“I have everything I need right now.”Jasmine Wilborne, CEO and Founder
This piece of wisdom didn’t arise from a place of contentment and pride. In fact, the complete opposite.
Last week as I was walking to my job, I noticed a parent dressed in workout gear bending to unbuckle their daughter from the car. Like an unpredictable jack-in-the-box, electric pangs of jealousy shot through my heart. The familiar poisonous thoughts followed.
“Must be nice to be able to work from home during a pandemic. Her corporate job is just chugging along and she’s making all that good money. They even own a house in a nice white part of the City that offers dining, recreation and shopping at well kept stores. I wish I had that,” I thought.
Within moments, I felt inadequate. My previous feelings of levity and peace were scorched. The assumption was simple: This woman had more than me, therefore she was superior to me. I felt deflated, and upon noticing this, began to seethe with anger.
“Why do I have to feel inferior when I notice that someone has something I don’t?” I thought, fuming.
The earth stood still. This was a new shift in thinking. I realized that I was choosing to associate someone’s “gain” as my intrinsic “loss”. Subconsciously, I compared myself to others. If I determined my reality was better or equal to my subject I felt no emotional pain. But when I deemed that somehow a person had a better life than me, I resigned to feeling jealous.
But why? I scanned my mind for an answer. “I have learned to compare myself to other people and to feel shame when I determine they have more than me.”
A cool wave of understanding and peace coursed through my body. I was choosing to feel jealous. I could change the way I related to people’s external accomplishments and prizes. My worth as a person, and theirs did not hinge on their material, social or economic treasures. Those things, I had learned, are unreliable to base my identity on. Material things, will always be destroyed in the test of time. Basing my identity on things that are fleeting is like building my dream house on the sand.
I took a deep steadying breath. The jealousy was still shooting through my heart and I felt it. I exhaled then thought, “I have everything I need right now.”
The words and the truth behind them sent a stillness through my heart. There was a sense of peace vacillating through my body. I was shocked. Was quelling my jealousy as simple as this reminder?
“Is that true? Do you really have everything you need right now?,” Jealous Jasmine thought.
It is true. I am blessed to be alive in this moment. I have breath to breathe, Compassionate Jasmine countered.
What about the fact that you are making the same amount of money you made at your first job out of college? Shots fired!
This is true, but money is just one way of quantifying value. All roles are important in this world, regardless of the pay.
You work at a daycare…didn’t you have bigger dreams than this?
I realize that this role isn’t ideal, however, I’m becoming more compassionate, patient and aware of how my thoughts impact my emotions and actions. This work is invaluable to me. It’s what I need now.
For the first time in my life the jealousy fell away and I felt better than I did before it had come.
I breathed in a few more times, enjoying how cleansed and clean I felt on the inside.
With my levity restored, I walked through the doors of my job.
Have you stood up to your feelings of jealousy before? What was the outcome? How can you examine your feelings of jealousy to learn the root cause of them, like I did?