Jealousy is a toxic emotion. Shakespeare called it “the green-eyed monster which doth mock. The meat it feeds on.” It takes positive emotions such as friendship, love and turns them feelings into ones of bitterness and resentment. Jealousy has at times strained my friendships, relationships and generally made me a not very fun person to be around. It seems remarkable that I am only now learning how to manage it.
Managing jealousy involves recognising that it is a problem that you need to deal with, not something other people need to make accommodations for. Jealousy comes with a sense of entitlement. Why has my friend managed to get this job I rightly deserve? Or what does she see in him, I am definitely the better option? But in life no-one is entitled to anything, let alone success and people. While the world definitely is not a war of everyman against each other, we do live in a competitive capitalist society with winners and losers. In this context we are all just trying to manage our own problems and find a little happiness, but when push comes to shove no-one needs to risk assess your insecurity when trying to get nice things.
That’s all jealousy is really, a symptom of insecurity. When you are happy with yourself the ambition and romantic interests, they all become less intense because less is stake. Getting the promotion, going on that date becomes less important because it is not the difference between happiness and frustration. Generally when you learn to accept your own strengths and flaws less pressure is applied to things you do not have control over. And that is good thing because win or lose you are still doing OK. Everything else becomes a bonus.
I feel like it has taken me a long time to learn these basic lessons, but most of them have come through experience and reflection. Of course for our generation there are also lots of other things at play. Social media at times is less about connecting everyone and more a personal PR platform people use to justify their existence. It makes everything more intense. So if I can summarise my thoughts on jealousy it is just that you need to accept that 99% of life you don’t have control of and that you need to love yourself – it is after all the start of a livelong romance.
Any thoughts on jealousy? Think this blog has become boring and pretentious now I can’t talk about politics? Let me know in the comments…