By Alecia Rice –
Q. It’s hard for me to face Valentine’s Day each year as a single woman with no romantic interest. How can I soften the effects of feeling that everyone has love in their life except for me? — Single Heart
A. Dear Single Heart,
This holiday can be challenging for both women and men, as well as single and partnered. When we’re on the single side of the fence with no romantic interest in sight, it can feel lonely while falsely appearing that everyone else is happily connected and in love. This illusion springs from comparison and projection. Our commercial greeting card culture seeds and perpetuates that notion. It’s good to remember that many partnered people, especially men, consider Valentine’s Day a hassle. They feel pressured to find a gift or create an experience that sends the “proper” message of affection and connection, sometimes without the anticipated result due to disappointment from another’s misaligned expectations.
Stepping back and detaching from the “holiday” of eros, or romantic love, allows us to infuse more meaning by practicing “agape,” transcendent and unconditional love for ALL. If this occasion is about “love”, let’s expand it from the “romantic partnered” conditioning and flow into a higher dimensional celebration of universal love. “Agape” is a higher vibrational love, which can be borne of sacrifice, leaving us feeling warmly engaged and meaningfully connected, as when we do for another without expectation or judgment.
I love my partner-free cousin’s way of reclaiming this special day for herself by inviting her favorite people over for dinner. This insures that she’s not alone and that she’s surrounded by people who love her. She feels the love of the holiday, although not necessarily the romantic love which is often overrated. A beautiful side effect is that people, who have never met, strike up new friendships through shared food and respectful conversation. It’s an empowering tradition that I highly recommend to those who feel lonely or at odds with feeling uncoupled.
Q. I’m ashamed to admit it, but sometimes I feel a weird irritation when a woman-friend close to me rocks an achievement. I know I’m authentically happy for her and don’t understand why I feel this way. Any insight? — Happy with Envy
A. Dear Happy with Envy,
There’s no shame here. This is something that happens frequently to females and males alike. When another steps out or is recognized in a big way, it can often trigger unconscious comparisons that feel similar to envy.
It’s important to differentiate between jealousy and envy for perspective. According to Psychology Today, “Envy is a two-person situation, while jealousy is a three-person situation. Envy is a reaction to lacking something, while jealousy is a reaction to losing something or someone.”
Sometimes we might feel envy, and at other times, it can merely be a mirror that reflects the progress of our own journey. If we feel a calling to be something more, and we witness others stepping more fully into themselves before we do, self-judgment can be triggered. This can feel like it’s about the other person, especially when the callings are similar, when it’s actually about us and the fact that we’d like to be further down our own road than we are.
If one finds themselves begrudging of another’s success, my recommendation is to step back, to get clear on what you’re really feeling. If the core of what you’re feeling is actually envy, this is an opportunity for you to work it out by applying consciousness to it.
Do you really not want that person to be where they are or do you just wish that you were there too? If it’s the former, this requires more guidance than I have space to address here. If it’s the latter, work with those feelings by applying a liberal dose of appreciation towards what they’ve achieved while using that as inspirational fuel to further propel yourself on your envisioned path.
Ask yourself what you resent or admire about this person’s accomplishment and figure out ways to alchemize or cultivate those energies within yourself towards your own success. What qualities do they have that you might also adopt to your benefit?
Walking a conscious path doesn’t mean that we’re above feeling triggered by base thoughts and emotions. What it does mean is that we’re consciously present with those feelings, while trying our best to separate out what we’re feeling and why. As the strands get separated out, we can see our wounded places more clearly and apply tools and practices to heal them and balance them out.
Alecia Rice integrates higher concepts with wisdom to bring forth balance, perspective, and clarity. She’s a personal advisor, speaker and gatherer of women. For perspective on personal issues, you’re invited to text questions and comments to 681-321-1109. Discussions continue at Ask Alecia on Facebook.