1. Claim your own stuff
I was working in a video-editing suite with two women. Both are mothers. Both have boys. They were talking about their relief about having boys, not girls. One of them said, “God I can’t stand girls. They’re mean. They’re jealous. They’re cruel. I don’t even like women. I’d rather be with men. Women are horrible.” On the one hand, it’s always good to know where you stand with someone. So, I guess I had that in my favor. But obviously, neither of them could see the irony of what they were saying. Ghandi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” AA says, “You spot it. You got it!” If you’re threatened by women, if you’re surrounded by jealousy and negativity, if your daughters are cruel, then the very best thing you can do is look within. The only place to begin shifting is inside of you. Stop wishing the outside were different. Start being the difference.
2. Stop trying to figure it out
Trying to “figure out why” can keep you stuck. “Why am I so jealous? Why am I so envious? Why can’t I be more like that guy who’s never jealous?” Those questions don’t serve the situation. Those questions are just your ego. Your ego doesn’t want you to face the actual feeling because it’s so unbearably uncomfortable. So it creates a smoke screen by asking why. This might make you feel even worse, but at least you’re not having to experience the feeling. Feeling bad is sometimes easier than feeling uncomfortable.
3. Go on a media diet
Every morning at the gym, I’m surrounded by women on the cross-trainers reading People, Self, Cosmo and Us. I don’t do these magazines. They weaken me. I can feel it. They don’t honor the soul. They don’t seek to uplift. In my posts about bulimia, I wrote about how the first healing step I took was to stop reading women’s magazines. I stand by that even today, especially when it comes to self-esteem and envy. I also recommend avoiding mainstream media period.
4. Ask yourself if you can allow this feeling
This is one of the steps of the Sedona method. When you’re having a jealousy episode, just ask yourself if you can allow it to be there. This one step alone will ease up on the shame and the discomfort. Even if the answer is “no,” then you’re at least acknowledging the feeling. Just keep sitting with it and asking, “Can I allow this to be here? What would happen if I just allowed this feeling to exist for a moment?” I’ve done this. It creates space. It shifts the resistance. It releases the shame. Then the jealous feelings have a chance to move and diffuse.
5. Find the humor
Once, after I performed on the main stage at a festival, I was standing in the crowd with my friend Steve Seskin. Steve had performed the same day as well. We were watching another act, and the crowd was going crazy. I looked at Steve, and I said, “Look at them. There they were cheering for me and acting like I was the best thing ever. Now they’ve moved on.” And Steve started laughing and he said, “It’s like a lover who’s now in bed with someone else making all the same groans and sounds as she made with me! And I wanna say, “Hey wait! I thought I was the one you loved!” (If you’ve ever seen Steve perform, you know how funny he can be with those kinds of exclamations.) Sometimes it’s good just to laugh at these things. It’s kind of funny. Anne Lamott wrote a fantastic essay on jealousy in her book Bird by Bird. It’s perfect, and funny, and so real. You don’t have to take it all so seriously.
6. Ask friends not to agree with you
My belief is that the worst thing a friend can do is to meet you at the level of your jealousy. Agreeing with you that the envied person is, in fact, an undeserving bitch. Or even saying, “Well you’re better than her anyway.” These things don’t heal. They keep you stuck at that level. If you need to talk with someone, then first ask that person to listen and not go there. Or better yet, call someone you know won’t go there. It can feel really nice to have someone bolster you up and tell you that you’re better than so-and-so and that you deserved it more. But it doesn’t clear the emotion. You need to be listened to so that you can move beyond the feelings, not so that you can feel vindicated.
7. Be creative
The best remedy for any negativity, comparison, jealousy or envy is just to get creative. Write your next blog. Paint your next picture. Play guitar. Do something that makes you proactive. Get out of the reactivity. Creativity is a powerful place. And it shifts everything.
8 – Are you tired, overwhelmed, or hungry?
Being tired or hungry can make you more vulnerable to old patterns. I added the word “overwhelm” to the mix because jealousy can often come up in situations where there’s too much going on and you can’t find your center. Any of these kinds of very physical situations can bring on an episode. Take a nap. Get a good night’s sleep. Eat when you’re hungry. Move away from the overwhelm and get quiet. These are very real things. Especially if you’re an artist or creative type.
9 – Get quiet and centered
Sit still. Be quiet. And just feel the feeling without the story. Feel where the jealousy resides inside of you. Feel the envy without the story of the envy. If you can sit and breathe long enough, then it will pass. I promise. Eckhart Tolle’s book A New Earth is an excellent read when it comes to letting go of the story. So is Byron Katie’s new book A Thousand Names for Joy.
10 – The enneagram
If jealousy and envy are patterns for you, then I would highly recommend looking into the enneagram. Many artists and creative types are the number 4 on the enneagram. The 4 also faces a lot of issues with envy. Just reading about the pattern, and learning to witness it as just that – a pattern – can liberate you in ways that you can’t imagine. The best book on the enneagram is The Wisdom of the Enneagram by Don Riso and Russ Hudson. I can’t recommend this highly enough.
11 – Mastery
Whatever career path you’re on, you have the choice to become a master. Not necessarily of the career or the craft or the art. But of you. That’s what keeps me going. If you want to reach, inspire, help, encourage, heal in any way, most likely it’s going to require that you face your own demons in that process. If jealousy comes up, then it’s a teacher for you. That’s all. Let it be. That’s where your biggest treasures will be.
12 – Remember to focus on where you want to be
Don’t forget the power of intent. Just remember that this is not where you want to be. State out loud, even in your jealousy, “I ultimately want to rejoice in the success and good fortunes of others. I want to be clear and happy. I want to celebrate all victories.” Just knowing that you want this will start you on your way, even if you’re not there yet.