Tag Archive | Jealousy

How Do I Stop Comparing Myself to Other People?

Dear JoyDiva,

I’ve been trying to think lately how to stop comparing myself with other people. Its a pretty basic question, but at the same time its what has been ingrained in me for years- I was anorexic in the past, and that’s just the lens through which I saw my life. If I wasn’t better than someone (especially thinner), I was a failure. Now the weight is back, but the problem still tortures me at times. How do I stop comparing myself to others without completely over-inflating my self esteem? I don’t want to get to the place where I just assume I’m better than others to feel good about myself, or where I stop trying all together. I want to walk into a room, know I’m not the prettiest, smartest, “best” person there, and remain strong enough in who I am and who I’m not to be happy with the woman God made me to be. So yes, that would definitely be something I could use outside wisdom on!

Thanks for your help,

Confused

———————————————————————————————-

Dear Confused,

I write this response from both a personal and a professional place–I can say that you are not alone in this because I witness it on various levels in nearly everyone that I encounter as well as within myself. I also want to acknowledge you for the tremendous courage it takes to consciously overcome an eating disorder, and I hear that you bring great insight, compassion and self-awareness into this inquiry.

The ego part of ourselves, that part of us that seeks to “protect us” and “get us love” while thriving on our fear and sense of worthlessness is always what is active in situations of comparison. The ego part of us believes that we are all separate and that the only way to get love, to even be worthy of love in the first place, is to somehow be better, perfect, more flawless than everyone else. The more that we listen to that voice, the sooner we can find ourselves on a hamster wheel of self-destruction, never actually receiving the love that we so long for.

The way to begin breaking down those false barriers between you and others comes in doing the opposite of what your ego is telling you to do–you cannot choose your thoughts, but you can choose which ones that you believe and act on. So, you walk into a room and see a beautiful girl–your ego says, “The only way you can get love is to be the best, and she is clearly better than you.” Chances are when that happens that “pretty girl” is the last person that you really want to talk to, to understand, and/or be vulnerable with and it’s hard to imagine that she can relate to what you’re experiencing in her presence. In these moments, one of the best ways to break up the energy of comparison & to get to what is truly real, is to reach out in a spirit of friendship. Your ego wants to isolate, and your consciousness knows we are all connected–as you put it, all made by God, and in that way, all “of the same.” When you can reach out from a place of honesty and openness to those people who threaten you as well as those who your ego wants to make “less than,” you begin to discover the humanity that we all share, remind yourself of your compassionate nature, and discover how truly acceptable and worthy that you are. Love and kindness always break through the illusion of separation and remind us of our inherent magnificence. When your mind wants to go toward comparison, I invite you to seek the common ground–given that we are all human, chances are darn good that every person you’ve compared yourself with through the years has felt pain and is carrying his/her own wound, too. Woundedness and humanity is just sort of a package deal. Healing and humanity are a package deal, too–the more you share what is real about you and make room to seek and understand what is real within others, you’ll create beautiful opportunities to heal your and others’ hidden wounds.

My other invitation for you is to be kind with yourself when this happens–your thoughts do not make you a bad person. They simply make you…a person. You mentioned not wanting to build yourself up so that you see yourself as superior, which is an important insight, and like I mention above, would only feed your ego self and take away from your sense of well-being. With that said, I do want to encourage you to sit down from time to time and make a list of all that you love about yourself–not what makes you better than others, but rather what YOU and YOU ALONE love about who you are. Living from a place of openness and compassion means that you celebrate ALL of humanity, including yourself. You ARE a unique being–no one else on the planet is exactly like you. Each and every one of us is unique and has our own role to play. The more you remind yourself and celebrate your own uniqueness–regardless of whether or not you have others’ approval, the more you build up a well-spring of compassion in your own heart that will overflow to others.

As I write this I’m reminded of an anecdote from a client who was at one time struggling with a desire to be “special” or “greater than.” She went through an exercise that really shifted her understanding of her own unique “specialness.” At a spiritual retreat, she was led through a guided meditation in which she had to envision herself somewhere in nature. Her mind floated to an image of a giant redwood forest. The instructor then asked each participant to find what represents them in that place. My client’s ego voice immediately exclaimed in her mind, “I’m the giant redwood tree!” and yet following that exclamation, she heard a quieter voice that said, “No. You’re the soil.” Her ego voice responded, “Soil? Why would I want to be soil? What’s so great about soil?!” The quieter voice said, “The soil NURTURES the giant redwood trees.” And so she realized, she was indeed the soil. Understanding this has allowed her to own this gift and be the behind-the-scenes nurturer that truly brings her and those in relationship with her the most fulfillment.

It’s easy to see our talents and strengths as though they are “dirt” compared to other people’s, but as it turns out, we all have a unique role to play in this vast and beautiful universe in which we live. Keep opening up and sharing who you are. Keep befriending those that threaten you in one way or another. Keep exploring the uniqueness that exists within you and all who cross your path.

Thank you again for your honest sharing of yourself and for your wonderful insight–Your thoughtfulness is truly a gift.

