Mystical Matters: When Karma Complicates Relationships

Dear Kajama:

I love the work you do here, and love reading the advice you give. I have an old friendship, which has always had its karmic marks. It has always been competitive. In fact, this childhood friend competes with me more like a sibling would. I feel like she is jealous when I receive blessings, and likewise I can admit that I feel a nagging (and negative) desire to squelch her pursuits. For this reason, I just try to respect our differences and let the relationship die, but she seems determined to continue making contact. I feel all of my growth and wisdom I’ve learned over my 37 years goes out the window when dealing with her. I feel like I revert to some very childish behavior and perspectives, and wonder what the lesson might be in all of this. (The immature part of me is too proud and stubborn to look entirely at what this relationship is pointing out to me.) I am willing to do the work to spiritually rise above it, but I keep stumping myself and blocking myself from seeing what I need to do here. What do you think?
Jane

Dear Jane:

First, I applaud you! I sense a great deal of spiritual maturity in your letter, for I can feel how you are really willing to face your shadow side, by which I mean those thoughts and feelings that you yourself find less than admirable. I also want to reassure you that everyone finds it challenging to wish someone well when we know that that person begrudges us our own happiness. So my first bit of advice to you is to not be so hard on yourself. What you’re feeling is perfectly normal. Once you are able to make peace with the way you really feel, you will be empowered to transmute it into something higher.

As we spiritually evolve, we naturally change in some key ways. For one thing, we naturally become more kind, compassionate and loving. We also figure out that what we send out into the world comes back to us, and that we are all creating our own realities. These changes naturally lead us to no longer envy others, but instead, to wish for them all the blessings we desire for ourselves.

Not everyone is on this same page, of course. In order to make peace with someone who wishes us ill, it’s really helpful to understand WHY they feel the way they do. People who take pleasure in others NOT getting what they want in life tend to have some traits in common. They:

  • are afraid that they will never get what they want most in life
  • have a deep seated belief that life is or at least can be unfair
  • feel personally powerless to change their lives for the better

When we keep in mind that this is where these people are coming from, it becomes much easier to feel compassion for them rather than anger or annoyance. (I would NEVER want to go back to feeling afraid and powerless all the time!)

I have an important relationship in my own life that is much like the one you mention. I have a friend I really love who is a lot of fun to be around, who in the past often wished me ill. (She still does now and again.) I don’t mean she prayed for bad things to happen to me: I mean that when something great happened for me, her first reaction was not to be happy for me, but to feel bad for HERSELF and to think, That’s not fair, she gets everything! When things went badly for me, even though on the surface she may have seemed sympathetic, deep down I could feel her LOVING the fact that my life wasn’t so perfect after all.

This is one of those times when being psychic can be said to be a blessing and a curse, as I’m sure you understand, for it’s clear that you are sensing what’s happening beneath the surface as well. To put this bluntly, picking up on her wishing me ill really felt awful. It was something I struggled with a lot. I also found myself sometimes sinking down to her level, so even though I was happy for her when things went her way, I was also secretly delighted when things didn’t. I guess I was self-righteously feeling something like: Hmmm…that’s what you get for wishing others ill, Missy!

I did NOT like this about myself, just as you don’t like what your friend is bringing out in you, but I DID recognize the spiritual silver lining in the situation. Basically, these relationships are tremendous opportunities for spiritual growth, for they provide us with endless opportunities to rise above the instinctual reactions of the ego and practice our own higher spiritual truths and principles. This is all about facing our inner shadows and making them disappear by shining a light on them. Our inner dialogue when we do this might go something like:

Wow, that’s not a nice thing I’m thinking or feeling. It’s definitely not who I want to be. I also know that what I am wishing her is what I will attract myself. I need to remember how bad it must feel to believe what she believes. She must be really feeling afraid and powerless to create good things in her life…I hope she figures out that she has the power to create what she wants in her life soon!

This is a simple shift in attitude and awareness, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. It is something we have to practice over and over and over until it becomes second nature. The good news is that practicing like this DOES work: if you keep working with it, one day you will realize that you haven’t let your friend bring out the worst in you in a long time.

Though these relationships can feel really icky, they are wonderful teachers and opportunities to break into a higher level of spiritual growth and experience. In some ways, that makes them extra beautiful and extra powerful. Instead of pushing these people away because we don’t like how they make us feel about ourselves, we would be wise to embrace them and work with them.

In launching the new Kajama site, I got lots of really friendly emails from people who love it and were wishing me all the best. I also got a few really nasty emails from people who were outraged that not everything at Kajama is free anymore. This totally threw me for a loop, for I’m not used to having people be mean to me EVER. One day I was crying to my husband about these nasty emails, and he said, Honey, if YOU were talking to YOU, you would say that it’s easy to be spiritual when people are endlessly kind and loving. The challenge is to be spiritual when people are mean and nasty toward you. Wow. Suddenly, I saw the whole situation in a much different light. (I also realized that he’s really been listening to me all these years!)

On top of the general spiritual lessons that this relationship is presenting to you, I’m sure that there is past life karma involved, and that you are therefore really digging in to some important healing work. Odds are good that you two WERE siblings in a past life, which is why this feels so much like sibling rivalry now, and why it makes no sense to you given the nature of your connection in the present. (When there are strange, intense patterns in relationships that make no sense to us, it’s often because old past life dynamics are coming into play.)

These feelings from the past are coming up so that they can be healed. They feel really uncomfortable to you now because you’ve evolved beyond that sort of relationship dynamic: you’ve awakened to the truth that we get what we wish for others, and you don’t want to play that old way anymore. These relationship experiences are presenting you with a great opportunity to shine the light of your new wisdom on shadowy experiences from the past so that you can clear away any negative karma and make something greater of this soul connection. It may not be easy, but it will prove very powerful in terms of aligning you with a higher level of experience in the future, both within this relationship and in terms of your path in general.

When you become aware that your friend is jealous or resentful of your happiness and not wishing you well, your goal will NOT be to try to disconnect from her, but to keep embodying LOVE. Turn the other cheek by refusing to lower yourself to her level, and aim to sincerely wish her all the blessings you desire for yourself. Whenever you’re shocked or disturbed by your own negative thoughts or feelings, stop and shine the light of your own higher self on the situation. Instead of pushing away from whatever is bringing your shadow out, shift into a higher spiritual perspective and practice bringing your best and brightest self to the situation. If you do this, you will find that these interactions will stop troubling you, and will instead begin to bless you in unexpected ways, and lead you to feel better about yourself than ever before.

– Kajama 🙂

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