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ajealousI had a conversation recently with someone who had received word that an old friend had died. They had lost touch some years ago, primarily perhaps because this younger woman was not able to allow what she saw as competition for the “best friend” designation in the relationship. We spoke of the sad and destructive power of jealousy. I was reminded of the conversation this morning by Meg Wheatley as I opened to a page on the subject of jealousy from her book, Perseverance. I thought it a worthy topic for reflection since the subtlety of its appearance can cause great harm if we don’t pay attention to our feelings and recognize the need to cultivate its opposite: generosity. Here’s what she says:

Jealousy and generosity are reverse images of one another. In response to any circumstance one or the other will arise, guaranteed. Since they inhabit the same space, only one can appear at any time; they cancel each other out. Jealousy arises as generosity disappears, generosity flourishes as jealousy is stilled…

As closely connected as jealousy and generosity are, they create very different consequences. If jealousy predominates, we turn inward, shrivel our hearts, and lose strength. If generosity grows, we grow also. Our world expands. We realize there’s enough to go round. We realize we don’t need everything we thought we did. The world in general feels more reliable, more trustworthy, more enjoyable…

The world expands from the inside out – it’s our hearts that have enlarged. We not only feel more loving, we’re also more open and aware. We see more, we take in more, we let in more.

Jealousy is such a waste of a good human heart.