Few years ago, a young woman reached out to me on social media. Myself and her had been very good cyber friends. We shared some sort of relationship and I could call her a friend. She was happy about the things I write about and wanted me to partner with her in a project she was thinking about. We wanted to reach out to more young girls about a course we were both passionate about. One day, while we were both talking and trying to pen down our ideas that would create a project we could drive and lead, she giving most of the ideas and I was just there nodding my head, those feelings started springing up.
The idea was fabulous, but I didn’t like it. I didn’t like the idea of her doing this fabulous thing, though I couldn’t quite put my finger on why. Over our discussion, I shared my negative concerns. I told her I did not think it would work and how were we going to get sponsors. In a world like this, who was even going to be bothered about sexual purity anyways.
As I shared my concerns, she sat there and watched me listening gently, not interrupting me. Such a sweet lady, when she finally spoke, she said, ‘Omoby, I have been listening to everything you’ve said. I’m really trying to understand it, but the words are not making sense to me. You don’t seem to see anything positive about this idea. I think you are jealous.’
Because she was such an amazing woman, she did not say this to ruin me or make me feel less of myself, she said this without a hint of accusation. She didn’t sound hurt or angry, righteous, or victimized. She said it as if it were a neutral observation.
In the moment she said it, I began to realize she was right. But her words hit me more as I got home. It became crystal clear: if I’ve gotten to the point where I couldnt support this person whom I have come to love, who’s doing something that will advance a cause I am passionate about, it means I wouldn’t go far in life. I had only just been following my own dreams, cultivating my own happiness and feeling good with myself receiving recommendations from others. But here was I struggling to support another’s dream.
When I was in Uni, I had a very close Muslim friend, still do, who was always getting better grades than me. While I made C’s, she made A’s and while I made D’s, she made B’s. I’d become so jealous of her and wonder how she did it. I wished she would just fail. I was almost beginning to start hating her. I had to admit such feelings to God. I told Him I felt jealous of her. I told Him, I didn’t like the feelings but it felt safe to just wish that somehow her grades drop…and when something hard did hit her, she even made better grades that I could ever imagine. Imagine loosing a loved one and making allround A’s in all your modules. Ha! What kind of human being was she? I’d wonder!
A while ago, a friend told me she had gotten a job in a very juicy Organization and when she told me about it, for months, I’d think of how miserable I was without a job despite a Masters (she had no masters) and mourn and groan. In the heat of my jealousy, I went to apply to the same Firm she was working, perhaps I could be lucky as well but I failed even before I could start.
There was a time my bobo was getting exceptionally close to a female friend, I was bitter with jealousy. This friend was exceptionally endowed in her hips. I would get bitter about her and mourn about how ugly I was. Even though this friend was also in a relationship which I knew about, I could not understand the strange closeness she had with my bobo. And despite his constant reassurance, I would still get bitter and sad. I just could not explain and understand it. I think a part reason was that she had something I did not have. It constantly made me worried that she was trying to rub her physical endowments in my face.
How have I been able to overcome all these jealous feelings?
I realised that being anything less than happy for others was blocking my own chances at success and happiness. This is because by ruminating in the idea that I don’t have what someone else has you’re simply attracting more of what you’re feeling: lack. This boils down to the emotions we have inside of us. Feeling excited for someone else feels good, therefore creates more good things. I realised as well that frowning at another’s blessings doesn’t feel good therefore can’t create good things. It’s a conscious step I take and walk with.
Similarly, seeing the positive experiences of others helped me open up to possibilities. For instance, when a friend of mine recently got a job with a multinational, instead of becoming envious and gloomy, it proved to me that such amazing possibilities were present even in this recession times. This means that there’s enough good to go round for me, for all of us. We only have to believe so.
Finally, I surrendered my struggles to God. For me, this was the hardest. But I take it all to Him regardless. I feel ashamed telling Him though, but I just try remembering that He knows them already and He always has my best interest at heart. Its just like avoiding someone who only wishes you well. He has never dissapointed me. The feelings may not go overnight, but I know that since I have confessed it to God, I’d be alright.
I know we all pride ourselves as being good, lovely and always on top of our game, but there is one subtle part of us that makes us human and weak.
Jealousy planted a one glaring misconception in my mind: who I was, wasn’t simply enough. I have since realized that the hardships I was experiencing weren’t meant to point out my inadequacies, but to create an entirely new life experience that was more fulfilling and more…me.
So let’s discuss, have you had those banging prangs of jealousy? Kindly share in the comments section.