Some will say that what I'm talking about here doesn't exist in their life. They've evolved out of it or never felt it, never thought like this, nor associate with people like this. They may say that anyone who thinks like this or knows people like this, brings it upon themselves for being in such a circle of mentality.
They won't need this post.
But I'm going to be honest here, and talk about two things that exist in the world, jealousy and insecurity. We see something, we want it -- it's not a nice feeling. It's close to either anger or depression, depending on how you react to it. It's easy to be happy for someone when good things happen to them if you like them and they're your friend, but if it's someone you don't know or if it's more of someTHING that you wish for yourself or your family, that could make it harder to high five that universe that's smiling on this person right now.
Why is there jealousy? Years ago, during a Sociology 101 class in college, our professor told us there is a biological need filled by every human behavior. When we studied jealousy, envy, coveting, what we learned made sense. Our textbook explained that in cave-dwelling primitive times, physical assessment and determination by others about others, was necessary to weed out any threats to our well-being and survival. We had to guard our offspring, make sure we populated. We had no Whole Foods to run to for our mastodon meat and we needed to fiercely keep our meat provider for ourselves. We had to watch and guard and whatever else we needed to do so that we could stay alive and multiply.
If another person was considered a threat to this, our brain put us on high alert. Guard guard guard! The possibility of losing our life partner was everything. When a woman needed a man to bring down a mammoth to feed her children, she had to watch out for any risk. When a man could lose the caretaker of his children or the source of his offspring, it was a threat to his lineage. All so Paleolithic and club-thumping, I know.
But that was jealousy's purpose: protection. Do we still need jealousy now? We still have it. Jealousy for some is closely tied to insecurity, painfully making them question their abilities. For others, it runs along the same vein as loss of social position, no longer being Top #1 and tumbling down out of choice offers and status. Then there is the straight out covet. We want it, prizes, awards, looks, money, status, title, accolades, power, IT. Do we still need to feel envy? Because it's there, rearing its head, instinctively.
Is our biological evolution flawed in this area?
With awareness, can we change the instincts that fly to our brains faster than our ability to talk it through. Rather than being scared or sinking low because our minds tell us someone is better, we can reprogram that millions-of-years-old behavior and wipe out that message that shouts threat threat threat.
If we all aspire, do the work and put in the time, then we can't help but get better at anything we do. I know that for some, that thought provides little comfort – the fall back is to resist change, because change is work, and look how easy it is to be led by trigger emotions and blame it on circumstance, situation, other people. Unfairness. Even if it is true.
If you've made it this far in this post, let me take the words out of your mouth, What the heck brought this on? I'm writing this for myself as much as I'm writing it for anyone reading it. Right now, I'm battling with the insecurity of seeing parents pulling out all the stops for their kids this summer. Caribbean vacations, thousand dollar camps, backyard parties with catered menus, day adventures that run in the hundreds of dollars. I can't do this. Each of my children have their dreams, and the years go by with time shrinking the chance to ever give them what they hope for. The oldest has talked of Hawaii since he was five. After the middlest saw the shores of Sanibel Island on a PBS kids' show, he'd share the exact types of seashells he'd look for. And my youngest, asking for Disneyland, meanwhile, his height inches closer to my 5 foot 5 inch frame. I feel the visceral sting of not being able to set the stage for memories and a childhood that I imagine other children will have, that when compared to the flat memories my mind tricks me into believing will be my children's -- some days, it does me in. My shoulders droop. A not so nice dialogue runs through my head.
I've made a decision, that this instinctive thread of jealousy and insecurity that live on a specific strand of Neanderthal club-wielding DNA is not going to win. As if I haven't evolved in two million years.
I don't have a cave mind and if I need meat, there's a Whole Foods eight minutes away.
"A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms." - Sensei Ogui
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