One freedom that I have not yet attained is freedom from jealousy. Today, I’m stung by professional jealousy, but I often get flare ups of the personal kind as well. (That’s me up there with the green hair on the left. Sometimes I’m the other girl. But today, I’m DEFINITELY the one with the green hair.)
Looking at this problem semi-objectively, I find that I have the following thought patterns that contribute to my downward emotional spiral:
1. hum de dum de dum. I’m going about my life, doing my thing, when
2. someone else gets something. It’s usually something I didn’t even know was gettable, but there you have it. They’ve achieved some professional accolade or invitation AND I DIDN’T!
3. I feel less than. I wonder what’s wrong with MY work. I wonder what’s wrong with ME. (Why does so and so who bestowed this honor prefer that person to me?)
4. then, I get a modicum of sense. I intellectually understand that the other person’s work is different from mine and is simply a better fit than mine in this case.
5. and I remind myself of my own wins
6. but none of those matter. In fact the sum total of my LIFETIME accomplishments pale in comparison to this one thing.
7. and I feel bad. I feel bad because I care about the other parties. I feel bad for myself. I feel bad because I make myself feel worse by silently accusing myself of laziness.
8. and, of course, I’m fat. Lately a LOT of stuff is coming back to that.
Somewhere along this lightening slide to the bottom, a spiritual entreaty or two comes to mind. It occurs to me that I have more productive options.
I could pray, for example . . . nahhhhhh!
I could call someone, but I’m so sick of having this same needy conversation over and over again.
I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.
I turn my mind and my attention to better things. I make a gratitude list. I start looking for others I can help.
I get busy.
Before too long, I feel better. But, in truth, it’s not a “better” that I know will stick. I know that I’m gonna get slammed again. I’m in a highly visible profession and my colleagues are doing some really cool stuff. I get to do cool stuff, too.
I suppose, at its essence, my feelings of jealousy and envy come from an unquenchable desire for MORE.
Lordy, lordy free me from the bondage of that two-headed hydra known as MORE and OTHER.
And, even as I write that last line, I realize that the quest for MORE and OTHER have brought me many gifts in life, too.
MORE and OTHER have freed me of painful relationships.
MORE and OTHER helped pay for my education, an investment that benefits me every day of my life.
MORE and OTHER helped me survive alcoholism, the death of a child, and a predisposition to depression.
MORE and OTHER are why we have Life After Tampons.
MORE and OTHER are why I’ve been able to create some work that has really helped a lot of people.
It seems I need my MORE and OTHER. It seems that others benefit from the gifts of my MORE and OTHER.
But, every now and then, (well, actually, quite regularly), MORE and OTHER turn on me and bite down – HARD.
This morning was one of those occasions, and today, I’m asking for your Beautiful support. Will you help me out of my self-centered fear today?
Will you please list one struggle that you have been able to overcome since you’ve been part of our LAT community? Then, will you please list one area where you still need help?
I’ll collect all of those and try to create some new magic on your behalf.
photo: flickr, procsilas
P.S. In answer to last week’s post, the phrase I use when dealing with difficult people who seek to silence all opposition is this: “I see it differently.” Give it a shot.