Printed in the Conscious Creation Journal
The Gift of Jealousy
by Joanne Rodasta Wilshin
“Desire is possibility seeking expression.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Jealousy is wrongly considered one of the seven deadly sins. For centuries, humanity has been admonished to not fall prey to envy because of the havoc and pain it can cause. History abounds with jealousy-inspired scenes of war, cut-throat alliances, and backstage intrigues that have twisted the path of fate.
But does jealousy deserve the “green-eyed monster” moniker it has held for so long? Could jealousy really be something useful for the good of yourself and people in general? Can it be true that jealousy has just been misunderstood all these years?
Science has taught us that life is a near-perfect system, and that each living thing essentially has what it needs to survive and prosper. Taken to a personal level, this means that all your parts serve a practical purpose. Eyelashes, fingernails, sinus cavities, and heel calluses. Everything has a purpose. Even emotions. Even jealousy.
So how is jealousy helpful?
Jealousy is one of the helpful red lights on the dashboard of your life. When your jealousy light goes on, it means that you are looking right at or thinking about something that is missing in your life. And, because it is a dashboard indicator, it won’t go off until your life has this thing it wants.
Taking the metaphor a step further, if you don’t get that something into your life, you are not going to get where you’re supposed to go on your life’s journey. The jealousy light means you are supposed to have the thing or experience that makes you so jealous! You are supposed to have true love, a pleasant home, respect and praise, happy family and friends, and whatever success or experience you crave.
Unfortunately, most of us have been trained to ignore our jealous feelings, and in so doing, we inadvertently disregard a very important need within ourselves.
The elegant value of jealousy is that it tells you what you really want and are supposed to have, even when you may not be aware of it. The next time you feel even mildly jealous of someone, ask yourself what that person has that you want. You might be surprised.
This, of course, is not about taking something away from someone else. It is, instead, a way to get a clearer picture of what your life is supposed to look like.
“Just remember that what you are jealous of is what you are supposed to have.”
Jill Hinders, an elementary school teacher and budding playwright from Southern California noticed her jealousy whenever she watched the Academy Awards. “I always felt so green-eyed when the documentary and shorts winners were up,” she said. “I’d try to ignore how I felt until it dawned on me that they were doing what I wanted to do.”
Jealousy is not just a simple wanting. It is wanting with fear attached. Jill’s jealousy showed that she both wanted to make films and plays and that she also feared that she wouldn’t be able to. If she knew and believed she could make films and plays, the jealousy would not be there.
“It’s true,” confessed Jill. “Sometimes my friends have what I want, but I’m not jealous of them because I know I’m going to have it for myself.”
When Jill agreed to see her jealousy as a fear, she made an important discovery. “The moment I acknowledged that I feared that no one would ever read my plays or see my films,” she said, “I knew that my life was being driven by fear.”
This is because jealousy shows you what you want but that you also believe on some level you cannot have. Likewise, when you are not jealous of someone, you either don’t want what he has, or you want it and believe you can have it.
How can you get to the same point Jill got with her jealousy?
The remedy has two parts:
First, acknowledge what the jealousy is saying. You might say to yourself: I am jealous of ______________ because I want _______________________ but I fear I can’t have it because _______________________. Don’t judge yourself or your desires. Take plenty of space to fell in all your wants and fears.
The second step is to say to yourself: I want _______________________ and I have it because _______________________.
Then actually see and feel yourself having this thing you want so much. And know there is a divine reason you want it. If it doesn’t feel terrific when you do this visualization, then you are not giving yourself all that you want. Make it look just the way you want to experience it.
“At first,” said Jill, “I thought I wanted to win an Academy Award, but when I really got down to it, I realized that I wanted to make films and plays to teach people about life. That’s what I really, deeply wanted.”
Visualizing your deeply desired experience does two things. First, it gives your ego the idea that you can have this thing you want. You want to have your ego believing the same thing your conscious mind believes; otherwise it will sabotage you.
Second, your mind tries to give you what you ask for. According to Eric Jensen, author of Students Success Secrets, “Your mind is a goal-directed organ. Give it a goal, and it wants to reach it.” Seeing what you want gives your mind the goal it needs to take you there.
Really go after this thing you want. Summon courage and creativity. Jill says that she loves and often relies on French author Anais Nin’s line: “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” Just remember that what you are jealous of is what you are supposed to have.
Also notice times when you are cynical or sarcastic. When you think or say something like “That’ll be the day,” or “Who cares?” know that you are really feeling jealous and fearful. Ask yourself the same question: What does that person have that I want? It may only be a little part of what you see, but it is still an important part for you to be aware of. “Watch what people are cynical about,” warns Harry Emerson Fosdick, “and one can often discover what they lack, and subconsciously, beneath their touchy condescension, deeply wish they had.”
Paying attention to your jealousy is also about doing God’s work. You want certain things in life for the good of us all. Knowing what they are so you can achieve them furthers your happiness and expresses the wonder of who you are. When you are happy, people around you are happy.
Joanne Rodasta Wilshin wrote Take a Moment and Create Your Life! (available through Amazon.com) and facilitates the Create Your Life! Workshops.
©2002, Joanne Rodasta Wilshin. All Rights Reserved. Printed in the Conscious Creation Journal. (Feel free to duplicate this article for personal use – please include this copyright notice and the URL.) http://www.consciouscreation.com