I titled this blog “green-eyed friend” because, in my mind, the traditional “green-eyed monster” sounds scary and intimidating. When I hear the word jealousy, I immediately want to recoil from the word and the sensations it conjures up inside my body. My body literally contracts. “Oh no, I never feel jealous. That’s not ME!” Any emotion that arises within you that you particularly want to push away, not acknowledge or feel, is probably one that needs to be befriended and felt so that the emotion doesn’t have a “hold” on you. It is like in the Rumi poem, *”The Guest House,” when he speaks of welcoming ALL emotions and writes,
“Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.”
So, labeling jealously as the “green-eyed friend” is my way of welcoming jealousy when the feeling comes to visit and see what lesson needs to be learned.
I don’t remember the first time I felt jealous but it was probably when I was younger and it was probably over a toy or the size of the piece of cake that my sister got. Not to give my mom an “out,” but that may be part of the reason why she dressed my sister and me up in the same clothes and got us matching haircuts. I sometimes wonder if she received a two for one discount on haircuts! Ha!
I felt inspired to write about jealousy after listening to a radio program called Safe Space hosted by Dr. Ann Hallward on WMPG. A REALLY great program! A couple of weeks ago the topic was jealousy. It got my wheels turning about doing some self-inquiry on how I feel when jealousy arises within me. I came to realize that jealousy is a label that I use to mask other emotions. I thought of an example when jealousy came up for me during my *Nonviolent communication (NVC) studies.
In NVC there is a formula: OFNR
You make an Observation. This is a nonjudgmental account of the situation. You then connect to you your Feelings. Then connect the feelings to what Needs are wanting to be nurtured. Finally, you make a Request of either yourself or the other person.
I first made a rash judgment which involved jealousy arising within me: My friend is more creative than me! Humph!
I then took my NVC tools to find out what is really coming up for me.
My Observation: My friend drew 3 pieces of art this weekend.
I was Feeling: discouraged, disappointed, frustrated, depressed, upset.
The Needs that came up were: the need for accomplishment, learning, and growth, creativity, play, and inspiration.
I then asked myself, “What strategies can I use to nurture these needs that came up for me?”
The Request I made of myself: Would I be willing to take at least 3 hours a week and dedicate them to doing something creative that I enjoy? If you are wondering, I said “Yes!”
I realized that the jealousy I was feeling was because I saw my friend using her time being creative and doing something she really enjoyed, that I too have the beautiful need for creativity living inside of me! I also recognized that there were other feelings behind the jealousy. One being shame because I was feeling jealous of someone that I cared about. The green-eyed friend that reared its head, gave me an opportunity to discover within myself something that needed some attention in order to create balance in my life.
In writing about this, I did some thinking about other times when I have felt jealous. I discovered, that in many cases, what I was really feeling was worried, scared, loneliness and restlessness. All of these are fear-based emotions that take the focus away from one living in the moment. At times too, there was a sense of competition. I was wanting something that someone else had or thinking that they are better in some way or another. This is simply not true! I believe that no one person is better than another and that we are all connected as human beings. Each of us has a unique gift to offer the world which unfolds in divine perfect timing. By loving and accepting yourself and living in the moment, this awareness begins to unveil itself.
In thinking about competition, a memory popped into my wonderfully crazy mind. I am sharing this story to point out a great example of competition, not that whoever you may feel jealous toward, thinks they are better than you. Remember Dr. Seuss’ The Sneetches?! The Star-Bellies?! Some Sneetches had stars on their bellies and others did not. The ones with the star thought they were better than the plain-bellied Sneetches, who were feeling distraught. Well….
Along comes a man with a super machine,
offering stars to Sneetches without,
for just a little green.
They get all excited to fit in, dancing with glee.
The original Star-Bellies get upset, saying “WHAT ABOUT WE?!”
Thinking they are no longer special,
they pay the man to take the stars off of their vessels.
And so it goes, around and around
until all of the Sneetchs’ are dizzy and astound!
For all their money has been taken away
and they are now quite shaken, feeling led astray.
None know who is who, and which is best,
The man left town, they are put to the test.
The Sneetchs soon realize that they are all the same inside.
Star or no star, let love be their guide!
If the feelings of jealousy arise in your heart,
feel those emotions and then let them depart.
Remember too, life is NOT a competition,
open your heart and let LOVE be the emission!
Whether the green-eyed “friend” or another fear based emotion such as anger, worry, or doubt arise, take a moment to breathe. Breathe into the area of your body where you are feeling the emotion and welcome the learning opportunity your friend has brought to your door. I LOVE what my NVC teacher, Peggy Smith, once said: “Feelings are labels for the sensations in our body.” Remember that they are ever-changing energy in motion. Sit with your breath, give gratitude and relax into those sensations. Find some compassion and love for yourself. And if you find yourself competing in your mind with a brother, remember the Sneetches and love one another!
♥LOVE AND LIGHT
*The Guest House: http://www.gratefulness.org/poetry/guest_house.htm
* If you would like to learn more about Nonviolent Communication, you can check it out here: http://www.cnvc.org/
Dr. Seuss, The Sneetches: