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How to Heal Self-Defeating Habits of Avoidance & Jealousy to Choose a Healthier Creative Life

Updated: Apr 25, 2019

Kristena West M.A. all material is copyright© excerpts from new Book

All creatives have their favorite techniques to stop themselves from going forward and exploring and opening to life. We have designed many delaying tactics, and avoidance techniques for "Doing the Work" - this holds true for doing that painting, sketching that portrait, making those gallery connections, we stop forward motion to promote our creative journey. We all have ways in which we put off doing something, don't we? We say to ourselves, "Oh,  I'll do that next week."  or "Yes that's on my To Do List!" or "I gotta have some time off, read a mystery book, watch T.V., get lost on Facebook..... sound familiar? We will do anything and reconstruct our lives in our mind so THAT ONE THING will never get done. 

Another thing we all do is Make Great Plans to take our Work, our Talent, our Gifts, our Creativity and bring these to the world as a path of self-empowerment and a follow-your-bliss self-employment. This is I will sell my Art! I will make a living teaching how to plant gardens, I will be a life coach, I will be a spiritual guide, I will write that book, I will I will I will I will. And yet, somehow these plans do not launch or get off the ground. 

And along the way, we look at all those OTHER's who seem manifested in their lives and livelihood, their careers are taking off and they look like they have Made It. And in our interior, we can shift into the emotion of the Three-Headed Monster of Jealousy or Envy. Jealousy is felt when comparing ourselves to others. Jealousy or Envy, is one of the most potent combustable emotions and the one (next to pride/arrogance) that people will deny they feel. It makes us feel guilty and ashamed, and what else? Less than. 

• I am less successful • I have less power • I make less money • I am less manifested in the world • I have less self-esteem  • I feel less than YOU

Jealousy or envy is really fury directed at self. It is an attack of self-hatred,  a personal attack on ourselves for not doing what we know has to be done, but we inwardly refuse to do, which is then vented outward to those who are bringing their gifts to the world.

Jealousy Envy you have what I want

The thorn of jealousy is inwardly felt when we compare ourselves with the Other. Jealousy and Envy are extreme potent feelings that surge and boil within us. Jealousy begins with the recognition that another is living a greater degree of authenticity than we are choosing to live.

Jealousy is born from a refusal to take responsibility for our choices, or our not-choices (saying No to Life). Our no's to those creative life choices, which fill us with deep pain of knowing that we have chosen to dismiss and walk away from our true selves.  And in order to make ourselves feel better about our lack, we project our venom outwardly on teachers, artists, creatives that are manifesting in an authentic way.  If we can make them wrong, or try to control them or destroy their work, we can feel superior. 

A shaman friend of mine once said, "People want power. When they see you have it, they don't know that you earned it, and they will do everything they can to take it from you, while trying to destroy you." 

And after denying other people's personal power, we can become arrogant. Arrogance or narcissism is opposite to healthy self-esteem.   Arrogant people act as if they know everything, and anything that contradicts what they believe is either evaded or rejected.

As a teacher of inner-soul work, and in my teacher training courses (teacher-training for men and women who want to hold groups) I have experienced many examples of hostile take-over attempts. 

I have had students try to take over my class, re-direct exercises, challenge my direction and act aggressively competitive towards me. They may have some higher education, study in life coaching or spiritual direction, or artistic training, but they are desperately needy and demand attention. Or they may ask to me to change the class format to suit their attention needs! This sucks the life out of the group. These people when given a boundary, will refuse to do the work or self-eliminate.

This is the shadow side of therapy, teachers and creatives. They have not done the inner work necessary to overcome themselves and are like rabid dogs in their interior world looking for power outside of themselves, a teacher to align with for some reflected "power" and then destroy them.  

The Antidote to Jealousy is Kindness

So the what is the way out of this twisted inner labyrinth ? The Secret Key to Healing when we are feeling Jealousy or Envy? How do we release and heal this tight clenching of loss, self-hatred and projection onto others? 

By being Kind. By accepting. We have to accept that yes, we do feel these shameful feelings. We recognize our feelings and accept that we are projecting them onto others. We have to be kind to ourselves, and make amends to others by apologizing to those we have hurt. 

But how do we get from shadow projection to acknowledging our actions?

Now that is the tricky bit. One of the ways I have students do this is have them interview people and ask some questions about how they are perceived. In a good way and in a truthful way. It is so difficult to really see ourselves. But if we can ask this question of others we hold in some esteem and trust their answers, this is what is really needed to take a chisel to our rock of denial. 

But, if we can accept ourselves and feel healthy shame, we can heal and be kind to ourselves and others. What is healthy shame? Shame is a real legitimate emotion, and a way that our conscience tells us when we are out of line. Healthy shame is felt when we accept that we have been hateful to others, we have negated their talents, gifts and life journey in order to make ourselves feel better about our lack of self-esteem, a weight is lifted from our heart and shoulders. 

By taking responsibility for our interior world and our exterior behaviors, we release the negative emotions that have poisoned our soul. 

The other thing is to take a long hard look at our "Dreams" our "Follow Your Bliss"  life path projections. And accept that perhaps the reason we have not tried, is a fear of failure, or that we have already tried and failed. 

Perhaps what we have really been afraid of, is that we are Not in fact born to be a Teacher. Or the Artist that is going to be the next New-Thing, or a life-coach or spiritual guide worth any merit. Because we have not learned how to fill our inner well so that we can give to others out of our inner bounty. This is a brave act of acceptance, and is  also is being kind to ourselves. 

If we have been holding up an ideal that is false to our true self, letting that fantasy dissolve allows us to be, to just be. And we may discover, that we are enough. 

Now this is "The Work." The inner work that bring health and healing back into your creative life. 

1. What goal or dream am I holding onto that has outlived it's merit for my life? 

2. What am I constantly trying to prove to others? 

3. How do I dismiss or discount others gifts?

4. How do I present myself to others? What are the titles I give myself?

5. What is true and what is false about these ideas or ways of being perceived? 

6. What can I let go of?

and then New questions will appear

1. How do I fill my well in healthy ways? 

2. What is a realistic dream for my time of life and circumstances?

3. Are there other ways that I can bring my gifts in a more managable avenues?

4. What kindness can I give to those whom I have hurt? 

Every human soul,  unless enlightened,  feels jealousy or envy at some points in life. All we can do is pay attention to our actions, listen to our hearts and be honest with ourselves. Then, weed out our bad habits and be kind to others, and be kind to ourselves.