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“We tend to fight in others what we deny in ourselves” – Wendy Van Mieghem
Behind every emotion or feeling that brings us difficulty, there is a gate to inner wisdom, joy and fulfilment. This article is about the wisdom behind jealousy.
We all long to be nourished, loved, praised and appreciated for who we are and what we’re doing. Every human carries a treasure inside with an overload of qualities. Expressing ourselves through our qualities in who we are and what we truly need, will lead to the deepest satisfaction and joy we can experience in life. It leads us to be alive in the moment 100%.
It is our responsibility to become aware of our deepest and most true desires. After recognizing them in ourselves, we’re invited to express them in every possible way in order to shine. And it’s not that we don’t want that. But somewhere along the way, while getting to know ourselves and life, we tend to become entangled or distracted…
Every person who takes the effort to tune in to their inner being and to listen to what she or he needs, is a brave creature. For the place where we meet our deepest qualities and longings, is also the space where we meet our deepest fears. Fear of rejection, fear of loneliness, fear of death or loss, fear of mental or physical disease, fear of intense emotion. The process of finding a way and balance through this is what I call “inner growth“: to get to know and to learn to experience emotion on a deeper and deeper level, in order to become more conscious and aware of yourself and of life’s vast tapestry of experience.
To become aware and to allow instincts, emotions and feelings will lead you to the deepest possible fulfilment in life. At the same time, everywhere in this world, there’s nothing we find harder to do than this! We tend to walk away (or run away) from our feelings and to suppress or ignore our instincts and emotions.
We’re scared of change; scared of the physical and mental intensity of emotions; scared of emotional pain; scared to feel despair and the lack of control over ourselves and over our lives, when we allow our emotions to BE in the core of their depth. Perhaps we’re also afraid that the purity of our emotion could lead to destruction. So we put the less pleasant experiences away and clean them up, for as long as we can…
The world inside and the world outside are mirrors to each other. When we don’t want to know our own emotions and feelings, we’re unable to deal with the emotions and feelings of others. When someone shines and receives appreciation for expressing her qualities, we might begin to envy her. It hurts to see how somebody else is able to grow while we’re still struggling with ourselves and don’t quite know what to do with our lives.
Being jealous means that you’re afraid not to be able to have or to keep in your life what the other one seems to be experiencing right now. Often jealousy also touches our impatience and distrust. We feel envy and want to have what the other has NOW. Most of all, we would like to claim or demand it right away. At the same time, we lack the trust in ourselves that we’ll be able to get out of our life what we need. Or we just don’t know how to get there. Let’s clarify this with an example:
Mary is a beautiful young women in her mid-twenties. She’s in a relationship with George, who’s really fond of her. From time to time Mary feels intensely uncertain about herself. She’s afraid she’s not good enough for George and that he will leave her as soon as he’s found someone who’s much prettier than herself. Although George tries to reassure Mary how much he loves her for who she IS, this doesn’t help Mary to feel more secure.
While returning from the bathroom on a night out, Mary sees George is talking to a gorgeous young woman. They seem to be having fun together, for George is laughing about something the girl says. Mary feels instantly extremely jealous; she can’t stand the feeling that George seems to have a better time with that girl than she feels able to give to George. Mary immediately runs to George and pulls him away while snapping at the girl to back off. George is stunned, but walks along with her, leaving the young woman behind in shock.
So being jealous means we’re attracted to the bright light of the other, and at the same time we fail to trust ourselves that we’re able to shine bright in our own way. We have a fear-based belief that we need to possess or control that bright light in order for us to feel safe.
There is a destructive edge to jealousy
Every time we’re unable to take responsibility for our own jealousy, it brings along destruction. The emotion of jealousy creates a field of projection which is quite narrow. In jealousy we shrink the other, then we take them apart like a jackle on a piece of meat. After that, we attack our partner, because he dared to enjoy the conversation. His experience was out of our control. We could lose him. In that moment, we experience the possibility of the incredible pain of loss and rejection. To realise that we’re at risk of experiencing this pain is unbearable. Out of fear of the suggestion of rejection, we reject the other at once. And all of this is happening inside you while others don’t have a clue…
In jealousy, the escape from the suggestion of rejection means we tend to suppress, ridicule or destroy the quality or expression of the other. We find a certain amount of satisfaction in this destruction: “If I’m not able to get what I want, then certainly you won’t as well”. By expressing our urge to destroy, it becomes even harder to feel what we need in our life and to find our wisdom behind jealousy. We begin to destroy ourselves as well.
