But what of the Green Eyed Monster?
A.K.A envy, or the evil eye for those with a Mediterranean background. Yes, everyone can roll their modern eyes: How quaint, those strange old ideas. Such unscientific malarkey. Irrational. Unsound.
Except here's the rub: jealousy is harmful. If you think that the energy exchange that occurs when you feel envious of someone else isn't a problem, you are mistaken. I guarantee you.
Balderdash is believing the earth is only six thousand years old and that we co-existed with Triceratops like Fred Flintstone. Understanding the real damage done by being envious of someone else is not that complicated: that shit will mess up your life.
I had a boyfriend once who seemed determined to elicit a jealous reaction from me, acting mysterious and vague about the fact he was going out for coffee with someone, presenting the fragmented truth like a piece of carrot cake. I never bit. (Off on a Tangent Alert: Carrot cake is not cake. Please, stop deluding yourself. Also, if your Oatmeal Raisin cookie gets into a fight with my Double Chocolate Chunk, it will lose.) Turned out his date was an ex-girlfriend.
I shrugged. Big deal, so what? They were meeting to catch up and I trusted him. If he wanted to cheat, he would cheat, and we'd be history.
He said, "All girls are jealous," when I insisted I wasn't the type. The fact that I wouldn't play the game caused some confusion for him.
I saw it as an exercise in the ridiculous because I knew envy intimately: my mother was the High Priestess of Jealousy. She made offerings at the temple and sacrificed all common sense by consistently giving herself over to resentment. It was a toxic brou-ha-ha of self-inflicted pain that burned us all.
Jealousy is not the measuring stick for love or worthiness; it is a false gauge built on competition and scarcity. Follow this path and the signposts of unnecessary agony and unrelenting sadness will mark the route. Just as it causes stress and heartache to compare yourself to other people, envying the circumstances of others will make you miserable: misery loves nothing.
I've noticed we are all willing to compare pain and suffering but not privilege or opportunities. Everyone is given an individual set of gifts and unique obstacles. What comes easy for one is intensely challenging for another. Ignore this truth at your peril: Choose to see only the advantages of someone's life and not her struggles, hard work, long nights and multiple failures (professional, personal, small or large), and you will walk away with a misguided map about what led to her success. More than that, you could hamper your own trajectory, your own victory story. As the quote often attributed to Vince Lombardi goes, "The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary."
The elders who warned about the evil eye were essentially saying, "Beware the person who is careless with jealousy. Avoid them at all costs." (Okay, yes, they also believed a dirty look could result in death but that was before antibiotics.)
Quite frankly, saying "I'm so jealous!" with a smile and acknowledging you have an issue does not mean you are self-aware. It means you are willing to indulge in shame-based, bitter-fueled negativity that solves nada. I can tell you how the story will end: my mother has few friends.
Buddha responded to someone who was angry with him by saying, "Thank you for the gift of your anger, I do not accept it." This is how we can all respond to this monster. Don't let that varmint in. Don't feed it. Don't nurture it. This beast will bite and infect you with rabies. The Green Eyed Monster is Godzilla barging throughTokyo - only destruction results.
The pain we carry with us is ancient: ancestral. For all we know, the rancor may be carried over from another existence, another lifetime. This is the time to fix things then. This time, we can choose to peace instead.