Be honest – have you ever felt jealous about someone else’s good fortune? Maybe it was years ago, maybe it was yesterday, but most people have experienced the feeling of wishing someone else’s success was our own.
In his classic book, “Light on Yoga,” Ashtanga yogi BKS Iyengar suggests we try to employ “maitri” or friendliness to overcome some of these reactions and connect more with others and the good around us. He notes that maitri is not just being a friendly person, but rather it is a feeling of being one with others. When we stop seeing others as different from ourselves, it becomes easier to share in the celebration of their happiness and achievements.
Another way to overcome some of these feelings is to consider if we have a worldview of abundance, or one of scarcity. If we see resources and opportunities as scarce, it is easier to become fearful that there won’t be enough for us. Often this fear is what lies beneath feelings of jealousy when others have what we want.
If we instead consider that there is enough for us all – whether that means love, friends, success – we can significantly change the way we see the world. This viewpoint of abundance shifts how we feel when we see someone else making great progress. In fact, it has been reported that the poorest people in a society are often the most generous givers. Despite financial limitations, these givers wisely know how empowering it can be to recognize that we do have enough to share.
When we see that there is enough food, love, respect and achievement for everyone, it’s easier to feel connected and excited about their good fortune. Of course, we still have to work hard to achieve the things that we want for ourselves, but we can start to see those ahead of us on the path as inspiration rather than a reminder of the ground we have yet to cover.