SALT LAKE CITY — In this edition of LIFEadvice, Coach Kim shares how changing your perspective could help you be less jealous of other people's lives.
I have a hard time being with my siblings and their spouses. We don’t have the money they have and we admit we are pretty jealous of the lives they lead compared to ours. It is hard being the ones who make the least amount of money in the family and can’t keep up with them all. They keep planning things like trips that we can’t afford. It’s becoming so bothersome, I am starting to pull away from them all. All my friend’s lives are significantly easier than ours too. Do you have any advice on how to handle these feelings of jealousy and that life is unfair?
If you look behind the jealousy, you may see this is a fear of loss problem. Some of my readers still question this simplified system around the two core fears, but after 18 years in personal development, I promise it makes understanding and changing human behavior easier.
Fear of loss is the feeling you get whenever you aren’t getting (or didn’t get) what you wanted from life. You might feel taken from, robbed or treated unfairly. If you get a more difficult journey than your friends, you may perceive it as a loss. But it’s only a loss if it does you wrong, hurts you or takes away what you should have had. This may feel like a loss to you because you assume you could have had (or should have had) something better. That assumption is the key to changing your jealousy.
Should you have had something else? Could you have had something better? Is your life journey ruined or off track from where it might have been? Is life supposed to be fair?
I encourage you to play with some different perspectives and assumptions and see if it changes how you feel. I believe how we feel is totally dependent on how we look at it and perspective is easy to change — even when you can’t change the situation. Here are a couple of ideas that might help you feel better about your journey:
- Everyone deals with challenges in life. Some people whose lives look easy from the outside may actually be challenging on the inside, though they might be good at hiding it. Those whose lives really are "easy" might be experiencing ease right now, but their challenges might still be coming. Life is a classroom and the purpose of the whole thing is to learn and grow. We can’t grow when things are easy. Challenges, setbacks, loss, and unfairness are all parts of this educational experience. Try to remember that this is not a shopping excursion, a contest to get the most toys or a sightseeing trip. This life is a school and if we keep that in mind, then it may change our expectation and keeps our viewpoint more accurate.
- The Buddha reportedly said, “It is your resistance to 'what is' that causes your suffering.” What I believe he meant by that is if you expect life to meet your expectations and give you whatever you want, then you're going to be disappointed.
If you keep resisting what you're getting by being upset about it, then you're likely going to suffer. If you're tired of the way this feels, then you can choose to believe that the universe is a wise teacher constantly conspiring to bless you with wisdom and educate you. Trust that the universe will only bring you experiences that serve you. This means there is no loss and no unfairness because you are always getting what is exactly perfect for you. If you're getting your perfect classroom experience then there is no loss.
You also have to give up comparing your journey with everyone else’s. Remember, they're in a different classroom and they're learning completely different lessons than you are. You only have two perspective options when it comes to your journey: You can compare, be jealous and resist “what is," which may make you suffer, or you can accept “what is” and even have gratitude for it, which may create peace and make you suffer less. How do you want to live?
- Buddha also said it's your craving (for what you want, but don’t have) and your aversion (toward what you have that you don’t want) that make up your resistance to “what is” and cause your suffering. I recommend you get out some paper and make a list of everything you don’t have that you wish you did. Make another list of everything you have but wish you didn’t. Then, make a list of everything you are grateful you don’t have and all the things you're grateful you do have. Then, sit and look at all of these lists. All of these together make up the true nature of life. Every moment you are alive you have all four of these in play, and you always will. Your happiness depends on your focus. If you choose to focus on what you're grateful for, then you could be happy all the time.
- Make a new rule against comparing yourself with other people. There's no level where comparing yourself to others serves you. Be consistent in choosing to believe that each of us is getting the perfect classroom journey meant for us. Also, remember life is a package deal and each life path comes with some blessings and some trials. If you had another person’s blessings, then you would also have to take their trials, and trust me, you don’t want them.
- Carefully choose your thoughts. Choose to think only positive, loving thoughts about yourself and other people. In doing this, you're choosing abundance and blessings for everyone. Choose to see the world as abundant and overflowing with enough for all. Every time a jealous thought pops up in your head, try choosing gratitude instead. Gratitude is one of the most positive emotions you can choose. When you live from a place of gratitude, you are accepting love from the universe and opening the door to receive more.
Also, remember that there are many people on this planet who would give anything for your life and would be jealous of you. It’s all about perspective. Count every blessing and trust the universe that everything that happens to you is happening for you.
You can do this.
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