Lol! Jk Please don’t mind the offensive title. This is a post on jealousy I had planned since like October, originally titled On Jealousy til one morning when I was about to get a shower and this new title popped into my head & I burst out laughing. Hopefully no one reads the title and thinks it’s a dramatic rant about jealous people doing me wrong and just disregards it because Geshe-la has some serious wisdom to open us up to or remind us and I wouldn’t want my jestful title to turn people away! lol 😉 You won’t find any rants in this here post! 😀
Here are some wise words on jealousy, by Geshe-la.
“Anger is often related to jealousy and so we need to try to overcome both these delusions. When a rival is successful or praised, it is very easy to feel jealous, but why should someone else’s happiness make us unhappy? If we step out of our egocentric view for a moment and put ourself in the other person’s place, instead of feeling the pain of jealousy we can rejoice and share in his or her happiness.
When a jealous person sees signs of other people’s success and good fortune, his heart is pierced with envy. But someone who has learned to rejoice in the good fortune of others experiences only happiness. Seeing another person’s beautiful house or attractive partner immediately makes him happy-the fact that they are not his own is irrelevant. When he sees a colleague praised or promoted, or when he meets someone who is more intelligent, good-looking, or successful than he is, instead of immediately being reminded of his own inadequacies he simply shares in the other person’s happiness.
Rejoicing in other people’s happiness or good qualities is one of the purest of all virtuous minds, because it is unstained by self-cherishing. When we practice giving, for example, it is possible that we might hope for something in return-for gratitude, to be liked, or to be thought of as a generous person-but when we rejoice in another’s good fortune we expect nothing in return.”
“Jealousy is one of the most senseless and purposeless of all delusions. Nothing can be gained from being jealous of another’s good fortune, good job, reputation, or success. Suppose someone gives a rival some money. The jealousy and unhappiness we feel about this will do nothing to change the situation. Whether our rival is given money or not, there is no way we are going to receive that money ourself. So why should we be jealous? Furthermore, developing jealousy on the one hand, while wishing to obtain wealth and possessions on the other, are contradictory states of mind. Why? The root cause of receiving wealth, possessions, and any other pleasurable things is our own accumulation of virtue, which is created by giving, rejoicing, appreciating and respecting others, and so forth. However, when due to our self-centered view of the world strong jealousy arises in our mind, the potentialities of these virtuous actions are damaged and so our chances of experiencing good fortune in the future are diminished or destroyed. Therefore, if we really wish to obtain good fortune, wealth, and so forth in the future, we should guard our mind well, and instead of allowing jealousy to arise in response to others’ happiness, we should rejoice.
There is also no reason to be happy when our enemy meets with suffering, because how do such negative thoughts either hurt our enemy or benefit us? Even if we thought ‘It would be great if my rival were to suffer,’ this would never harm him or her. And even if he were harmed, how would that ever bring us happiness?
‘But if my enemy suffers, I will be satisfied’ Thoughts like this never bring us any happiness. On the contrary, nothing harms us more than indulging in such petty and vengeful thoughts, which do nothing but drag us down into the lower realms.”
I think comparing ourselves to others and making our own self out to be lower or somehow less, is a form of jealousy or something of that sort even if it doesn’t manifest as feeling like jealousy. Have you ever compared yourself to another? And then felt low about your own self? I think most of us probably have and so can relate to this. The person or people we compare ourselves to may be an enemy, a stranger, a supermodel on a magazine cover, imaginary people(like just the way we think people in general are), even close family members or friends. We may or may not feel resentment for those people and may or may not feel consciously jealous. But we are unhappy for our own self when we make comparisons and feel that someone else is somehow better or has something better.
This message conveyed by Geshe-la can apply to anyone who has thoughts that someone else is better, looks better, is more successful, more intelligent, happier, does more fun things, goes on more vacations or better vacations, or more productive things….and feels unhappy about it.
One way to counter this is to try to identify with those people we feel jealous of or lower than. Instead of envying them, resenting them, or feeling low about our own self, remember how it feels to be happy or successful, tap into that empathy, & be happy for those people. Almost all of us have probably been happy at one point or another even if briefly, all of us have accomplished something, even something seemingly small or not important, we know what it’s like to have good and bad things happen to us so let’s connect with those we envy, reach out in our basic humanness and be happy for them when they are in a good place in this life.
Practicing this more and more will help heal a jealous mind. Even if we aren’t generally prone to jealousy, most of us have probably experienced it at least once or at least experienced comparing ourselves to someone else and coming up short. And actually, I think many if not most, have this unpleasant experience more than once, probably off and on.
“S/he’s prettier than me, thinner than I am, more toned/muscular, more experience with something, has a better job, a more advanced education, an amazing relationship I don’t have, a bigger, more beautiful and expensive house or car, more friends, a family….”
I love how G.K Gyatso, states:
“…the fact that they are not his own is irrelevant.”
Imagine feeling so connected to others, even complete strangers, that we are just as happy for them as we would be for our own self if we had the good fortune they have. The fact that it is not our own is completely irrelevant; we are just as happy as if it were. How beautiful!
Another way to counter jealousy or heal a jealous mind, whether it’s a frequent jealous mind or just once in a while or even just once, is to focus on the goodness we, ourself, have right now. Any little thing that is good in our world, health, a place to live, a delicious cup of coffee, our senses, ability to walk, to move, friends, family, life itself…dwell on that without repressing any unpleasant emotions. Nothing wrong with admitting, even if just to our own self, that we wish something was different but we can still focus on what is good in this moment.
And one more thing, remember jealousy is absolutely pointless. Where does it get any of us? All it does is put unpleasant energy out into the uni-verse, interfere with our happiness, & possibly friendships & other relationships. Jealousy is a lousy attitude to be stuck in and even has the word “lousy” in it. For good reason! And a positive, loving mindset is more constructive and likely to contribute to our own good fortune than a jealous and/or vengeful mindset anyway. So anyone who doesn’t care about others will still benefit by being kind and rejoicing in the goodness of others.
This isn’t to negatively judge those who are jealous or those who wish bad things on others out of jealousy or do things just to look good and not out of true kindness; it’s merely to suggest that it’s better for our own self & those we encounter if we avoid jealousy and act with pure, genuine intentions, rejoicing in the good fortune of others.
And….in case you’re in the mood for a chuckle….
Not sure what this has to do with jealousy but here it is! (Unless you’re jealous of this face! I sure am! 🙃)
Much love & light to you, always