I have a strong pattern around “envy”.
It’s partly the background I grew up in. Back in Argentina, people will resort to anything to put on airs and graces, trying to impress everyone, while they simultaneously lose their sh!t whenever someone has something they don’t.
Putting on airs, losing their sh!t. Rinse, repeat.
It’s not a pretty sight, or a healthy state of mind to be in.
It’s mostly seen on insecure people. And most always on *women*.
People turn nasty. Manipulative. Heartless.
They will grab onto anything to impress other people.
Including their own offspring.
“My child goes to Yale” “oh, yeah? Well mine goes to Harvard“.
That kind of thing.
People turn their own children into yardsticks with which to measure their own worth, and beat other people with…
Like I said. Nasty.
I was very envious as a child
It’s only to be expected, since I am a Highly Sensitive Person with no boundaries.
I envied to the nth degree. Every girl who had Barbie’s house, Barbie’s motorhome, Barbie’s horse…
Every kid who had been to Disney World.
I was modelling the envy pattern I saw around me.
Then something happened. I was chided for being envious.
Yes. In a culture where everyone envies everyone else, where people are permanently putting on airs and losing their sh!t, *I* was singled out.
It meant that while other people put on airs and graces, I learned to “play small”.
I hate competition
Growing up, I hated competition. I would rather lose than compete with others.
You know when you play boardgames with your friends and all of a sudden they lose their entire sh!t because they are “losing” or they are “winning”? I hate that.
Suddenly they are no longer your friends, they are these neurotic hydras losing their marbles because you landed on a piece of cardboard that says “you win a house”. Or something.
Competition takes away from the game, in my opinion.
Now as a grown up, I am sick and tired of competing with others. I am tired of being around people who lose their sh!t, ie: go into their stuff, whenever they perceive that I am doing “better” than them, or that I have something that they don’t.
My envy is mostly under control now… but other people’s isn’t
Thanks to my mindfulness practice, I can now notice when I feel envy.
It’s unpleasant, yes, and I truly wish it wasn’t there.
But I can notice it and let it be. I can bring peace. And sometimes, I can even muster a smile.
After a few years o this, my envy is mostly under control.
And for the first time ever, I can see other people’s envy.
I can actually notice when other people envy me.
When they put on airs trying to impress me, or when they lose their sh!t because they think I have something that they don’t.
It is actually hilarious that anyone would envy me. I still have “nothing” and I’m still so “small”.
But it’s not about me. It’s about their stuff.
It’s about their own insecurities. Their own egos saying “you must be #1 at everything”.
A fancy looking box of old tea
My friend gave me a fancy looking box of old tea. The tea isn’t all that exciting, made even less so by the fact that it’s a couple of years old.
But the box looks fancy.
When I brought it back to the flat, I actually considered hiding it because I imagined [person] would be impressed by it and would immediately go into their stuff. I didn’t hide it, because it would have been unsovereign, and they did go into their stuff.
Then someone else showed up and I offered them some tea. They downplayed the tea, and I jumped in trying to up-play it. (I mean, it belonged to my friend, and I’m not cool with someone implying that my friend’s tea is below par).
Can you smell the neurosis of it all? People going into their stuff because I have something, me going into my stuff because I have something, me caring about other people going into their stuff…
I am done with this neurosis.
From envy patterns to “playing small”
This is the subconscious thought that I must have arrived at, in order to escape all this drama:
“If I have nothing, then nobody will envy me“.
It sounds like a safe deal. “If I have less than everyone around me, then nobody will envy me. Oh, sure, I will envy *them*, but that’s OK, because I can deal with my own pain, I know I won’t hurt anyone”.
Cue in a decade of having “nothing” and playing small.
Then I was doing an impromptu meditation, when this came up:
“I am carrying everyone else’s projections of themselves“.
We are the relationships between us.
People cannot feel “big” without other people perceiving them as “big”.
And that’s what I’ve been doing.
Thinking about everyone as “big”, because that’s what they want.
Thinking of myself as “small-er”, because then they get to see themselves as “big”.
If this neurosis made people happy, it wouldn’t be a problem. (well…)
But it doesn’t make them happy. My carrying their projections only strengthens their ego-stuff-neurosis about how they must be bigger than others, all the time, at everything, or else.
I shrink so they can feel bigger, but they want more. So I have to shrink further…
“Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.” Marianne Williamson
The way I phrase it: other people need to feel bigger than you, at all times. Or they lose their sh!t.
I don’t know to which extent I have been playing small so that other people would feel “bigger”… so that they will keep hanging out with me because who doesn’t like to feel “bigger”?
Which might be why I’ve been playing the part of “the saddest, most pathetic, most neurotic of them all” for the benefit of everyone’s “LOLs”.
I can’t play that part anymore…
How am I practicing?
- First, I’m going to stop carrying other people’s projections.
So they want me to think of them as “big”? OK. That’s what they want, and they are allowed to want it.
But I’m going to make the conscious choice of thinking of them as “human”.
I can understand that they want to feel “big”, that they want me to think of them as “big”.
AND I don’t have to carry this perception for them.
- Second, I am going to actively practice not seeing myself as “the saddest, most pathetic, most neurotic of them all”.
This is challenging. Because the monsters (ie: inner critic voices) have plenty of evidence on how “everyone else is doing better than me”, and how “I am doing worse than everyone else”.
I’m gonna practice letting that be the case, without having it mean I am “smaller” or “less than”.
I’m just someone following a different path.
One last wish
I hope that by not carrying people’s ego-based projections, and by not shrinking and “playing small”, we will all be healthier.
It’s not good to be caught up in either needing to be “big” or needing to be “small”.
They are two sides of a very unhealthy pattern.
And I hope that by refusing to play in that story, I and everyone I interact with will find a much healthier story to play.