Tuesday 26 April 2011

My journey with envy

I haven't always been willing to see my own shadowside and the less pleasant aspect of my character.  I've wanted to be a 'nice' person, a 'good' person.  And nice, good people don't feel envy, rage, jealousy, anger and a whole raft of other 'negative' emotions.

Perhaps I was afraid those emotions would swamp me; if I was envious it would somehow void my compassion, love, and humour.  But I'm not yet an enlightened being, so I have a shadowside!  And I now count it as a massive step forward that I no longer have to pretend to myself that I'm only sweetness and light.  I have a wide variety of emotions and they aren't all 'good'.  What is good is that I can now accept emotions that I have ignored in the past.

Acceptance is, however, just the first step.  Curiosity is the second step.  What is this emotion telling me about myself?  It's shining a light on some part of me that seeks to express itself and, if I am respectful of it, I can use this insight to heal a part of myself that has been ignored, that has lingered in the shadows.

I've been exploring why I feel envy towards this person with a degree of excitement because I'm no longer afraid.  This is not about her, it's about discovering a new part of me and giving fuller expression to who I am.  All of me.

Among other things, I have learnt is that I create barriers to intimacy.  I hadn't realised it but I had erected 'his' and 'mine' barriers.   I wasn't always playing on the same team as Dirk - I was playing on my team!  I needed to win.  Marriage isn't just about love.  Sometimes it can be about power and I've chosen the power route from time to time:  I've wanted to be Right.  Being right means he must be Wrong.  How is that a good or kind way of treating another human being?

None of this is easy to see in myself.  But it is honest.  Being right is not necessarily inappropriate, but what is important is the How.  Am I right because I am factually correct?  Or am I right because I want to win?  In the subjective issues of life, there is no right or wrong.

When two people are very different, the challenge is to make it less about right, wrong and the journey of power, and more about dialogue and the journey of respect, negotiation and compassionate understanding.

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