Jealousy is wanting something someone else has, and most of us suffer from it. We can envy someone else's looks, intelligence, success, wealth, mate or educational background. We can envy another's gifts, luck or health. We can even envy the love someone else has in his or her life or the admiration they receive from others. We can be jealous of anyone for whatever we think they have that we want.
Jealousy has impact, and it's destructive. Obviously it's a negative energy, and that alone can have an impact on the person against whom it is directed. In addition, jealousy can lead us to do mean things or withhold love or support from another.
But worst of all, jealousy is blocking our world from benefiting from all the incredible gifts available on the planet. First, it stands in the way of true mutual support. If I envy you, I won't wholeheartedly support you to have more of what I wish I had but feel I don't. This could reduce your effectiveness. Second, it also blocks us from getting our own needs met. If I see your value but feel jealous, I might be so resentful, I won't go to you for the help you could give me either.
Individuals, communities, races, nations all can experience jealousy and all can consciously or unconsciously undermine those who seem to have more of something. But the destructiveness of collective jealousy can go further. If my group -- race, gender, nation, ethnic group, class, club, whatever - resents the advantages of another, we might not try to learn something useful from those who are more developed in some way, and we might not let ourselves benefit from what they have for us all. At worst, we might develop seething resentments, which could even lead to war.
Of course, jealousy is based on survival fear. We're all afraid of not getting enough love or resources, and some of us have felt cheated from our past experiences or current circumstances as well. This fear is ego based and reinforced by our social attitudes and experience. We seem to have to compete with one another to get what WE can, and we feel we must have an edge to compete successfully. If all the clients go to you, none will come to me. If the money is going to her, it can't go to him.
This view is understandable but counter-productive. It's based on the theory that the pie is finite and I need to get my share or die. And while there is some reality to that observation, it doesn't take into account that the pie can grow if we support one another to function at our highest level and those resources could be divided in a way that supports the highest good of all.
At a time in our world's history when our survival and well being are threatened by severe climate change, addiction, stress and unhappiness, we cannot waste another moment envying those who have something to offer us or withholding support from those whose gifts could benefit our world. We must shift our intention from competing and tearing down those we envy to developing ourselves to be more like those we admire. We must shift from subtly diminishing the value of others to trumpeting their value so they can be known to all who might benefit from their offerings.
This month I invite you to shift from the fear-based reaction of envy and resentment and embrace a generosity of spirit that can save our world by raising up, not just those who are downtrodden, but those who are successful or brimming with gifts and love for our world.
Beth Green is an internationally known spiritual teacher and intuitive counselor, founder of The Stream Center for The New Spirituality and host of InsideOut, an internet radio program combining entertainment and enlightenment.
In September, Beth Green and The Stream are hosting two retreats that can help everyone overcome envy and jealousy and share their gifts freely! On September 13-14 Beth and The Stream are hosting "Creativity beyond Ego," a chance to experience true self-expression with a minimum of self-consciousness, jealousy, envy, pride, shame or any other misery our egos attach to our creativity. The two-day event will be hosted in Southern Oregon and available via video conferencing. The previous week, on September 6, The Stream and Beth Green are hosting a one-day women's retreat called "Healing Ourselves through Healing Others," a chance to discover our healing gifts and share them freely with others. The event will be hosted in North County San Diego and available via video conference. For more information on both events, visit http://bethgreen.org.