What is Jealousy?


“As iron is eaten away by rust, so the envious are consumed by their own passion.” – Antisthenes

frogs-1175794_1920We have all heard it before and have probably even said it ourselves, that he/she is “the jealous type.” What exactly does that even mean? And if it means that there is a personality type that is more “jealous” than others, what is the nature of that jealousy? What is the WHY behind it?

And … can jealousy serve us?

Let’s take a deeper look at how jealousy feels, as we have all felt varying degrees of it at one point or another, and for different reasons. It might have been envy over someone else’s incredibly amazing house, job, partner, business, sociability, personality, upbringing, physical appearance, wealth ….

At a surface glance, jealousy is most often considered negative – a character flaw, a moment of weakness, selfishness, or a childish reaction. That is because we have allowed ourselves to act on the feeling of jealousy in negative and hurtful ways. We have been conditioned to let it control us in ways that do not serve us or others well.

But was jealousy ever meant to be any of these darker attributes, really? Or is jealousy an indicator of underlying mission, strength, or potential?

eye-1209039_1280Jealousy is part of our shadow side. If feelings of jealousy are not negatively acted upon or internalized in such a manner as to be self-aggravating, self-limiting, or self-defeating, are they really negative? Is jealousy inherently BAD?

Or does jealousy, like any other shadow, have a more positive, creative, and functional purpose?

Jealousy, at its core, is fuel – a flash point for action, excellence, and success.

Jealousy is that deep desire and driving force that is triggered by encountering things we want but don’t currently have access to. The strong, unsettling emotion we feel is the energy of an unlived reality that we desire. That underlying energy is the voice of our soul that screams, “You were born to win, to excel, to overcome, to soar!” It raises its head via symbols and experiences that bring us this pain we call jealousy.

All things outside of you that elicit feelings of jealousy are mere flags – indicators directly from your spirit, soul, and psyche that your life is meant to be in constant upward motion, versus stagnation. You are reminded of this by the acute strength of the emotion of jealousy when it occurs.

Any sign from your outer world that kindles envy in you is a projection of your soul’s purpose, intention, and natural desire.

Be grateful for feelings of jealousy as well as all other aspects of your internal guidance system. Allow yourself to feel that raging tiger inside, and look for ways to direct it productively so that it serves you WELL! Look for the underlying, unattended desire that YOU ALONE can nurture … and give it the attention it so desperately needs. Instead of using jealousy to destroy self and others, allow it to prompt reflection, decisiveness, strategy, and action! window-1404515_1920

Personal Reflection:

– What typically causes jealousy in you?
– What are your lifelong repetitive triggers?
– What underlying wants and needs have not been met?
– What are the triggers trying to tell you that you have been avoiding or trying to suppress?
– Can you allow jealousy’s energy to make you curious, intrigued, and even moved to action in some area of your life?
– Celebrate this internal guidance system of yours by exploring ways to make it work FOR instead of against you.

If you have enjoyed this post and/or would like to add your own personal reflections, I would love to hear from you. Please leave a message in the comment section below or write me at: vernabowen@AllWaysInspired.com



Verna Bowen
Empowerment Life Coach
All Ways Inspired

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