A Crippling Disease
Jealousy is one of the character flaws that I think is among the most detrimental. Jealous individuals often have a bitter focus on others (and their accomplishments) with a deficit of focus on themselves. They become resentful of the talents, relationships, social status, possessions and abilities of others.
Jealous people want for themselves, what others have. And often they are gravely offended by the bestowal of blessings to those whom they find both undeserving and unqualified.
The jealous person often looks upon others and resolves to himself that they are arrogant or conceited in their fortune, even when such is not the case.
The jealous person can become so disturbed in his own sour feelings, that in his mind, a new and fictitious narrative develops. In the narrative, the blessed person has neither earned his fortune, nor worked hard or sacrificed. The narrative states that the talents of the gifted are not so special at all and that the praise and fame has come from fraud, deception or just pure luck.
Additionally, and in support of his narrative, the jealous person begins using innuendo to suggest to others that the blessed person is not who they represent themselves to be at al. He suggests that by cheating alone could one be so successful.
A jealous person is someone who is so poisoned in his own mind that his mindset perverts his actual reality.
He sees himself as mistreated or somehow victimized by the praise and recognition others receive. He asks why no one is noticing him and answers that there must be some conspiracy against him. He sees others as favored over him due to nepotism or bias on the part of others.
The jealous person does not consider or accept that the blessed person is genuinely gifted in the field in which he shines. Often he will discount his own accolades, praise or accomplishments as small in comparison to what he perceives of others.
A jealous person can become so insane in his mind that he may bargain with God to cut short the favor he sees unfairly granted to others.
Jealousy is an extremely toxic feature in a person. Moreso, it becomes destructive because seldom does the jealous person confine his animosity to himself. He campaigns to sway others to his way of thinking by spreading slander and rumors.
A person is vulnerable to jealousy when he or she lacks a strong foundation in who and what they are. Jealous people are typically insecure, fearful, lacking in confidence and have a poor self image. When we have a firm knowledge of our strengths and weaknesses, and ACCEPT who we are; we don’t do easily entertain the negative emotion of jealousy. Jealous people compare and compete with others instead of seeking to live well and thrive because it is simply the right way to co-exist.
Jealous tendencies start in childhood. This is why it is important that we rear our children with a strong love of themselves AND an appreciation of others. We should always point out their own gifts and talents as they manifest. But when we do so, it should not occur in comparison to their peers or siblings. We must intercept the notion they are in competition with others but rather that they are in competition with their own personal best.
In this way, we help them focus on their own character, talents and areas of personal improvement.
In Islam, we are taught to want for our brother and sister what we want for ourselves. I append that statement. “We are to want for our brother and our sister what we want for ourselves--even if we have not attained it yet.” It is easier to support other’s gains when they have not yet surpassed our own. However, I've often noticed people’s pain over other’s accomplishments simply because they’ve attained them first. They feel ‘beaten’ or ‘left behind’ and grieve for themselves. But we must recognize that it is in our community’s best interest that we all succeed and thrive in whatever order it occurs. When we each strive to do our best, it helps us all.
Jealousy is a blinding and crippling disease. I’ve watched others make themselves sick with hatred for their brother or sister’s success. It has no place in progressive culture. Still, it is a hurdle in character which is hard to overcome.
Because of this, I believe we must inoculate our youth early by helping them take accountability for their own gains and failures and encourage them to support the success of their peers. By being examples ourselves in supporting those amongst us who are progressive, the battle is already halfway won.
I recently attended a premier conference hosted by Happy Black Woman. Rosetta Thurman, founder of the company, is the sort of black woman that I love. She is a woman who wants for her sisters, what she wants (and has) for herself. She is extremely unselfish and incredibly generous.
Rosetta’s story goes like this: She was born the daughter of a teen mom who struggled with financial limitations. Her father was estranged, then died early. Rosetta grew up achieving and after graduating college, went on to work in the non-profit sector.
Inside her heart and mind though, was a real desire for entrepreneurship. She had a yearning for more than the daily 9-5 grind, even though she was very good at her work.
She began blogging and her content was compelling enough that she became a sought after speaker. When it became clear that her day job was an obstacle to her ultimate freedom, she left and has not worked for anyone but herself since.
Early on Rosetta was chided for naming her company ‘Happy Black Woman.’ Critics said that black women didn't have the money to be profitable clients. They even said 'happy' black women do not exist. Well Rosetta has proven both statements false.
She attests that her journey has had both hills and valleys, yet she has not regretted going on her own. Rosetta’s ‘Happy Black Woman’ has already earned over one million dollars and she is successfully living a location independent lifestyle and answering to only herself.
The most beautiful part of this story is that she is helping other black women do the same.
When you attend a ‘Happy Black Woman’ event, you do not get hype and fluff. Rosetta is pragmatic and efficient. Her content is the same. She is a skillful listener and very capable of helping women identify their strengths and weaknesses. And with her insight and prompting, she helps women clarify their own thinking and identify next steps. I’ve watched her do this live.
Rosetta shares her own journey and admits that training, coaching and mentorship is a must as she herself has mentors and coaches. She also encourages the women at her events to partner with each other, not only for services but also for accountability partnerships.