With Much Love,

:)Melissa A.K.A. The JoyDiva

©2012 Melissa Simonson

What is the Source of My Jealousy & How Do I Make it Go Away?

Dearest Melissa,

For the past four months you’ve coached me through one of the most volatile periods of my life. Guided by your wisdom I’ve grown into a joyful woman filled with immeasurable energy and self-love. Discovering and solidifying my values has been magical and empowering, and my relationships—especially the all-important one with myself—are flourishing. What I’m trying to say is… Thank you! It’s been several weeks since we last connected, and I’ve discovered a very important and deeply-rooted issue that I’d like to explore with you. That issue is Jealousy.

Jealousy has been a persistent shadow in my life for as long as I can remember. Without the right tools to coax it out of my garden, I’ve had no choice but to watch it linger and sometimes flourish amongst the lovely things that I purposefully nurture. Jealousy has taken many forms throughout my life but most recently has manifested itself in a new relationship with a young man I’ll call “Roman.” We met on a road-trip and spent the following week of winter break in almost constant contact. I quickly became smitten with him. Naturally (for me), whenever he showed affection toward our female peers, I became green around the gills. This blood-boiling possessiveness is a loathsome feeling to hold in the body, and I often became upset with myself for not being able to control it.

Immediately after parting ways with Roman I happened upon a book by Susan Page titled “The 8 Essential Traits of Couples Who Thrive.” On the whole, I think the book is fabulous, but one section that particularly struck me was that on intimacy. Page asserts that one cannot give OR love themselves fully if they don’t know themselves fully. She says that the “inner self” is where we harbor our most private pleasures, dreams and insecurities. The deep, hidden realm where our wounds, self-doubt and fears live is called the “snake pit.” According to Page, the snake pit is something that we all must accept and face without fear if we are to love ourselves completely. I’m inclined to agree with Page, and am willing (if not eager) to being charming my jealous snakes, for if I don’t know them, I can’t love them.

Thankfully I am not wont to envy other’s looks, possessions, or status, but this issue is nonetheless quite serious. Melissa, what questions would you ask me to help discover the roots of my jealousy and start to slowly ease them out? What do you do when you feel jealous? Do you think it can ever be completely eradicated? If I am to have an intimate relationship with Roman I wish to harbor no jealous feelings, and I know it would make me a more joyful person overall if I could let go of the general jealousy I sense when others become close to my best friend. As always, any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Love,
It’s not easy being green

——————————————————————

Dear, “It’s not easy…”

Ah yes, the green-eyed monster. You feel it. I feel it. We’ve all felt it…and hated it, and felt terrible for feeling it. After going through an intense experience myself this past fall that brought up some major jealousy, I decided that it is one of the worst combinations of human emotions that one could experience. If you want to know a bit about some of that journey you can read about it here.

Jealousy happens because we experience a perceived threat to something we 1) believe we need, and 2) is outside of us, and 3) therefore, out of our control. Do I think it’s possible for us to fully eradicate jealousy? Yes, I do–jealousy and any other emotions that cause us pain come in response to attaching to thoughts that are untrue. With that said, be gentle with yourself and let your jealousy teach you rather than trying to resist it. In this case, as you found yourself falling for Roman (fun name, btw…:), it was these other ladies who shed a wonderful light on your own “snake pit” and suddenly there was the belief followed by the feeling that you have something to lose.

But answer me this: What do you REALLY have to lose? First of all, you’ve only just met Roman, and while I’m gathering that you’ve been mutually enjoying one another, you have only caught a glimpse of the surface of each other. Have fun with that, and know that it is YOU that you “lose” when you slip into the idea of “we” so quickly. This is what your jealously has so lovingly come to show you. You feel loathsome and out of control because you’re putting your focus in the direction of things that you will never be able to control. How does Roman feel about you? How does he feel about your female peers? Does he choose YOU? Can you trust him? Can you trust those girls not to take him away? Are you enough for him? These endless questions that start to float about amidst jealousy are none of your business–you will never be able perceive or affect the answers to these questions.

Here is what IS in your control: What does in mean for you to trust YOURSELF? What does it mean for you to be fully available to yourself, to never leave you, to make YOU feel cherished? What does it it mean for you to fully accept and approve of YOURSELF? These are all things that you can take care of yourself. THIS is your business, to choose yourself. In what ways were you beginning to compromise yourself in the context of this relationship? You will understand the wisdom of your jealousy by focusing in there.

When the jealousy comes on, allow yourself to take some space and fully feel it. It’s a great time to take a step back, take the focus away from relationships and remind yourself of all of the other kickass stuff you have going on in your life. You’re asking great questions and tapping into some great internal wisdom! Be gentle with yourself and know that you are growing in leaps and bounds. I’m honored to be a part of that. :)

As a final aside, as you continue to grow in your capacity to approve of and choose yourself first, you may find that you simply do not want to spend time with guys that freely share affection with other women–that’s ok to own. That doesn’t make those men WRONG, it just simply means that you prefer something else. It’s your party. You’ve already got the love. No need to contort yourself into uncomfortable positions for someone who approaches relationships differently.

Much Love,

:)Melissa A.K.A. The JoyDiva

©2012 Melissa Simonson