Maxim Monday: Be jealous of no one

Welcome back to my Maxim Monday series, where we look at the values and advice given by the Delphic Oracle. We’re only about half way through all of the Delphic Maxims!

“Be jealous of no one” – this is great advice, for all spheres of life. Wanting what another a person has can be quite motivating or inspiring. What causes problems is the negativity and resentment that can come with wanting what other people have. If we start dwelling on what others have, we start to view our own possessions or qualities through a lens of lack. I have witnessed people sink into a victim mentality – some one always is ahead of them, they’re always left behind; others always have more, and what they have is never enough. This sucks the contentment out of life and prevents gratitude and joy from flourishing.

Allegory of Jealousy by Luca Ferrari

Jealousy, with the resentment and bad feelings it breeds, can hinder all of our relationships and ultimately derail what might otherwise have been positive goals of attainment. Any sphere of life can and should be guarded from jealousy: home and family, friendships, our professional lives, and…… our religious/spiritual/magical lives.

I see jealousy sprout its ugly head in the wider Pagan communities from time to time, usually when people start talking about Big Name Pagans (BNP). Sometimes I see people pretending to be more advanced or bigger deals than they really are, and this too is a form of jealousy – wanting the perceived esteem or experiences others have. While I think most of us engage in some form of ‘fake it til you make it’ at some time or other, and we should absolutely critique the BNP phenomenon, if for no other reason than to help keep our community leaders and representatives accountable, there is often more than a hint of jealousy expressed in both of these expressions.

So how can we keep ourselves from feeling jealous of others? I have two suggestions: a practice of gratitude for the blessings we have been given (be they opportunities, people, or things) and focusing on our own work. Both of these suggestions keep us focused on our own lives and work, and creates space for further blessings. Why should the gods, our boss, our partners, or anyone else continue to gift us with opportunities if we are ungrateful for what we’ve already been given and then use or enjoy those gifts to their fullest extent?

So let us not be jealous of one another, but instead bring the fullness of our own experiences and blessings to the wider community. I have gifts that others may not have, and I’m certain you have talents and perspectives that I don’t have. There is no race to enlightenment, nor any trophy for being the Biggest, the Best, or having the Most.

Be jealous of no one.

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  • http://taurusathome.blogspot.com/ taurusathome

    This post really stood out to me. Last night I was trying to come to terms with some jealousy that has been occurring in my heart lately–I’m definitely going to give your two suggestions a try.

    Thanks for writing such an excellent blog. I’ve been following it for a few weeks now, but this post made me want to comment!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/awitchsashram/ A Witch’s Ashram

      Welcome! After posting I had another thought to add – the idea of the zero-sum game, that if some one else is beautiful, there is less beauty for me. Or money. Or happiness. It’s not true! Remembering that there is enough to go around so that both others AND myself can be happy, successful, sheltered, fed, etc is really important.

      I hope you can find some peace. Jealousy is such a niggling, destructive feeling.


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