How Jealousy Can Help Us Grow
We learn early on in life to compare ourselves to one another. As children, we compare our toys, our height, our test scores, our clothes. As we get older, we compare our jobs, our relationships, our lifestyles, and a hundred other things. With the rise of social media, it is easier than ever to look at someone’s life and compare it to our own. It’s a natural impulse. We want to make sure that we are measuring up to the people around us. And while healthy competition is one thing, it is quite another to lend our energy towards jealousy.
Jealousy is a step beyond realizing that we have a lack in our life – it is the pain of realizing someone else has something that we don’t. It can give rise to negative thoughts and emotions, like believing there is something wrong with us, that we aren’t good enough, or hoping to see other people fail so that we feel better about ourselves. All of these thoughts pull us away from each other and away from the Creator. But jealousy also presents us with a powerful opportunity to transform ourselves for the better.
Jealousy is rooted in a desire to grow. When we see a lack in our lives, we recognize that we are a long way off from where we would like to be. That desire is an important tool in our development, because without it, we would never be motivated to push ourselves forward. It is our ego that twists that positive desire into jealousy. Our ego looks at our own lack, compares it to what other people have, and then tells us, “How come they have what I don’t? I deserve that. That isn’t fair!” Our ego can also tell us the flip side of the same coin, “I want what they have. I guess I don’t deserve it. I’m not good enough. I’ll never have what they have.”
What our ego fails to take into account is that every person has a unique journey with his or her own set of obstacles. While a high-powered job may have come easily to one person, they may find it a challenge to meet their soul mate or have meaningful connections with people. Meanwhile, for someone who has found the love of their life, they may have a tough time in the business world. It is all too easy to see the outward appearance of a person’s life and to judge it as perfect, never knowing the battle scars or the private inner wars they wage each and every day of their lives. The truth is, we are all fighting our own unique battle, and the challenges we face are tailor made to help us develop and grow in the exact ways we are meant to.
Likewise, it is easy to overlook the hard work that goes into achieving such success. Our ego tries to convince us that we should have what other people have without earning it, and if we don’t, it isn’t fair or there is something wrong with us. We often don’t see the tremendous physical or spiritual effort another put into their success. The universe wants to give us all of the blessings we desire, but they are not going to be handed to us without effort. In order to receive these blessings, we must put in the work, both physically and spiritually. Part of that work is being happy for others’ good fortune while continuing to work towards our own. When we see someone’s success, instead of getting down on ourselves, we can use it as inspiration to work harder. Instead of hoping the other person fails, we can try to learn from their success. We can choose to use jealousy as motivation to grow.
The ego will always attempt to trick us into separating from each other. It will try to show us how we are different, making us believe that we are better or worse than someone else. But tearing ourselves or other people down only pulls us further away from the blessings that are meant to be ours. The more that we push ourselves to find joy in other people’s happiness, the closer we grow to each other and to the Creator. This, in turn, reveals the Light that will help us to manifest the blessings that we seek.