I just learned a practice that changed my life. I know that sounds a bit extreme, but it’s true.
Three months ago, I had my first ever bout of body envy. It was awful. I’m a slim woman, but unlike my family, definitely not skinny. In fact, compared to the rest of my kin, I’m considered rather large. My nickname was Big Al. Seriously.
Through changes in my personal life, and getting a bit older, I gained weight. What’s worse, every trick I’d used to shed a few pounds mysteriously stopped working.
Unable to lose the weight, I spiraled down into a funk. I fretted about the extra pounds, I hated the belly flab, and I despaired over the heaps of clothes that no longer fit. I avoided social outings, and I felt pretty darn crappy.
Then the unthinkable happened. While at a public event, I saw a really fit woman walk by. I was immediately jealous. I couldn’t help it! It just screamed into my head and I felt the bitter, jagged wrath of envy. The more I looked at her, the more my jealousy grew.
Jealously means feeling envious of someone’s achievements and advantages. And I was! I thought “oh sure, she has time to workout.” And, “she obviously has better genes than me.” Basically, I was denying her accomplishments in an effort to make myself feel better.
I’d like to say I smartened up right away, but I didn’t. As the weight continued to stay, I continued to find more fit women to compare myself to, and the green-eyed monster grew and grew. It was a dark time.
Hawaiian Bless You
I’m all about constant self-improvement, and passing on useful tips to my readers and supporters. I’m not above finding help wherever it might decide to appear. While watching a video on finances, the speaker spoke briefly about a Hawaiian practice called “Bless You.” It was this simple practice that turned me around. This is how it works:
If someone has something that you want or desire, instead of being jealous of their success, say “bless you.”
Why? What you resist, persists. What you deny, you prevent.
When I was envious of all those maddeningly fit women, and I said – oh yeah, she can be fit – I automatically (and accidentally) sent a message to myself that I cannot be fit. By saying that she had better genes that allowed her to be fit, it meant that I had ‘bad’ genes that prevented me from being fit. By being jealous, I blocked the very thing I wanted most.
When I tried the Bless You practice, something changed inside me. I realized I needed to be happy for the women who had taken the time and effort to be fit. I needed to support their accomplishments by smiling and sending them a silent Bless You. I knew that by sending out good thoughts to them, I would send that same message back to myself.
And that’s what I did.
Thee next time I went shopping, I immediately saw a fit woman and I said silently – bless you. And I MEANT it! I silently congratulated her dedication to health and fitness, I applauded her healthy eating, and I admired her time management skills.
Holy! I couldn’t believe it. The jealousy was gone. I dug around a bit looking for it, but I couldn’t find it.
Why? Because I truly was happy for her. By being happy for her, I was able to invite that success into my own life. My thoughts went from “I can’t” to “I can.” I had positive thoughts like, “perhaps I can start running again,” and “I could sign up for that Pilates class I’ve been looking at.”
Instead of throwing vitriol on other’s, I paid attention to myself and realized my energy levels were drained. I saw my doctor, and discovered I was low in Vitamin B and D. How long was I feeling this way? I don’t know, because being jealous prevented me from focusing on myself and getting the help I needed.
A few weeks later, the scale started to move down again. I am slimmer, and my closet now holds more possibilities. I also feel so much better. I feel hopeful, and I like the reflection in the mirror despite not being my exact ideal weight.
Jealousy is a projection onto others of our greatest desires and needs, but it prevents us from looking inwards to help ourselves. The Bless You practice allows you to acknowledge what you want and need, and provides a way to bring it into your life.
But I’m not Jealous…
No problem, it still works. Take whatever goal you want to achieve, and find people who have already achieved it. Say Bless You, and admire everything you can about their success.
Let’s say you want to be a marketing specialist, but have little experience. Find someone in the profession you look up to and Bless Them. Admire the way they speak and hold themselves. Congratulate them on their career moves, or campaigns you liked.
Or, just let it be a feeling of joy. When you say Bless You, allow all the joy that YOU would feel if that was you, go out to the person you’re blessing. Then watch those same good feelings and thoughts come back to you.
Have you ever felt the sting of envy? If so, tell me about it in the comments below.