I don’t know what the taste of Jealousy in your mouth is. What thoughts, images and feelings you have associated with this not so commonly welcomed feeling. However, a simple keyword search on Google told me Jealousy is widely perceived as something that has the potential to destroy you and your relationships. It is something that you need to tackle, manage and overcome. Without agreeing or disagreeing to any of it, I invite you to take a closer look at jealousy.
In this article, we shall attempt to go beyond the differences of our beliefs and perspectives to a deeper place where we can wonder like a kid who has no burden of knowledge.
While attempting to understand jealousy, it helps if we take a closer look at envy and shame too. Envy, jealousy and shame reflect a similar sense of inadequacy, yet they are totally different and distinct. The example that comes to my mind right now is this - me wishing that I had the same chocolate as yours, is more or less the essence of envy; me wishing for your chocolate at the same time holding the fear that I may not get it despite deserving it, is jealousy; me feeling that I am not worthy enough of the chocolate, is shame.
While envy is the desire to possess what someone else has; jealousy is the fear of losing what we have, or not having it at all. We can be envious of anyone, however, we feel jealous mostly with someone we know closely – our friend, sibling, partner or colleague. This is because we compare ourselves with the ones around, or the ones we feel are in the same league as we are. This is why though we may feel envious of a movie star; we don’t experience jealousy as strong as we experience it with a friend or a colleague.
The three main conditions for jealousy are – desire, fear and worthiness. We feel jealous when we see someone having something we desire for, something we feel we deserve, and something we fear we may not have. The hardest part to digest about jealousy is that we can experience it with our dearest ones too - a sibling who is getting more love from parents, a colleague who is getting a promotion, or a friend who is travelling to a destination we dreamt of. It makes us question and judge ourselves - “How can I feel jealous about someone I am so close with?” “What’s wrong with me?” “Why am I being so selfish?”
None of us feel good about jealousy, while I agree it is nothing to feel good about, it is nothing to feel bad about too. If we can clear our judgements and look at jealousy with a fresh mind, we will meet a child who is seeking for love, attention and appreciation. Jealousy reveals that part in us which needs healing. It also clarifies what we value and what we believe we deserve.
Next time we feel jealous of a dear one, instead of beating ourselves up let’s be kind and curious towards this mysterious sensation. Instead of feeling guilty for envying someone else’s life, let’s remember it is natural for a human to compare. Let’s learn to pick up cues from our jealousy, and work towards quenching our inadequacy by showering love to the parts of us that needs it the most. Let’s use these cues to motivate us to fulfil our desires. Let’s make jealousy a friend.