Tara Sophia Mohr is the founder of the Playing Big leadership program for women. Below Tara offers a new way of looking at jealousy and her step-by-step process for moving past it.
It happens to all of us. We see another woman who seems to have something we want - the professional success, the financial stability, the home, the relationship.
Sometimes, we feel jealous. Then we feel really bad about that--especially if she's a friend or family member. This post is about what to do in those times.
The big idea is this:
Jealousy isn’t inherently wrong or bad. Jealousy is meant to be a cue that informs us about what’s missing in our lives and what we long for.
Jealousy only becomes problematic when we don’t attend to the desire behind the jealousy. Then we act out in ways that hurt others.
Here’s my five-step process for working with your jealousy so that it doesn’t harm others and it can be a useful source of information for you.
Tara Sophia Mohr's Step-by-Step Process for Moving Past Jealousy
Step 1: Acknowledge to yourself how you are really feeling. We move so fast that often we feel jealous without even knowing it, and unconscious jealousy comes out in not-so-nice ways. So name your jealousy, simply saying to yourself, “Okay, I’m feeling really jealous of Susan.”
Step 2: Be kind to yourself. Most of us feel bad, even ashamed, about being jealous. But neither beating ourselves up or trying to control jealous thoughts works - in fact, it will make the jealousy worse. Instead, be kind to yourself and get curious about what's at the heart of the jealousy. That might sound like: “Ok honey, you are feeling jealous. It happens to everyone sometimes - let's see what this is all about."
Step 3: Take some breaths… We feel our emotions physically. Notice where in your body you are feeling jealous and take some deep breaths.
Step 4: Name the Longings. Ask yourself, “What am I really jealous of? What does this other woman have that I really want?” Look beneath the surface stuff -- what's the deeper thing this woman seems to have that you desire?
Name the longings that you discover, and write them down. “I want to feel confident.” “I want to be surrounded by beauty and order in my home.” “I want to know I’m making progress.” “I want to live with a sense of abundance.” Receive these longings with kindness and self-acceptance. No judgment!
Step 5: Own It, Accept It, Pursue it. Whatever those underlying desires are, accept them as part of you. Start pursuing them. Jealousy always stems from a longing that you aren’t fully honoring in your own life. The longing for abundance. Success. Self-expression. Freedom. Whatever it is for you.
Here’s the great thing: when you know your longings, accept them, and become your own best friend in going for them, jealousy fades away. You refocus on your own path. You’ve given that part of you that wants something your attention. You’ve allowed it to exist. And you are taking action on its behalf. The jealousy goes away on its own.
Then, down the line, jealousy may show up again. But, once again, it is there as an aid to you, to point you toward the longings that you may be denying. Time to listen.
Want more? Go to www.taramohr.comfor tips on playing bigger in work and in life.