Amazeballz Stories 31/100: It’s time to stop hiding my envy and jealousy

I’ve got a problem with envy.

When I see someone I know achieving something I want, my first instinct is not happiness. It is bitterness.

If I read your fascinating article about a topic I care about, by the end of the article I have found a few places to criticize your writing.

If I hear about your great new podcast that is rising up the charts, I simmer over all the perceived advantages you have.

If I hear about you being booked to speak at a conference that I aspire to speak at, I think of how you don’t deserve it.

I want to be recognized as a writer. I want my podcast to be popular and acclaimed. I want to be asked to speak more often. The part of my that strives is spitting with envy and lack.

My envy problem is even greater if the other person is a woman.

If another woman is excelling in a space where I aspire, I am flooded with jealousy and frustration.

Envy is a terrible, claustrophobic feeling.

Envy is choking and ugly. It’s like there is not enough air in the room. Every success of another woman feels like air being stolen from you. You know it is wrong and unfair and uncharitable, but it persists.

This is not easy to admit. This is not even something I want to admit TO MYSELF. But it is the truth.

I suffer from envy.

I was recently introduced to a new concept — MUDITA.

Mudita is a Sanskrit word which means to experience joy in the good fortune of others.

This word has no counterpart in English. Yet, in the Buddhist tradition it is so important it makes the list of the Four Immeasurables. These four core values are benevolence, compassion, equanimity and mudita — empathetic joy. They are the cornerstones of becoming an enlightened being.

Western culture teaches happiness (how many books are there on happiness right now?) and hustle. And with my quest for happiness and hustle I am delivering myself a daily dose of envy and unworthiness.

STEP ONE: Admit it. I experience envy. I am not proud of it. I do not seek this feeling, but it happens.

STEP TWO: Practice Mudita. When I see someone (especially a woman) excelling in “my” space, I will remember that she deserves not only her joy, but my joy too.

We have a lot of work to do, together, so that women are not battling over tiny scraps of the possibility pie (see previous essays on this problem). But in the meanwhile, we need to look around our space and find ways to celebrate and join hands in our joy.

The first step is always acknowledging the problem.

Just seeing my truth is liberating.

Just like hot unconscious anger and creeping shame, now I recognize the stench of my envy. In the same way that I have confronted my fear, I see my envy, lurking behind the scenes. I am learning to shine a bright light on my unruly emotions and watch them whither under direct supervision.

I have an envy problem. And I have a process to turn my envy into a practice of mudita.

Do you have an envy problem?

Hi! I’m Mary — a chiropractor, a writer, a marketer, and a teacher.

I am the founder of The Art of Story Project, an online business which coaches speakers and content creators to use story to become more powerful influencers.

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