At the latest Launch Your Business event I met amazing women from across the country who are doing great things. Over the three day conference we developed friendships and support networks realizing that what Rosetta has ultimately created and given us is a sorority. Because of her love of black women and desire to see each of us free and prosperous, she facilitates wonderful programs where we not only learn but we connect with other like-minded, 'happy' women.
I especially love the way in which Rosetta empowers black women. Personally, I am very guarded against the ‘independent-don’t-need-no-man’, ‘I-can-do-bad-by-myself’ black woman messaging that is so pervasive. I believe this has been detrimental and ill-serving to our communities. But this is the very opposite tone of Rosetta’s programs. She wants black women to have it all-in whatever way they define that.
Wanting for her sisters what she wants for herself allows no room for competition, only accountability. Therefore Rosetta impresses upon women that laziness, self pity and limiting mindsets are not features of a woman who wants a different life than that which she is living. To have something different, we can’t continue with the same habits and to be better, we must do better-this is part of her message.
I am grateful for Rosetta Thurman and Happy Black Woman. I am grateful for her boldness and conviction to choose such a wonderful name for her company and for her absolute love of black women that makes her strive to empower them with the information, tools and resources to truly live freely.
You might say that I am in the Rosetta Thurman fan club. I admit that you would be right. I am a fan of any black woman who walks her talk in the way of genuinely supporting other black women and girls. Rosetta is clear on the socio-economic impacts in our communities. She understands our history. And with this knowledge, she stands strong against suggestions both open and subtle that impose limits on the success black women and their families can achieve.
Rosetta connects women to resources who could help them beyond her own skill set. She does not presume or pretend to know it all and therefore she gladly shares her stage with others who are experts in their particular fields. And this- to me- is love.
If you ever have an opportunity to attend a Happy Black Woman event, it would be a gift that you give to yourself.
In the meantime, visit HappyBlackWoman.com and check out the Happy Black Woman podcast on itunes or via the website. Then you too, will be in the Rosetta Thurman fan club.
Allow me to take the liberty to share my latest-created phrase and its meaning: The Hindsight Guru.
The Hindsight Guru is the individual whose life has been compromised by repetitive error. This individual is typically 27+ years old (but can be younger) and is not living close to his potential -nor is he in progression to living his ideal life.
The Hindsight Guru can be male or female and can present in a variety of ways. They can be found in low wage pay, if employed, but earnings are not sufficient to live comfortably. Another presentation of the Hindsight Guru is as a person with one or more children, with one or more partners but no satisfying long term partnership or marriage.The Hindsight Guru may also be battling disease, incarcerated or is an ex-con.
The most defining trait of the Hindsight Guru is the wisdom he shares (often unsolicited.) Despite their habit for redundant blunder, the Hindsight Guru has nearly all the answers to living a successful, healthy and prosperous lifestyle. And despite the effectiveness of the knowledge they share-when applied, it is currently unapplied in his own personal life.
Although never self employed, the Hindsight Guru, will advise entrepreneurs. Despite multiple failed relationships, the Hindsight Guru will give counsel to engaged or married couples. The Hindsight Guru may even try to coach budding student athletes or critique organizations, despite having never participated in sports or structured group activity.
And when the Hindsight Guru is asked where his wisdom is reflected in his own lifestyle or history, he will often begin explaining the historic socio-economic conditions that prevented him from engaging in said wisdom. Or the Hindsight Guru who is an expert in relationships may begin explaining how all of their previous mates were ill-suited for a happy partnership. And the Hindsight Guru who is an organizational expert will clarify that people rarely appreciate his genius and are often jealous of him.
It is easy to look back and recognize mistakes and missteps and how they’ve impacted our lives. And it can be instrumental to share the lessons of one’s experience with others. However, there is always a cautionary tale with the Hindsight Guru to which we must pay attention.
As a parent, no one wants the guidance they give their children wasted in the gutter of youthful rejection and experimentation. And no parent wants their children to have their clearest vision come as a result of painful consequences and inactivity.
But as much as parents exhaust themselves in providing the best in access, resources and information; ultimately the choices children make with their lives are not in our control. And this is something with which we must come all come to peace.
As a mother of two teenage sons, I observe them navigating their world as the tether I have to them lengthens. They are surrounded by positive influences and opportunity. Still, as young black men, they are also targets of both active and passive influencers of mediocrity. Distractions clutter their path to encourage recklessness, indifference and failure.
These distractions and influencers, near and far, are among the greatest enemies of purposeful parents. Therefore, truth and its consequences continue to be refrains in my dialogue with them. I warn them profusely of the distaste of Hindsight Gurus, who didn’t and couldn't utilize their wisdom in their own youth.
I recognize that credible messengers have their place. But just as there are messengers with records of failures, there are also messengers with records of success.
And I, like all other parents, want them to study the wisdom of the successful in their present lives to foster bright and beautiful futures for themselves and for others.
Nurah strives to enlighten, empower and engage her readers with the wealth of knowledge she has gained from her own experiences and those of others from whom she has learned.