Envy and jealousy. While the 2 words have different meanings, they often go hand and hand, and are often used interchangeably. And sometimes the experience of envy can be a slippery slope towards jealousy.
But from my perspective, it is jealousy that diminishes us. It is jealousy that leaves us lacking, and it is jealousy that keeps us feeling insecure, judgmental (of self and others), and disconnected.
I am intimately familiar with both envy & jealousy, and have faced this experience within myself & within almost every single woman I work with.
Because we learn, often very early on, that it's a win-lose world among women. If YOU win, then I lose. If I win, then you lose.
We learn that we must measure ourselves in COMPARISON to others (how do I measure UP or DOWN?); and that there's no room for ALL of us to shine.
This, my friends, is B.S. From my experience, there is NOTHING more powerful than women coming together in the service of supporting each other.
There is nothing more powerful than a woman who owns her amazing-ness in a confident & comfortable way, without feeling threatened by others.
Because this kind of woman sincerely and fully wants to lift others up, without apology.
So what can you do if envy & jealousy are keeping you stuck, insecure, and small?
First, you MUST acknowledge your feelings to yourself. Jealousy & envy are often shadows for women. Who me? jealous? NOOOOO! I am so NICE and LOVING of other women!"
Here's a sign that jealousy has a hold on you in some way: You find yourself really triggered by another woman...for some reason, something about her just BUGS you no end. OR you find yourself really critical or judgmental of another woman.
Yup, sorry to say, but that's often a sign of envy or jealousy.
Begin to "upgrade" jealousy ("she has it so I can't/don't/won't") into envy ("oooh, she has it and I want it too!").
Is there a way you can see the qualities that you are jealous of as attributes that you would like MORE of in yourself, instead of as a threat to who you are?
Once you do this, you can begin to work with those qualities, and build them in yourself (yes, this is easier said than done, and can take a bit of time, but it is KEY to your growth).
Work on building your own self-value, self-worth, & deservability. Oftentimes we don't believe we deserve or can have what we want or what other women have.
Again, this is a belief and NOT truth. Find ways to build the muscle of self-worth. Yes, easier said than done, but it's critical to shifting this cycle.
Recognize that the FEAR that others will envy or be jealous of you may be just as big as your own jealousy of others. This is a HUGE issue for many women.
We are often taught that in order for us to be liked/accepted/approved of, we shouldn't evoke envy or jealousy.
In many ways, this is a normal human response because we all want to BELONG to "a tribe" and on a deep human level, "standing out" can evoke the worry that we will be "kicked out."
Plus, in addition, women have been inundated with the message that their "bigness" is "ugly, bitchy, bad, obnoxious, selfish, demanding, needy, conceited, etc."
This outdated and unhelpful collective cultural belief does NOT serve YOU or any other woman!!!
The true fact is: the more comfortable you are with your own "having," with the knowing that others "having" won't threaten you, the more you can serve as a model for other women and girls. We need that in this culture, don't you agree?
Recognize the power of true "sisterhood." I know, sometimes this phrase is overused and sounds goofy to some women, and I think this is because it has not been deeply felt or experienced by most women.
However, what I have felt and witnessed over the past several years, has shown me that there is NOTHING more powerful than being witnessed, supported, seen, and championed by other women.
The more we raise one woman up, the more we - both individually and as a collective - grow.
There is room for each and every woman to thrive, but it takes YOU (and ME! - each of us) to do the inner and outer work of transforming our jealousy, judgment and smallness into power, confidence and making a positive difference for others.