Envy is something that’s taken me a while to really understand, and yesterday I got such pristine clarity about it. The breakthrough is so freeing to me that I couldn’t wait to share it with you.
When a healthy person sees someone else doing or being something they want to do or be – a healthy person will try to emulate the other: learn the dance, upgrade their language skills, etc. If they don’t want to do what it takes to have what the other person has, they will simply admire the person and will be happy for them. I can relate to that way of perceiving others. That totally describes me.
On the other hand, when an envious person sees someone else being better than them or having more than them or feeling happier than them – the envious person wants to take them down (a notch or 2 or a few) because the other person’s happiness upsets them. Envy is at the heart of a narcissistic personality. A narcissist will actually envy someone’s warmth and kindness, and even their good-hearted nature. The kind person is usually unsuspecting, and has a hard time understanding why the envious party dislikes them so much. It can be quite confusing.
Self-doubt and Self-care
For a long time, I felt a strange sort of self-doubt about someone who envied me: I wondered if I envied him, too. He had things, skills and abilities that any normal person would envy. I didn’t think I felt envy. But the lack of clarity bothered me.
As part of self-care, every day, throughout the day, I do my best to articulate my inner experience as honestly as possible. This lets me release any stuck energy and set it free. This is important because holding onto negativity can really kick one’s inner arse.
So, for years I questioned whether I envied him or not and was never able to answer the question honestly until yesterday. This inquiry it didn’t take up a lot of my energy, but it was like a small hole in a boat or a small power leak. It wasn’t killing me but it didn’t feel good and I would wonder about it whenever the topic of envy would come up.
Well, yesterday I learned that Aristotle made a very clear distinction between envy and indignation. Envy, I already described. Indignation is the anger that comes with being treated unjustly or unfairly. BOOM! My relationship with this fellow had been very unjust. I was experiencing indignation. For years. And it was stuffed-stuffed-stuffed very deep.
Right in my belly.
The body speaks
In the last few weeks I felt imbalanced in the 2nd and 1st chakra areas. Bowel, bladder, stomach. I wasn’t sick but I could tell something wasn’t quite as it should be. So I paid attention, and that means that I repeatedly asked my body very gently, “What are you saying? What are you trying to tell me? I am doing my best to hear you. What is it you need?” Very similar to how I used to ask my dog what he needed when he wasn’t feeling well – with persistence, love, concern and kindness.
I’ve noticed that when I hold a gentle inquiry in mind, answers become available to me and they will often come out of nowhere. This was one of those experiences, and as I read the words Envy vs Indignation, I lit up like a Christmas tree. You know how you feel when a truth is spoken and your whole body stands taller and stronger? It was like that.
As soon as I named INDIGNATION, my gut/belly area actually felt stronger, clearer, more at ease. As though a power leak was sealed. I recalled the relationship with this person and realized that RIGHTEOUS ANGER was not allowed in that relationship. He was a narcissist. HIS anger and rage and fury was allowed. But no one else’s was. So, for years, I stuffed it. I did not do this out of stupidity, but out of savvy, security and safety. The problem was that long after the relationship was over, I forgot it was there.
Feelings are amazing. When they’re stuffed, they’re like high voltage that hits a weak spot in a wire and isn’t able to flow through into a light bulb which can be extremely dangerous. Energy has to flow somewhere.
So, now that I’m in touch with INDIGNATION regarding this person, does this mean that I need to walk around feeling INDIGNANT? No, of course not. It’s just that now, when indignation wants to reveal itself in me, I won’t automatically stuff it. I will be able to turn TOWARD IT kindly and lovingly, and see what it’s trying to tell me. Now I can work with it. Now it can be heard. Now it can be set free.
What this also released was SELF-DOUBT which was tangled up in the questioning about whether I was experiencing envy. Self-doubt is a product of pride, so I could drop that too. (I may have gone too far here in explaining this to you, but if you’re moving through it and it can help set you free, then that’s reason enough for me to keep it in.) More freedom.
Here is a statement of truth that you can repeat as you come to terms with any feelings you may have stuffed (due to fear, shame, gaslighting or caregiving):
I love my indignation and I am enough exactly as I am.
Replace “indignation” with whatever feeling you are learning to embrace.
Here’s what Christine Louis de Canonville says in her leading edge book, When Shame Begets Shame: How the Narcissist Hurts and Shames their Victims:
“Somatisations pose a major problem to the narcissistic victim’s general health as they involve both physical and psychological components. Many of the symptoms of their ill health are a direct result of their repressed trauma memories from their narcissistic abuse, usually from childhood. For example, a child might get severe cramps in response to the fear experienced by the narcissistic abuse, then as an adult, they may wake up with cramps for no apparent reason that the doctor can find. In this case, it is more likely that they are accessing repressed memories that they are not aware of, but their unconscious is now desperate to cleanse itself.
These clients with somatisation disorder will typically have visited many doctors in pursuit of effective treatment, and many informed doctors do recognise that often the underlying cause is emotional, and they are then likely to refer the person on to a clinician for psychological investigation. Very often the symptoms are cured once the underlying emotional cause is identified, and the repressed memory has had a chance to surface to be released in the safety of the therapeutic space. I have personally worked with several victims of narcissistic abuse who suffered for many years with irritable bowel syndrome. Basically, they were told by the medical profession that they had to learn to live with the condition, a condition that can be very debilitating for the sufferer. When we worked with their repressed memories (usually through clinical hypnosis and other forms of altered states) their symptoms virtually disappeared and became very manageable. In some cases, their symptoms completely disappeared, and they were rendered free from the abdominal pain, bloating, swelling and cramping that had become an everyday part of their life.
The body has its own alchemy for showing what ails it . . .”
I wish you happiness, health, and the freedom to include yourself in all the love you give.
At Joy-Based Living, we are helping people become better leaders. By tuning into your feelings and your body (your point-of-power), you will develop the skills of self-trust, discernment, clarity, healthy decision-making and inspired action. Joy-Based Living is love in action, and this is the heart of great leadership.
If you like this post, you’ll LOVE the Joy-Based Living 12 Practices E-book: