A while ago I realized that — somewhat more often than I’d like to admit — I was having what we at BEabove call a “below the line” automatic response to other people’s good fortune. In other words, I was flat out envious when I heard someone got a great book deal, or a lucrative project, or launched a juicy new program. To be fair to myself, not always, but enough that I had to take notice. Even when I recovered and (usually) took the high road, that little nag was there saying “why them and not me?”
So I set an intention to manage this in myself. To eradicate that reaction and become one of those people who are nothing but thrilled when good things happen to anyone, no matter what, no matter whom. Not an easy task.
I’ve known that envy points us to desire. In other words, what I am jealous of shows me it is something I want for myself, something I want to know, have or be. And in truth, I used to be a TON more envious than I am now, and I think this is because I buckled down, focused and took my own life more seriously. Those things I wanted to be, I’ve largely become (except having the perfect yoga body, which I envy when I see it but have never actually attempted to achieve myself!) and this has assuaged much of my professional envy. Still, at times, as I mentioned above, it is there. And beating myself up for those feelings does not seem to be particularly effective.
But here is what I am noticing may be. Love. That’s it. Once again, we’re back to the simplest–and most complex–answer of all. Let me explain. I’m noticing that when my heart is truly open to another, when I love and adore them as completely as I can, there is no envy to suppress or deal with. It just isn’t there. For example, when a dear colleague recently published a book that went almost straight to the best-seller list on Amazon, I noticed I didn’t have a twinge. This was interesting, and I have been examining envy so closely that I had to ponder why. All I could come up with is that I appreciate and value her so much that this pushed out the envy. The more I love, the less I envy.
I think it’s obvious, but I’m not talking about romantic love here, or any sort of object-focused love. I’m talking about cultivating a loving and peaceful heart because it’s who I want to be, not because there is something or someone I want to get or have. Increasing my capacity to love all people and events in my life unconditionally. And interestingly, the closer I get to this with any given person, the less I envy their success.
So here’s what I am learning from my investigation into envy. Do my own work, till my own field, and when I feel envy, maybe just try to amp up the love rather than wrestle what the poets call “the green-eyed monster.” I just don’t think it can thrive in the sunshine of appreciation and respect.