How Jealousy Can Help You Steer Your Life
I called a friend that I’ve been leaning on a lot lately.
This time, she picked up and I leaned again. She listened, she laughed, she asked me compassionate questions. But when I asked her about her life, she hesitated.
“Honey, I know you’re way happy with your dude. I saw your Instagram post,” I teased her.
“Yea, everything is amazing. We talked timeline and milestones for our engagement last night. But listen,” she rushed, “I want you to tell me if me gushing makes you jealous. We don’t have to talk about it. I want to be here for you.”
Oh, love. That’s not how this gorgeous game of life is played. You see, I recently split with my partner, and my dear friend is trying to protect me from my own heartbreak.
And she’s right to be concerned: I did feel jealous. As I listened, I felt my heart squeeze. My “jealous” was showing up as a pang, an ache in the chest.
But our dark emotions, the ones society has deemed “negative” are road signs to our desire. We must learn how to ride this ocean of emotion like a surfer. Don’t be afraid of big waves like jealousy, because the heart squeeze is pointing to what I so deeply desire.
On this path of letting our internal compass guide us and speaking our truth, we must start by letting ourselves feel what we feel without judgement. If I can feel jealous without judgement and shame, it will pass.
1. Recognize when you feel jealous.
Most of us were taught to see emotions like envy as a “green-eyed monster.” These emotions come with a sick, heavy sense, and most of us also feel shame for being jealous. It’s a powerful cocktail that might have you feeling a mix of emotions you weren’t expecting. Anger. Guilt. Rage. Want. Neediness. The first step of detaching the experience of jealousy from that shame spiral is becoming more awake to noticing when it’s surfacing within you.
2. Ask yourself how jealousy manifests in your body.
If you’re new to allowing yourself to feel what you feel, then you’re going to want to spend time asking yourself where you feel these sensations in your body. You might not recognize what jealousy feels like because you’re trying to push it down or away or want it to get out. Perhaps, you find that you need air, have a desire to escape, or perhaps you’re are regularly used to forcing a smile on your face to say you’re fine. Notice what you get jealous about and how it feels in your body.
3. You’ve got to feel it to heal it.
I regularly attend a a breath class to practice breathing through emotions and sensations that I don’t always have specific words for. Can you breathe? Cry? Feel the tightness or the constricting and keep breathing? Don’t numb out, allow yourself to sit in the emotion and breathe through it.
4. Hack into the envy: what it is you really and truly want?
What exactly were you jealous about? The business opportunity? That relationship? Those shoes? Go a level deeper: what would it bring you that you actually desire? Most of our jealousy is the coat on top of what is inside of something we deeply desire. Peel back the layers to identify what your jealousy is telling you about what you most deeply want.
5. Declare specifically what you want
Now that you’re clear, you get to make a bold ask. The only way that our desires become fulfilled is by asking. Don’t be intimidated by the possibility that you might ask and still not like what you asked for. Or ask and not receive. That’s how we learn to discern what we actually want. If you ask and then you receive and you decide you don’t like, you ask again. In order to receive our desires, we have to proclaim them unapologetically. Without asking, it’s impossible to receive.
6. Bless it.
“If you judge someone else for anything great in their life, you will block the reception of whatever that is into your own. So celebrate it – take whatever envy you have and give it to God!” – Marianne Williamson
My jealousy cocktail wasn’t something that went away overnight. I still feel jealous on the regular. Now I practice identifying it, then laughing at myself usually, because I know that my jealous pangs or rages are pointing me to look at what I really want. Once I see it, I send some mental gratitude and blessings to the person or experience that crossed my path.
Remember, the jealousy that hits you in the pit of your stomach isn’t the full story you need to carry forward with you.
Jill Bolte Taylor shares in her book My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey, that it only takes 90 seconds for an emotion to move through the body. The reason why we feel our emotions for much longer is because our minds hold onto the story of how we interpret that feeling – where it comes from and why we have it.
Feel the jealous heart squeeze, breathe, then let it pass. Stay open to the desire you have that can determine your next move.
Jessica Leigh Lyons is a seeker & facilitator of joy with young professionals and one of Bossed Up’s featured Bootcamp Trainers. She is a Certified Life Coach through the International Coaching Academy and holds a masters degree in education from the University of Colorado, Denver as well as a bachelor of arts in international relations from the University of Delaware. With a decade of varied experience teaching & leading youth in a multitude of learning modalities, she has been coaching young professionals since 2013.