Red-hot, corrosive jealousy (and what I do with it)

Over thousands and thousands of years — for as long as women have been dependent on others for our food, care, roof-over-our-heads, money, reputation, and personal power — we have learned to see other women as threats.

So when someone else has control over the stuff we need, we can very quickly get into competition with those other folks who might get our stuff instead of us.

It doesn’t have to be that way and there is a way to shift it — which has been one of the brightest spots in my life.

Still, for most of us, competition between women is as old as the hills and jealousy of other women is as corrosive as battery acid.

We learn:

She comes from a better family than you? She gets married to the powerful bread-winner, not you.

She’s more beautiful than you? She gets the love affair, not you.

She’s smarter or more well-connected than you? She gets the dream job, not you.

She’s sexier than you? She gets the love and the loyalty, not you.

She makes more money than you? She gets the admiration and the status, not you.

Many of us are no longer dependent on others for the stuff we need to flourish. (No, not ALL women, not by a long shot. But probably, for the most part, YOU). However, we can still see other women as threats, to be competed with and preferably bested.

We still have left-over and outdated mistrust coursing through our DNA, built up over thousands of years.

Am I saying you have been simply naive and can now completely and unabashedly trust other women?

No, not ALL women deserve your trust. But A CERTAIN KIND of woman does — a woman whose well is full.

When a woman’s well is full, she naturally and generously overflows on to other people. She knows there is plenty for everyone — plenty of love, respect, forms of beauty, dream jobs, loyalty, admiration, and roofs-over-heads. She isn’t consumed with imitating so-and-so, she’s focused on contributing what is uniquely hers to bring into the world. Around her, people can’t wait to be their best selves. Her presence is firestick, lighting a flame in their hearts.

You can trust THAT kind of woman with your child. With your newest, tenderest desire. With the keys to your car or your raw, hurting heart.

You can trust her to hold you with love and respect. You can trust her to call bullshit on you when you need some stretching. You can trust her to remind you of your beauty and brilliance (randomly, and when you need it most).

I have purposely surrounded myself with THIS kind of sisterhood. I hang out with them, mastermind with them, cry with them, celebrate with them, and dine with them.

I align my teaching, writing, and coaching to SERVE the emergence of THIS kind of woman.

Because in their firestick presence, the world becomes lit-up.

I hope you have at least one woman like this, if not a dozen, surrounding you. If not, please get one or some. Please. Your life — and what is possible for you as a woman — will transform.

Now, here’s an uncomfortable truth: jealousy of other women doesn’t go away, you just get better and better at transforming it.

So, here’s how I do it:

1. Start with the thing you are jealous of. (Really).

For example, her six-pack abs.

2. Then ask yourself, if you had that thing you’re jealous of, how would it make you FEEL? What would it make POSSIBLE for you? (Really dig down for this one).

Let’s say you come up with something like: It would make you feel powerful, strong, and sexy. It would then be possible to feel lovable and capable of having a beautiful relationship.

It’s not really about the abs. It’s about what the abs make possible for you.

3. KNOW THIS: You would not notice that thing in her, if it wasn’t beginning to be possible for you.

That’s how it goes with jealousy. You THINK jealousy is confirmation that she has it and you never will. But actually, jealousy is a sign that you wouldn’t even perceive her abs (that shorthand for power, strength, sexiness, and lovability) if the potential wasn’t bubbling up IN YOU.

4. So, lastly, ask yourself, “In what ways can I notice that in ME? Right now?”

So, start to notice your power, strength, and sexiness. And while you are at it, your lovability.

I know, I know. You are already whipping out that long list of reasons you are not, were not, and never will be powerful, strong, and sexy. Or lovable.

I know, I know. Women are GREAT at making these kinds of lists. I used to be queen of these kinds of lists. And those four steps above have really helped me transform this centuries-old stuff. Here’s what I’ve seen over the 16 years I’ve been at this with women I get to work with:

If you let her, your Sweet Self will begin to gather evidence — bit by bit — of your lovability. She’ll collect examples of your strength to lay at your feet. And she’ll start to wink conspiratorially at you, “Ooh-la-la, sexy!” many times in your day.

So, would you be brave and come share the thing you tend to be most jealous of?

I’ll meet you there,

PPS: Photo by Wendy K. Yalom Photography