Jealousy is not a sin.
Jealousy is a societal program.
As women, and as girls, we’ve been told to look and be a certain way, and that those who follow society’s programs of pretty, desirable, and lovable will be adored and cherished like queens.
It’s evident in movies, TV, advertising… Pretty much everywhere.
As a teenager, I remember seeing the giant Victoria’s Secret ads at the mall, watching commercials for Proactiv, or even seeing advertising for makeup. I remember feeling so hateful about the way my body looked: my acne-covered skin compared to their airbrushed and contoured faces. My razor bump-scarred legs compared to their smooth, toned skin.
Yes, I’m aware that none of the photos I saw were real. Yet at the same time, it planted a message inside of me– teenage me who felt desperate for love– that I could not receive love unless I looked like them.
The message is: “Without THIS, you’re not beautiful, desirable, or deserving of adoration. Not worthy of being treated like the goddess you ARE.”
We’re sneakily trained to watch, observe, imitate, and envy those women the media portrays as worthy of adoration and reverence.
The Victoria’s Secret models, the cover girls, the music video dancers.
And so yes, we all experience jealousy. Some of us experience more jealousy than others.
Jealous feelings are shamed.
How many of us hold a belief that we can’t feel jealous of another woman? That jealousy will turn us into a “crazy girl”?
Don’t get me wrong– I’m not justifying acting on your jealousy, with behaviors such as cutting down other women or isolating your partner from their lady friends.
BUT, believe me when I say: these toxic behaviors only show up when we’ve repressed and shamed our own jealous feelings.
Let me break this down.
It starts with one jealous thought. Many of us are able to simply disregard that thought and move on. Some of us, however, harbor deep feelings of unworthiness which cause that nagging thought to stick in the back of our minds.
Yet we tell ourselves: “I can’t be jealous,” and try to push the jealous thoughts away.
When they refuse to leave, we begin to tell ourselves all the stories we’ve heard about jealousy:
This means I’m crazy.
This makes me ugly, like the evil stepsisters from Cinderella.
This makes me undesirable.
We label and shame ourselves. We now perceive ourselves as an ugly stepsister… and the woman we felt jealous of? She’s Cinderella.
We feel absolutely miserly now in comparison to her, and in comparison to all of those “normal” women who “never feel jealous”. We’ve placed ourselves into society’s boxes of evil stepsister vs. princess, ugly vs. beautiful, insecure vs. confident.
We have shoved ourselves down a deep, dark hole; what was once a narrow gap between where we are and where we THINK that other woman is, there is now a wide, gaping canyon.
The shame that we held against ourselves in our jealousy has unintentionally caused an even deeper insecurity within us.
The conditioning that tells us that jealousy makes us ugly does N O T H I N G to actually heal your jealousy.
So… how the hell do we actually heal the green-eyed demon?
The one thing you feel like you least deserve when you’re drowning in the whirlpool of jealousy is the one thing you need most in that moment.
Because you only envy another when your sweet, innocent inner child does not feel whole, complete, enough, and loved right here and now.
To heal your jealousy, you must give yourself compassion.
A lack of love for yourself will lead you to innocently enact patterns of jealousy and even toxicity. Shame only fuels that negative cycle. Sadly, shame is the only way some of us know how to respond to ourselves when we’ve acted out of integrity. But we CAN learn to treat ourselves differently. Self-punishment is no way to make yourself a better person.
So, when we’ve experienced– or even acted on– a feeling society deems “ugly”, such as jealousy, how can we learn to heal those patterns with compassion?
Begin by understanding.
Understand whatever fear, whatever not-enoughness, caused you to feel or act that way.
Did part of you believe that you’re not as deserving of unconditional love as she is?
Did something inside you feel unwanted or abandoned?
Understand that your innocent inner child simply feels afraid. Understand that if that inner child felt held and loved, she would feel no need to get your attention with jealous feelings or actions.
Tell your inner child what she longs to hear.
After understanding what your inner child needs, it’s time to provide words of love and compassion. Speak to yourself silently or out loud in the most gentle, non-judgmental way possible.
This might sound like…
“I’m so sorry you felt the need to act that way.”
“I’m so sorry I ignored you for so long that you had to act out to get my attention.”
“I’m here for you. What do you need to say to me? What do you need from me?”
“You are loved, no matter what.”
“I love you.”
Breathe slowly, and hold that scared child who believes that she’s not good enough.
THIS is what self love means. THIS is what it means to love yourself fully.
Diving into the most shadowy parts of yourself, all those parts that you’ve always believed to be ugly/bad/toxic/wrong/evil/sinful/unlovable. And having the courage to offer compassion.
No matter how repulsed you are with what you see within.
No matter what society tells you is unlovable.
Finally, remember that ALL OF YOU deserves love and compassion.
You can’t heal yourself with shame, hate, or punishment. ONLY LOVE can heal.
Struggling with not-enoughness? Send me an email; I’d love to chat about how I can support you. <3