When you’re the one people are pointing their jealousy at, you might feel vulnerable. Often we’re not even aware of what the other is jealous about. We certainly don’t want to be at cause in inflicting such pain on another. The more intense someone’s jealousy, the sooner we tend to take the other into account and adjust our expressions. We do this out of fear of:
- (more) rejection
- (more) destruction
- not to fit in the group
Every adjustment you make to your own expression out of fear also brings in an aspect of destruction : you suppress your own sparkling nature. Out of self preservation, you sacrifice yourself. It might feel noble to do so, but in the end it’s fear-based self interest. Often we don’t realise that we’re paying a high ‘price’ for withdrawing our nature. When you adjust your expression out of fear on a regular basis, you isolate yourself and bit by bit, you lose contact with your unique way to inspiration and fulfilment. Everyone loses.
So there’s a destructive edge to jealousy. Hiding from jealous feelings, of yourself or someone else, does not protect you from destruction. It is counterproductive because it feeds destruction. The only constructive way to get beyond jealousy is to listen to the wisdom behind being jealous.
The wisdom behind jealousy
So you’re feeling jealous, somewhere on the sliding scale between just a little, to very intense and dominant. Apparently, someone else’s happiness, charisma or expression is triggering a deep desire in you! And by feeling jealous, you’re invited to the following challenge that is as simple as difficult: listen to yourself and learn to recognise and get the meaning of the desire that lies beneath your jealousy. Which aspect of the expression of the other is making you feel jealous? How would you have liked to have integrated this aspect into your daily life? And which steps do you need to make in order to get there?
To find your answers to these questions that are 100% right for you, totally in tune with your unique qualities and true desires, you need to give your time and attention to your inner feelings on a regular basis. Do this by bringing your attention inwards to feel how you’re doing at this moment. Answer to yourself the following questions: how do I feel right now? What aspects inside me are pulling my attention, both in a positive and a negative way? What is it that I need at this moment?
Write your answers to these questions down in a notebook, daily or twice a week. This will help to become more aware of how you’re doing and what it is you need in daily life to become more balanced, grounded and open. Another way to use your attention in a constructive way and become more aware is to meditate. Would you like to know more about what meditation can offer you? Click here.
When you’re able to find your answers to the questions above in the present moment, you may slide your attention slowly to deeper needs and desires in you. To avoid getting caught in your own fears, illusions or blind spots, I recommend you to book an individual session with a therapist or teacher in inner growth on a regular basis. It is pleasant and supporting to share your experiences and thoughts about your inner growth process with a professional: someone who has a deep understanding of healing processes and is experienced in dealing with intense emotions.
So what happened to Mary? The following day, George really had it with Mary’s insecurity. He made Mary clear that though he really loves her, he’s also fed up with the way she refuses to deal with her uncertainty issues and the pain it causes him and others. Mary understood his comment and went to see a therapist. She helped Mary to find her wisdom behind jealousy.
Mary discovered that her relationship with George was making her feel more secure in life than she ever felt before. But that his unconditional love also made her feel afraid. Afraid to lose Georges love and that inner secure feeling. Above that, Mary wasn’t sure she could love herself in the same unconditional way.
So the insecurity had nothing to do with George himself. Her therapist invited Mary to visualize or play with worse case scenarios, and to see how she would cope with them, including the positive end point. Doing so made Mary aware of her instincts, emotions and desires. It was a big relief to finally acknowledge them as being part of who she is. By experiencing her emotions consciously and listening to her true desires, step by step Mary found her gate to inner wisdom, joy and fulfilment.
In the end, Mary’s insecurity was about her being afraid to move to the next step in her inner growth process. Mary had always dreamt about starting her own shop; something she never dared to even think of actually doing before. Through the therapy sessions Mary learned to build a solid ground inside her, emotionally speaking. It made her feel secure in life, a security she wouldn’t lose. She realised it was time for her to express herself and her qualities more actively in daily life. She learned to trust on her intuition and instincts and moved to the next step. Now, five years later, Mary successfully runs her own boutique. O, and she’s happily married to George.
Whether you’re the one feeling jealous or the one being subject of jealousy (the difference is only a matter of time), I encourage you to continue to develop and express your qualities. You’re the best! There is no need to let the shame in being jealous destroy aspects of your freedom. What is needed is to find the right attitude towards yourself and others. Jealousy is a red flag from the depths of ourselves signalling an inner neglect. So discover what your jealousy says about YOU and find your wisdom behind jealousy.
Persist in your way to inner growth, excel in your qualities and be an overwhelming beautiful human being. By taking responsibility for who you are and enjoying your life to the fullest, you also become an example and inspiration to others in how they can get the best out of their life. And that’s enough.
Wendy Van Mieghem, psychotherapist, writer and healer