations are experiencing the exact personal rewards that we hoped to garner from our expectations. A girlfriend of mine expressed feeling jealous of a neighbor’s financial freedom upon noting the neighbor’s lavish landscaping projects in their yard. I asked her to associate the neighbor’s “spending” with a specific trait to encourage her to view her jealousy as a positive projection of herself onto her neighbor. She interpreted the neighbor’s financial freedom as being ‘hardworking’ and before finishing the sentence she admitted that was a quality, which described her former self. This is my friend who is often described as a natural born hustler but sacrificed her innate drive for entrepreneurship in exchange for security after having children. The incidents that make us jealous are merely reminding us that we do not have to entirely abandon certain aspects of ourselves to be happier. The subtle discomfort of jealousy highlights the expectations that we must release to wholly accept ourselves and authentically embody the qualities that we covet in others. So, consider your next incident of jealousy as a cue that you too could experience whatever you envied in another person if you cared less about being a “certain” way and more about being yourself.
Be More You.
It turns out that extended periods of socializing were previously exhausting for me because I didn’t periodically embrace my reserved side in the company of others. Practicing greater self awareness has led to detaching my worth from external validation and experiencing greater inner peace without “showcasing” myself in public settings. Rather, I recently encountered a lady who was the archetype of whom I would have previously envied and I ironically felt a strong liking towards her. Embracing those neglected aspects of ourselves leads to internalizing our expectations within ourselves, such that we no longer feel jealous seeing those characteristics in others. When we are denying certain aspects of ourselves to be accepted by others then we are unconsciously expecting others and circumstances to make us happy. But having to the courage to detach our happiness from our expectations fosters true self love and offers the genuine contentment we were erroneously seeking through our expectations. For example, if one could accept themselves when they are not in control, then they’ll nurture greater flexibility and patience and feel more “in control” and experience less frustration amidst disorder. Similarly, if a person can accept themselves within the prospect of not being perfect, they will experience greater self compassion, enabling them not to fear judgement during moments of imperfection and become more daring. Jealousy reveals an aspect of ourselves that needs more of our positive attention, so I want you to ponder that your current attachment to being a certain way is opposite of your true nature. That’s because your authentic self once internalized those expectations as natural to who you are and didn’t need to seek or prove it externally to be happy. Challenge yourself to allow the neglected parts of your true nature to shine a little more everyday and have the courage to let the image of who you want to be take a little breather. If you currently always feel the need to prove that you’re right, then this is likely not your true nature. Rather, once upon a time, your authentic self didn’t care what others thought and ‘understood’ your truth without seeking the consensus of others. Therefore, I encourage you to let your “understanding” side shine a little more every now and then. Our gifts, talents and passion reside with your true nature, so we cannot discover our true magic until we love ourselves enough to embrace the entirety of who we are.
INI ANANA IS AN ASPIRING LIFE AND SELF DEVELOPMENT COACH IN EDMONTON, AB. LIKE STEEPING JOY ON FACEBOOK FOR MORE SELF DEVELOPMENT INSIGHTS.