What is jealousy? According to the dictionary, jealousy is resentment against a rival, a person enjoying success or advantage, etc., or against another’s success or advantage itself. It is the mental uneasiness from suspicion or fear of rivalry, unfaithfulness, etc., as in love or aims (dictionary.com).
Jealousy is a destructive poisonous emotion that causes one to compare themselves to others. Jealousy is the sense of uneasiness that is felt when someone is doing better than ourselves, or preference is given to someone else. It is a poisonous emotion because it causes one to have ill will towards the other who seems to be preferred above themselves. So, for example, if a friend or colleague got promoted and you didn’t, you would begin to feel jealous of your colleague, wondering why you were not promoted as well (see the comparison with another). You begin to feel insecure about your own accomplishments and feel that others probably admire your friend rather than you. Now because of the way you feel about yourself, you would begin to maliciously disparage their character, in order to make you feel better about yourself.
In another case, maybe your friend bought a new car, outwardly, you’re rejoicing with every body else ( inwardly you’re jealous). You make a snide comment to someone that you thought they were having financial problems, just to deny them their moment in the spotlight. Also now you’re thinking of how you can buy a better more expensive car. In both cases a rivalry and competition has developed between you and that person.
People who are prone to jealousy are very insecure about themselves and believe they are not in the place they should be. When they see someone doing well, it makes them feel inferior and so in order to get rid of this feeling they feel the need to compete with that person or destroy their character.
If this destructive emotion is not checked, bitterness, depression and even murder can occur. People have committed murder because of jealousy.
Jealousy- the green eyed monster, the phrase was coined by Shakespeare in his play Othello, which is a play about a man who killed his wife because he thought his wife was having an affair with another man. Though this is fiction and not reality, there are real life cases of people killing because of jealousy.
The first ever murder in the Bible was due to jealousy. Cain murdered his brother Abel because, he was jealous that God preferred his brothers sacrifice rather than his own.
King Saul attempted to murder David, because he was jealous that the people loved him more and fearful that he would take his throne.
I watched a news report on television about a father, a former convict, who murdered his daughter because he was jealous of her life. She had everything he wanted and he was just out of prison, had no job, no money, no prospects. And here was his daughter , just been promoted at work, lots of friends, life was good for her. So one day, he was in the house with her, and an argument developed and he killed her.
My Experiences with Jealousy
I can say that I haven’t had many experiences with jealousy. My mother told me a story about earlier in my life, when she didn’t have much money, my mum would buy some presents and there was not enough for all of us, (me, my sister, my brother) and I would tell my mum that she should give it to my older sister that I would be alright. And I was truly alright about it. We were children at the time, and I was just happy that my sister was happy because she had gone through a lot when she was younger.
So I was always so pleased when I saw some one else getting the success that they deserved, I was never jealous of their success.
However, more recently, there were quite a few occasions where I was compared to someone more successful than myself. So for me, I didn’t like it when I was compared to some one who had ‘made it’, so to speak. There were things said and done to me, to make me feel uncomfortable. There were mean comments like, ‘look at (person’s name) she’s done real good and look at you what have you done?’ That same ‘someone’ (if you’ve been reading my previous blogs, you can guess who) actually said that to me. Which is a really disgusting thing to say to someone, but it was intentional to make me feel insecure and jealous. And it worked. Because it did make me feel somewhat inferior, like I was not as good as them because they had done exceptionally well and I hadn’t reached that level of success yet. I felt the stirrings of jealousy and I must confess I did harbour some hostility towards another person.
But because it was not who I am, I felt really uncomfortable and kind of dirty and filthy and I wanted that feeling off me. It’s like someone put a coat on you that is not your size, that you really don’t like, it’s itchy and smells and you don’t want it on you, and you can’t wait to get it off. That’s the way I felt, it was alien because it was not an emotion that I have ever felt before. I had to get it off.
(Contd in How to Overcome Jealousy)