“When you judge another, you do not define them. You define yourself.” ~Wayne Dyer
Lately, I’ve been confronted by envy. It’s one of those negative emotions that I used to avoid taking credit for.
“I really am happy for everyone,” I would tell potential mates and friends.” And I thought I meant it.
Instead of feeling envious, which was impossible since I didn’t do envy, I would feel an ambiguous sense of dislike for the person.
My elementary school best friend who went on to become a Miss America contender? I made up a story that she was being “fake” by parading around wearing too much makeup. I wanted to be happy for her, but it was too hard.
There’s another young woman I didn’t like, too. She’s a bestselling author and spiritual teacher who is adored by millions and actually looks cute delivering love from the universe. Why didn’t I like her?
I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, so I made up another story about how something wasn’t in alignment and I didn’t trust her integrity.
And the hardest to admit, I suddenly didn’t like an acquaintance I’d known since high school when she started hanging out with a guy I liked. You’d think I could put it all together, but my mind wouldn’t let me see the truth.
Since this feeling of dislike was subtle and ambiguous, it slipped past my internal radar.
There’s not doubt you see my pattern, though. What I masked with disdain was really a crown of envy.
I was unable to admit to myself that I wanted what these women had.
I wanted a bestselling book and I wanted to be in the spotlight. I even wanted to be with that guy, who is now my boyfriend. I wanted to share universal love with masses of people—and tiaras are just so sparkly and awesome.
It took me years to discover this. It bothered me that I didn’t like these women. It bothered me so much that I paid extra attention to them. I read their blogs, watched their YouTube channels, and followed their event schedule. I never did read those books, though, even though I really did want to!
Until I was mature enough to acknowledge my real issue, the lack of understanding of why I didn’t like them had a real hold on me.
The switch from dislike to open envy may not seem like a big deal, but from a healing perspective, it was.
No amount of healing can occur when it is directed toward a lie. The time I spent disliking these women was wasted time. It was an artificial reason and therefore could not be healed until I got to the root cause: that I wanted what they have.
It also took humility to accept the fact that I was envious. I spend a lot of my day focusing on love and service. I had a false perception of myself as being beyond that particular emotion.
I saw it as something I had transcended, but that thought was false. In admitting that to myself, I grew above it and my heart opened again.
From there, I was able to objectively look at my life and see where I could incorporate actions that would give me similar results. I was also able to have compassion for these women. I could see that, just like me, they had insecurities and were not perfect.
I had inadvertently put them on a pedestal while I was judging them. I needed to make them different from me in order to find fault. It turns out that taking them down off the pedestal actually empowered me to take steps toward achieving my dreams.
In my envy, I was preventing myself from creating what I wanted. I was holding all of that at an arm's distance. It was sabotage in the sneakiest way.
How can you benefit from my transformation? Here are some steps that you can take to uncover hidden emotions and flip them from negative to positive:
Look at who or what is pushing your buttons.
Everything external is internal. This means that if something outside of yourself is bothering you, for example, someone else’s behavior, then you have that within you as well. If you didn’t, there would be no emotional charge to it.
Take away the judgment.
You are not less spiritual, lovable, or amazing because you are feeling a negative emotion. Allow yourself to be honest about what you want, what you are feeling, and any attachments you have.
Shower love on yourself, your truth, your pain, and everything associated with your current dilemma. This will ease your body and mind, allowing for the situation to pass. You can now see the wisdom and reasoning behind its creation.
Remember that we are brilliant beings.
The fact that we create lessons for ourselves using negative emotions in roundabout ways shows two things: we cannot escape ourselves, and personal evolution is always available if we allow ourselves to see the next step.
Photo by Javier Armas