Confronting the Bullies of Fear and Envy

“He hates and loves the Ring, as he hates and loves himself. He will never be rid of his need for it.” (Gandalf about Gollum

I recently took up an old habit of meditation, during which time I made some interesting discoveries about myself. As I reflected on my inner life, I was quickly confronted by the old “bullies on my block”, certain fears that have haunted me for as long as I can remember. Upon closer examination, I discovered that my fears had company and that for every fear, there was corresponding envy to go with it. Hmm, I asked myself, “why is it that fear and envy appear to travel together?” I continued my investigation, taking a careful inventory of these bullies. I identified three basic insecurities:
1. I am afraid of the uncertainty of life.
2. I am haunted by my past losses and I dread future losses.
3. I am especially afraid of the pain associated with personal relationships, specifically the pain associated with being unwanted or rejected.

When I brought my fears out into the light for roll call, I began to see what envy was up to and how it was related to my fears. I saw that envy was a parasite, a termite feasting on the wood-pile of my fears. I could see how envy was feasting on my fear of uncertainty – for I envy those people who seem to be, more or less, managing their life in a predictable and rewarding way. I saw how envy was feasting on my fear of loss – for I envy those people who appear to be always gaining and rarely if ever losing.

I realized that while envy has a voracious appetite for fear, it especially savors the fear of being unwanted and rejected. Truth be told, I have always longed to be one of the “blessed” people, those celebrated for their “quality”; but my fear, of course, is that I am at best average and at worst, “no damn good” . . . and so envy continues to feast. I envy those people who are recognized and esteemed in ways that I can only dream of . . . and envy keeps feeding.

Envy feeds on my fears, becoming engorged and yet, strangely, my fears are neither consumed nor diminished. In fact, my fears continue to grow . . . what if people could hear these thoughts of mine? What if others knew how insecure I was? What if my friends could see how envious and petty I really was? (Delete > Move to Trash).

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