Did you ever find yourself feeling jealous of others or coveting what they have? Sometimes it seems others simply have an easier life – things appear to sort of fall into place – they get all the breaks – don’t have to work at it. Or, material wealth comes easy. Or, they get the woman or the man. Or, they have the perfect kids. Or, the perfect body. The list is endless. What is on your list?
So, where does envy come from inside each of us? In psychology there is the concept of projection. We project out onto others what we don’t consciously own. Sometimes we project what we would label bad – anger, an attempt to control others, laziness, and pretty much any other human trait. You can easily know when you are projecting something unowned inside you – it’s what you see in others that pretty much habitually irritates you. If you are always irritated when someone else is angry, then you are seeing your unowned anger in the other. You don’t own it in yourself, you can only process it by seeing it in the other.
We can also project traits that we would normally label good – positive aspects. Enter envy. We project our own goodness onto someone else and think – if only I could have that or be like that. Envy. Isn’t it wild, we already have what we can only see in the other.
The crazy thing is envy allows others to feed off of our own insecurity and desire to be admired, important or powerful. A feedback loop that we set up. We’re envious of someone – we think s/he has found the magic formula, we try to be like them. We can get lost, confused. We aren’t living our lives, we are attempting to live someone else’s life.
Gossiping or constantly judging others is a big clue that you may be caught up in envy. We tear someone else down – make them small. Presto, we automatically feel big and important.
Then, if we’re lucky, we begin to see them more clearly or realize their formula works for them and isn’t working for us. We might even discover compassion.
Compassion for ourselves and for others. Look in the mirror and love the beautiful being looking back. All of the you looking back. No judgments. Once you can claim all of who you are, rather than projecting part of you out onto someone else, you may find that envy and judgment sort of fade away.
You can stop beating yourself up over imaginary or unowned parts of yourself. You begin to see you are unique, complete, perfect as you are – a gift. You may begin to see the vulnerabilities all beings possess – the wounds we all carry. Magic. The birth of compassion – for you and all humanity.