You read that correctly. A sheep in wolf’s clothing.
Jealousy gets villainized. It is regarded as unbecoming. And, I get that. But let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater…
This post is #8 in a series of 10: Ten Basic Emotions and their Messages.
Before we start, let’s quickly set the stage.
The human emotional system is built as a messaging system.
Each emotion has a general message it wants to convey. Once that message is delivered (meaning you accept it that it is present and that its presence is OK) the emotion or the wave of that emotion can be processed.
Sometimes there are multiple waves of the emotion. Sometimes it takes a little time for the emotion to process through the body, sometimes it is relieved right away. It just depends.
It’s important to remember that there are nuances to the system. Each emotion also has a spectrum of how helpful it can be.
Now… how could jealousy be a sheep???
What is the message jealousy wants to bring to your awareness?
Jealousy is an arrow pointing to what you desire and do not yet have.
The hard part about jealousy is that it is shrouded in this cloak of distaste, which is what masks the desire.
That distaste is likely a sweet little move by your psyche trying to protect your ego.
For some reason, the thing you are jealous of has traveled through your unconscious mind and an inspector on the production line flagged it as threatening for you to let yourself want it.
Maybe you have gotten messages in your upbringing, your social circle or society that say “you shouldn’t want that”.
Maybe wanting something someone else has makes you feel like you are “less than” in some way.
But, desire is desire no matter what way you slice it.
Furthermore, desire can be a crucial emotional experience. Shutting it down could mean shutting off a source of motivation or excitement in your life. Maybe even the key to a direction or life purpose.
How to Detect Jealousy
ONE: Jealousy can look like judgement.
If you find yourself giving the evil eye to someone you would otherwise or usually like, that is a clue. Or, if you find yourself gossiping or making snarky comments about someone, that could be a tip off.
TWO: You dislike someone most other people around you like.
This is different that your spidey senses going off. If you feel like something is up with someone, like they are covering up their true feelings or motives, that is not usually jealousy.
What to do about your jealous feelings
ONE: Realize it is OK.
You are human. Natural defense mechanisms are built to protect you. You didn’t design them. So no need to judge yourself or make the defenses wrong.
Once you accept it is OK, you have more access to that desire because you disarmed the defenses. Basically, you successfully hacked your emotions. Bravo.
TWO: Go on a treasure hunt.
Let yourself wonder about what it is that you might be desiring that is behind your snarky comments or judgey thoughts.
If you need to vent your way through the jealousy and say super judgmental things to your best friend until the gold of your desire shows up, so be it.
Let it surprise you. You might be finding out something new about yourself.
THREE: Dismantle the bomb.
If you are thinking you might want to actually go for what it is you want, you might need to figure out why you weren’t letting yourself want it in the first place.
Otherwise, you might hit some roadblocks in creating what you want. Believe me, if those defenses showed up once, they will show up again. Especially if you raise the stakes (meaning you get closer to the thing you “shouldn’t want”).
Is a belief you hold in the way? Is it something your family told you?
- Talk it out with someone whose perspective you trust.
- Journal about it.
- Explore it with your therapist.
- Develop a practice to break down unhelpful thoughts and beliefs.
What if having an amicable relationship with jealousy means you have more of what you really want in your life?
I’m signing up for that.