I sat across from my girlfriend, drinks in hand, listening to her good news. No, GREAT news! And I was - am - so incredibly over-the-moon-happy for her! And yet, I could feel myself pulling back, wanting to find a flaw. Why?
It took me only seconds to identify the feeling as jealousy. WTF? Why? Not me! So of course I had to go down a rabbit hole of self examination, because this was the opposite of how I wanted to feel. How I should feel.
Why do we get jealous, especially of those we love? Jealous when someone achieves something which does not take away from ourselves?
I fundamentally believe in an abundant world; that there is more than enough for everyone. Another’s success, does not keep me from winning. I know this deeply.
So why was I jealous? What was I really feeling? Well, that would be inferior. Insecure. Less-than. Not good enough. Undeserving. I was feeling that because I didn’t have this one thing, I wasn’t worthy of ever having it.
I don’t think I have to call out how dumb this is, right? Yet we all do this. We want things others have - a desire so old there’s a commandment for it. Maybe the wanting is motivating, but the self-destruction in the process is all kinds of wrong.
So what do we do? We recognize it and choose again. Breathe. Forgive ourselves for the misdirected moment and remember that another’s triumph is separate for our feelings about ourselves. Breathe more. Celebrate with and for others. Build up, don’t tear down. And a little self love wouldn’t hurt.
The next morning I identified one more feeling: I must really want that thing. I don’t think I knew that about myself. Even better, I could have it. It’s available to me. There’s more where that came from. And so I’m back to being effortlessly thrilled for her and it’s so easy. Meanwhile, I think I’ll go get me some of that.