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Life as it Really Is - JEALOUSY – a lousy emotion


Life as it Really Is - JEALOUSY – a lousy emotion

We have all been jealous and we will no doubt run into more of that unpredictable emotion as long as we shall live. Some of us deny ever being jealous, and that is also okay; among the reasons for this denial is that jealousy is considered a weakness, and we do not want to appear pathetic, do we? It is a lousy emotion and it is there for all to see and perhaps to avoid? (Jea)- lousy – there you have it.


For the most part we attach jealousy to human interaction, though I also find jealousy among animals. During vast research I consistently observe how Tess gets jealous when I pet Mindy (that would be our dog and cat) and vice versa; but it’s more so between humans that the real deal is.


No matter how much sociologists inform us that cultural beliefs and values trigger jealousy on most levels, I am convinced that we don’t really give a hooters where it’s coming from. When we are jealous, the origin has no interest as we are too busy being, well, jealous.


So what is involved in this lousy emotion? We find fear of loss, suspicion of or anger about perceived betrayal, low self-esteem and sadness, uncertainty and loneliness, distrust, plus a vast variety of insecurities and loads of anxieties. As you can see, nothing seems too appealing, huh?


Jealousy can be listed within sibling rivalry, family, sports, the workplace, in platonic friendships and so many other places; but the big one is ROMANCE. That’s the one where we for the most part see jealousy pop up as the Green-Eyed Monster. Yes, Gentle Readers that is actually what some people also call jealousy. For the fact-seekers out there, that term is believed to come from Shakespeare’s Othello (act III, Scene 3, line 169 – if you really need to know).


Romantic jealousy, which of course is not romantic at all, involves rivalry for the same man or woman, suspicion, lack of superiority, anger, resentment, inadequacy, helplessness, disgust and many other lovely sub-emotions. For those who have been through this emotional rollercoaster ride, the common opinion is:




And adding to the fire, jealousies can be based on reality (duh!) as well as imagination, random rumors, guessing, anger, lack of facts and my all-time favorite: assumptions. The thing is that when we are caught in jealousy, constructive and solution-based thinking as well as common sense are not in the same zip-code. All the energy is geared towards the pain, confusion and self-pity we surround ourselves with – pretty much placing ME in the center of self-inflicted misery.


“Self-inflicted”? Sure, certain situations ignite jealousy and we get involved, but can we control our involvement to some extent? When Gertrude all of a sudden find Hans to be much more exciting and much sexier than Franz (her husband the last 22 years), Franz’s initial reaction is surprise and anger; perhaps not in that order. So could Franz actually handle the situation without involving jealousy? Of course he could.


Okay, so he admits that he has not been the stud-muffin Gertrude started out with and that it only took him a year to take Gertrude for granted. The romantic notes quickly dried up with the rest of the romance Gertrude fell in love with back then. “Fair enough”, Franz admits, as he acknowledges his failures. He blesses Gertrude and Hans’ newfound love, gives Gertrude a divorce and moves on; Piece of Bavarian Chocolate Cake.


But that is only in fairytales. In life as it really is, Franz will be jealous all over the place, totally not acknowledging his lack of attention to Gertrude. All the signs of pure jealousy are, according to Franz’s ignorance, taking him out of the equation of guilt. It’s more like: “How the heck could she do this to me?”, when he in fact should say: “How could I have been so stupid – I have always loved Gertie, but obviously I stopped showing her how much I loved her…


Jealousy is a form of protective reaction we are hiding behind; it’s a reaction to a perceived threat. Unfortunately it can involve a lot of “stuff” in our everyday life. We can find jealousy in so many areas: financially, looks, achievements of others and too many things to mention. To me the deal is that of course we are not really that jealous on a daily basis; we are not running around screaming: “Dang it, I should, I would and I could (this or that)” followed by the proverbial: “Why not me?”


But let’s not give jealousy all the credit. The synonym ENVY is probably used more so; perhaps because it’s easier to spell? Even though jealousy and envy do have several equalities, to me envy seems a tad lighter. Don’t get me wrong, as I do not embrace many sides of envy – if any. Envy is explained as feelings of inferiority, longing or belonging, resentment, wanting to possess “rival’s” qualities and disapproval of feelings, etc. Sure some of this stuff is heavy emotions, or can be, but compared to jealousy, envy is still a bit lighter.


We use both terms equally and that is also fine, as we for the most part know what the person is going through, and if we call it jealousy or envy, either way it still sucks big time.


The reactions involving jealousy/envy can be extreme; that is how strong some of these emotions can become. Some can get so tragically involved (possessed?) by the situation and the people involved. The psychological ramifications can be immense, leading to actions beyond our imagination, causing sadness, destruction and disbelief.


That is where we acknowledge how terrifying jealousy can become – and that is what we must remember when the neighbor’s new car is, well, newer than mine – jerks. But instead of surrounding ourselves with jealousy and envy, we must be happy for them. They didn’t buy the new shiny car to stick it to us; they have saved for years and finally got enough money – and now the new car; let’s join them in their joy.


It’s hard to fully control all emotions; if we could, some of the charm being a human would vanish – don’t you think? But I still believe that we can avoid many silly situations by acknowledging the unimportance of them - by looking at the bigger picture.


Let’s more so share the happiness and fortune of our fellow human beings and they will share in our happiness and good fortune – beats envy and jealousy any day.


So don’t you agree that jealousy is a (jea)LOUSY emotion? I thought you would…



Here are some good links to go with the above: