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Jealousy With a Halo

Posted by Julia Stewart

There's a great quote by H. G. Wells that you may have heard before. I came across it again, recently:

"Moral indignation is just jealousy with a halo."

Boy, is that ever true and have I been guilty of it, sometimes! Actually, it's something that most coaches are guilty of on frequent occasions, especially when it comes to each other.

Coaches know that everyone is doing their best (Or, as they say at CTI, "Nobody gets to be wrong.") and we usually remember this when we're with our clients, but we can be a bit judgmental when it comes to other coaches.

Especially if we're feeling slighted or overlooked, while someone else is out there basking in the limelight.

Here's the phrase that I most often hear: "So-n-so is so out of integrity!" That's coach-ese for, "I'm passing judgment on this person, but I want to sound enlightened while I do it."

We're the community that believes that integrity always comes first. Unfortunately, we tend to remember that most when it comes to other coaches. What we forget is that it's our own integrity that we need to mind, not someone else's.

I have to admit that I've used this phrase, myself, so I'm not exactly guilt-free. (Ouch! I hate it when I'm flawed!)

But like most negative energy, it's easier for us to feel it when it's aimed us. When we're the ones doing the aiming, it actually feels pretty good!

That's how I became aware of the phrase, "So-n-so is so out of integrity!" because occasionally, that phrase gets aimed at me! Do you hear the moral indignation in it? When it happened I thought, "Well that's pretty judgmental!" Which, of course is just another judgment, but it gave me the opportunity to feel right, again.

I don't know about you, but I don't want to go through life wearing a "jealousy halo". The problem is that the line between discernment, which is vital and judgment, which just keeps us stuck in our egos, is so faint that we often cross it before we've realized it.

It has to be in order for us to continue going around in that fog called,I'm-right-and-they're-wrong, which clouds our reality but feels oh so comfy to our egos.

So the answer is, no doubt, to get our egos out of the way, but that's easier to say than to do.

They've been trying that in the field of psychology for decades, but have you ever noticed the number of pejorative terms that have filtered from psychology into modern usage? Terms that originally had the neutral tone of professionalism, like moron and idiot, have become common playground insults.

And then there's the ever popular, "So-n-so is so neurotic!" Yep, I've used that one, too.

And some folks have created rules that can help get the ego out of the way like, focus on the action, not on the person. In Christianity that translates into "Love the person, hate the sin." 

I think regardless of the rules and words we use, egotistical judgments can easily creep into our comments and the people we're aiming them at will notice it before we do.

Judging others comes out of feeling bad. It's a way of off-loading our bad feelings and it creates a nice little fiction for us: "I'm just fine, but So-n-so has problems!" We feel better and make up a story to support why we feel better.

So if we don't dump those feelings on others, what do we do with them?

We can acknowledge our feelings. And experience them. It feels bad to be left out, just like it feels bad to be judged. End of story.

That's discernment. It has integrity and it is enlightened.

When your true feelings have fully registered with you, they will move on. And the information that you receive from your true feelings will help you create a life you really want.

Copyright, 2005, Julia Stewart

Topics: Coaching, Coaches, judgment, integrity

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