I want to share something I’m not proud of, but first let me ask you a few questions that I hope you’ll ponder. Have you ever felt jealousy creep in when you’ve heard about another woman starting the same kind of business as you? Have you ever given precious brain space to fears that she’ll be more successful than you, and fear there isn’t enough to go around for everyone?
Don’t answer yet.
I’ll go first, with the part I’m not exactly proud of. About 6 years ago I opened and ran a yoga studio for 4 years. I birthed that studio out of a dream in my heart and zero start up capitol. Bootstrapping is not the best way to start a new business, but I had a strong desire to teach Yoga, and to create the type of studio I wanted to take yoga in.
I figured I could work hard enough to compensate for my lack of capital. 6 months after I opened, another yoga studio opened less than a mile down the street with a much larger budget, what seemed like the perfect location, and a similar vision.
I was learning capitol is just as important as my hard work, and I felt jealous of their seeming immediate success.
What’s worse is that I hated myself for the feelings of jealousy, fear and lack that I was experiencing.
I tried to hide them as much as I could. I was ashamed of myself because I thought it was bad and wrong of me to feel such hot, raw, jealously.
Have you ever felt Jealousy, fear or lack? If so, don’t push those feelings away, feel them and then ask yourself “how can I use those feelings to instead light my own candle?”
In my work now as a coach and positive psychology practitioner, I’ve learned feelings in and of themselves aren’t bad or good.
They’re only feelings. Feeling jealousy, lack or fear isn’t at all bad or wrong, because they’re just feelings. Research even shows that accepting negative emotions can be beneficial. The lead researcher Iris Mauss from a study at the university of California at Berkley and the university of Toronto found that “people who habitually accept their negative emotions experience fewer negative emotions, which adds up to better psychological health." I didn’t know it then, but by trying to hide and push away the feelings I was having I was making it worse.
Intuitively I knew then that I had to reroute my emotions and I thought maybe I could do so by teaching myself a lesson. I wanted to remind myself of the age-old saying, “blowing out someone else’s candle doesn’t make yours brighter” and I wanted to live by Robert Ingersoll’s words “we rise by lifting others”.
Out of my desire to change my mindset from fear and lack to one of abundance and celebration I created the “Wise Women Wednesday” blog series. Each Wednesday since September 2016 I’ve been interviewing women who I believe are doing something creative and living with an attitude of abundance. By celebrating women doing courageous and creative things I was able to embrace feel the feelings I had and not only move past them, but also grow from them.
Through the almost 2 years of posting this column I’ve come to learn something I had felt but didn’t yet truly know until I allowed myself to fully experience the feelings I was having. I learned that each and every one of us has deep wisdom to share and by supporting each other we all grow.
Coming back to my original question, have you ever felt Jealousy, fear or lack?
If so, don’t push those feelings away, feel them and then ask yourself “how can I use those feelings to instead light my own candle?”
The Buddha said “Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared”.
I’ll leave you the way I started, with a question.
How will you use feelings of jealousy and fear to light your own candle and shine so brightly you help light the candle of others?
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alisha Wielfaert is a leadership, life and creativity coach who specializes in working with women. She does this work because her purpose in life is to walk as a guide with fellow women seekers on their path towards clarity of purpose.
Alisha coaches individuals and groups, lead workshops to move them north of neutral, speak on topics to help others flourish, and lead retreats all over the world.