“If you envy someone for the right reason, you are halfway to wisdom.”
Thinking about this Gregory David Roberts’ quote from his own journey to wisdom, I thought about the people I have envied over the years. When I quit envying people for their outward beauty and success, and, instead, devoted myself to “envying” those who modeled courage and love against the odds, I broke out of my tiny jail of ignorance into growth.
Instead of wasting my time feeling cheated out of what others had, I found something worthy of my focus: that place of equality where wisdom flows freely to anyone who believes their particular circumstances are the starting blocks toward everything they need.
When I am seething with jealousy and bitterness at someone who has what I want, I am like a dog growling over my bowl. I am thinking there is not enough to go around and I want what is mine.
I begrudge their good and…poison myself in the process.
When I know scarcity is an illusion, that not a human soul can keep me from what is rightfully mine, I am then free to identify with the needs, wants, successes, and failures of others without comparing myself to them, resenting them, or being passive aggressive toward them by pretending to care.
The essence of cool and a cure for jealousy…believing there is no scarcity.
My heart is at your festival. – William Wordsworth
Practically speaking concerning yesterday’s post, my friend Lesley, (a public school teacher) told me about the best principal she ever had. The first thing he did was “erase the line of competition between them,” reminding his staff to guard the “us” instead of the “me;” consequently stopping finger-pointing and teacher’s lounge drama in one smart whack.
Leaders like this change everything, extracting the “don’t-cross-this-line” petty jealousy (that we learned from road-trips with your siblings) and helping us concentrate on what really matters.
And…how important it is that we realize the power each of us has to elevate situations where lines are being drawn with gossip, criticism, and petty competition.
Don’t waste time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind.