At the very least most of us has been a touch envious from time to time.
I think it safe to say that we all can relate to feeling jealousy and envious at one point in our lives. The degree and how we handled it is what makes this conversation interesting.
What is jealously and envy really?
Google will tell you that jealously is resentment against a rival or person who is enjoying success or advantage. Envy is a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another’s advantages, successes or possessions.
The two are very similar.
So for our discussion we are going to roam between the two as though they were interchangeable.
So why do people get jealous?
It’s okay to laugh. I know that is a ridiculous question – but let’s at least entertain the question by listing out the reasons – just for fun. It’s actually very telling when you see the list in writing.
Often people get jealous over:
- Material possessions
- Social Status
- Economical Status
- Relationship Boundaries
- Basically anything you want or desire but you don’t have
Though we can encapsulate the reasons into nice neat little phrases and words, the reasons why people get jealous all seem to stem from a few core emotions - insecurity and lack of trust. These emotions when unbridled can prove to be explosive. There is a reason why jealousy is called a monster – a green eyed monster to coin the phrase properly. Though I am more inclined to side with the monster then the true meaning behind where this term came from.
Straying just a moment from the discussion – why do we call jealousy and sometimes envy a ‘green eyed monster’? Do you know? Thanks again to Google, I now know and will share the answer with you.
It is said that in Othello, Shakespeare implies that a cat is the green-eyed monster because of the way cats will play with mice before they kills them. Below is the passage:
O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;
It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock
The meat it feeds on; that cuckold lives in bliss
Who, certain of his fate, loves not his wronger;
But, O, what damned minutes tells he o’er
Who dotes, yet doubts, suspects, yet strongly loves!
So there you have it. Thanks to Shakespeare we parallel jealous behavior to that of a green-eyed monster a.k.a this cat killing a mouse. Clears that up!
The monster part is more connected to behavioral that I am familiar with. I have been afflicted with jealousy – the very worst kind of jealousy.
My story with jealousy
I have been a very jealous person in my life – even a monster at times because of it. I have severe trust issues and they reach as far back as I can remember. I have a deep sense of betrayal and abandonment that I bring to most all my relationships. It sucks to be sure – not only for me, but also for anyone who wants to be close to me.
My husband and I have been married over ten years and together more years than I can remember. (He is a brave man) Nearly our entire relationship I was painfully jealous and worried that he would find another woman, cheat on me and leave me. This is a terrible way to live!
My jealousy all finally came to a halt after I accused him of cheating for the hundredth time. This time I had proof! I yelled and screamed at him as he sat silently on the bed. I nearly collapsed so upset until he finally spoke and told me how wrong I was. The ‘evidence’ I had ‘proving’ me right wasn’t at all what I thought it was. Once my husband started to explain and I understood what he said I knew I was wrong.
I was ashamed at my behavior. I was horrified at how I had been behaving all these years and how I had been treating the man I loved so unfairly. My jealousy stopped that day.
You’re feeling jealousy – now what?
Are you a monster? The good news here is that the answer is, no – you are not a monster. Jealousy is a normal and natural emotion. In many ways jealousy can be healthy and motivating – if you keep the monster on a short leash.
It’s important to recognize where your jealousy is coming from. For example are you jealous because you are taking your insecurities and defecting them on others? Do you have trust issues? If so, then this type of jealousy can be very destructive to your relationships.
This type of jealousy can destroy your self worth, derail you from your goals and occupy your every thought if you are not careful. My jealousy took up so much time. I would go through my husband’s things – his phone, wallet and car when he wasn’t aware. I am not even kidding! I had a problem!
I was very lucky that my husband never was offended or was upset over my crazy behavior. He is rare. Many people cannot stand to be constantly accused of bad doing when they are innocent.
How do you stop being jealous?
This is a very personal journey. If your jealousy is sprouting from insecurities and trust issues like mine was – unequivocally you will need to gain tactics to love yourself. Cliché – I know – but really true.
This one you may need to seek outside assistance. I sure did and still do. Finding a great counselor to work with is very valuable to learn new skills to build your self worth so you don’t deflect your self-hate (or self-dislike) onto others. I am very familiar with this.
If its less sever, it could be as simple as stepping back and taking inventory on what you goodness you do have in your life. Stop lusting after things others have and enjoy what you currently possess.
How can you make jealousy work for you – in relationships?
In relationships especially there are two types of jealousy – Valid Jealousy and Invalid Jealousy. An example of valid jealousy is when your partner is dancing with another person too closely. An example of invalid jealousy is like my behavior – when you check your partner’s phone for no real reason other than being suspicious.
According to The Jealousy Book – www.thejealousybook.com written by Kim Falidan – jealousy is a helpful tool in relationships. Falidan points out that without jealousy in a relationship we might not know or develop health boundaries. Jealousy provokes you to set limits with your partner that you might not otherwise explore if your emotions didn’t get your attention. (Kim who’s a him Falidan and sometimes has a mouth like a sailor, so watch out if you want to stop over to read Mr. Falidan’s thoughts on jealousy. Heads up – They take a turn from PG to R about chapter 5)
How can you make jealousy work for you – in personal matters?
In your personal matters when you feel that you are lusting after something that someone else has – don’t let that energy well up as anger or contempt – use that energy as motivation! Put it to work!
There is no reason you can’t set goals and achieve your own success. Desire can be a motivator. Don’t feel derailed from not having something someone else has. Work hard and work to obtain what it is that you desire.
Recognize that the grass isn’t greener. Get to work and water your own grass. It will be green too! While you are at it, plant some flowers. Clean that place up. That place being you!
Bottom line – if you feel that nasty monster come over you – cause it will from time to time. Take heart. It’s normal and natural. How you handle that monster will be the measure of your character and the determination of your mental health.
“It’s amazing the clarity that comes with psychotic jealousy.”
Our Paper Hope Street Team March 26, 2012 broadcast on Jealousy:
Jealousy and Envy Can Turn You Into a Green Eyed Monster