The Green Eyed Monster So your best friend wears a size 0 and complains that it’s too big on her! Your next-door neighbor is driving a Mercedes and your car can barely make it to the end of the driveway. Your sister is headed for a week-long vacation in the Caribbean and you can’t get farther than the state park. Jealous? Who wouldn’t be? Sure, there are times when everyone else seems to have more, do more, look better. But is that really the case? Jealousy is the root of many evils that can affect the poorest of paupers to the richest of kings.
It has lead men to lie, cheat, steal and exhibit other harmful acts toward their fellow man. This one emotion has broken the spirits of men since the dawn of time, and there is no end in site. Jealousy is defined as a jealous attitude or disposition or close vigilance. However, this brief definition does not tell the whole story. For some, jealousy is much more than an attitude or disposition it is a way of life, and for others, it can consume their life, changing it forever. Take the example of a beautiful socialite who finds her husband with his secretary/lover and kills them both in a jealous rage.
Jealousy can be a dangerous emotion, but why is jealousy so emotionally charged? Usually, jealousy is a negative or passionate reaction to a situation, and that is what can make it so dangerous. If jealousy can be so dangerous, is envy dangerous too? Envy and jealousy are often used interchangeably, but when used correctly, they stand for two distinctly different emotions. Envy can also be a dangerous emotion, but there is something important that separates it from jealousy, and that is the passion.
You can be envious of your neighbor’s new car or your friend’s new leather coat, but these feelings will not lead you to passionate violence. Jealousy almost always involves a passionate and emotional response to something, and so, it evokes passionate and emotional actions. Sometimes, just as jealousy can bring about positive responses, envy can bring about positive change, too. Some people can use their envy of others to improve themselves. Take the example of the overweight girl envious of her friend’s fine figure.
This envy motivates her to change her lifestyle and lose weight so she and her friend can wear clothes similar to those that they wore in high school. Jealousy may reflect a person’s view of him or herself. It’s more about how people feel about themselves and whether they’re confident about whom they are. A person who has a poor self-image may feel threatened and believe that he or she has nothing to offer to keep someone else interested. Most jealousy arises when someone feels insecure and threatened, either of losing the relationship, or that someone else will get the craved attention.
For many, jealousy has to do with personal relationships. You might become jealous, for example, if you feel your partner is not paying enough attention to you. Jealousy might also be provoked if your partner or spouse consistently makes you feel uncomfortable through both their words and their actions. In any relationship, trust and mutual respect are essential to keep the relationship flourishing and communication strong. Jealousy might seem flattering at first, if your mate wants all your time and attention, but it can also be a sign of emotional instability.
That flattering interest in your attentions can turn into a chronic lack of trust and suspicion. A husband who is jealous of his wife’s innocent friendships with other women, and who tries to control her and separate her from her friends, can become a big problem. Jealousy is not limited solely to relationships. Jealousy can arise over the good fortune of friends or associates. This also ties in to feelings of self-worth; person who doesn’t have a strong self-image may feel that he or she is not getting the fair share and that others always get the breaks.
All emotions, even jealousy, are trying to tell us something about ourselves. It is important to understand and acknowledge that jealousy has a purpose. If we are ashamed of feeling jealous, we have the natural instinct to try to mask it with protective emotion such as anger, frustration, or resentment. Instead of masking our feelings, we should ask ourselves, “Why am I choosing to feel jealous? ” Not everything is equal or fair, but to be dishonest about your own feelings is wrong. There will always be someone out there who is more beautiful, more talented, and more successful. But so what? “