Jealousy – The Green Eyed Monster

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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.

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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.

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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)

How to Overcome Rejection Issues (Part Two)

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Proverbs 23:7. ‘For as he thinks in his heart, so is he’. This is what the bible says, what it means is that the way you think about yourself is what you will eventually become. So if you think you’re unloveable then you’ll become unloveable. When you think no one wants you, you will unconsciously initiate behaviour that will cause people to leave you, or not want to be with you.

So what’s the remedy?
Most problems with rejection rise from a misplaced identity.
What is identity? The dictionary describes it as ‘condition or character as to who a person or what a thing is; the qualities, beliefs, etc., that distinguish or identify a person or thing’
A child normally gets its identity from its primary care giver/parents ( most especially the father). However if the father is absent, emotionally distant or struggling with his own issues of identity then he struggles to pass on identity to the child. The child then grows up and searches for its identity elsewhere. He finds it in his performance, in his drive, in his passions. He searches for where to have a sense of belonging, because that is what identity is, it’s a sense of belonging. So they look for it in places where they shouldn’t be.

I remember a counselling session of a man who was addicted to pornography. His wife found him looking at it on his computer and he went for counselling and it was discovered that even though he had a father growing up as a child, his father was emotionally absent, and he couldn’t communicate with his father and didn’t have a close loving relationship with him. So he sought for love and intimacy in pornography and became addicted.
Like I said before we receive our identity from our fathers but if they are absent we have a Father we can look to.

God is our Father. Rejected people have a special place in Gods heart. Because Jesus was in the same position he was rejected by his people even by his own disciples. This is what He says about people who have been rejected, ‘When my mother and my father forsake me, then the Lord will take me up’ Psalm 27:10.
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When you give your life to Jesus and accept Him as your personal Lord and Saviour, God becomes your Father, He accepts you into His family. Looking for identity ,validation, approval from people is futile because people will disappoint and not always be available, it’s part of human behaviour. But God says in His Word He will remain with you forever, ‘ I will never leave you or forsake you’ (Hebrews 13:5).

If you’re basing your identity and sense of belonging on your performance, you’ll be frustrated because success is not always constant and cannot always be guaranteed. But God’s love for you is always constant and you are loved always. God’s love is not based on your performance but on who you are – His child. You don’t need to search and look for acceptance, for belonging, because you’ve been accepted and belong in God’s family. His word says, ‘…He made us accepted in the Beloved’. The opposite of rejection is acceptance. It stands to good reason that the remedy for rejection is acceptance. Well, God has accepted you! People may have caused you to feel rejected, but God wants to assure you that you are accepted by Him.
He has also promised to be a Father to you ( 2 Corinthians 6:18). Where earthly parents have neglected or failed in their responsibility, He can be trusted to be a true father.

Forgiving and Letting go
Next step is forgiving and letting go of those who have hurt you. Forgiving of past abuse is not easy because we can’t forget what has happened, but holding on to past hurts, damages you in the long run, because it turns to bitterness and depression.

Changing your mindset.
The next thing you need to do is change your thinking to what God thinks of you. There’s a lot of things that God has said about his children in the bible. As I mentioned earlier, it starts with a seed that’s been sown; a thought or lie that’s been implanted in our mind that’s given fruit to present damaging behaviour. So replace those thoughts wth godly positive thoughts about yourself. It’s called renewing your mind. Change your old mindset to a new mindset. It is possible.
The Bible says,’You are fearfully and wonderfully made’. God says that you are wonderful!
You have been made in the image and likeness of God. And God said it was very good (i.e. what He created) Genesis 1:26, 31.
‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with loving kindness I have drawn you’ (Jeremiah 31:3).

Replacing negative thoughts with positive words.
From ‘ I am unwanted, unloveable’ to ‘ I am loved by God and the apple of His eyes’
From ‘Everybody will leave me’, to ‘He will never leave me or forsake me’
From ‘I will never achieve anything’ to ‘ I can do all things with Christ who strengthens me’.
From ‘I am a failure’ to ‘I am more than a conqueror’.
From ‘Everyone hates me’ to ‘God is for me who can be against me’.
From ‘I am a loser’, to ‘I am a winner, I am on the winning team; God’s team’.
Filling your heart with positive words, inspirational words and confessing them to yourself daily will help to overcome rejection issues.

Surrounding yourself with good people who know you and know what you’re going through and are willing to help you overcome helps immensely. Especially people who will help you to move forward and stop you from reverting back to old patterns of negative behaviour. Could be a counsellor, mentor, support groups, or your spiritual leader or pastor.

How to Overcome Rejection Issues (Part One)

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Buying into the lie

When you look at the world today, especially the celebrity world; everybody wants to be the next Rihanna, Beyoncé , Kim Kardashian, Jay Z, Drake or the next biggest thing. The media bombards us with images of beautiful people, in exotic beautiful places. These subliminal messages convince people into believing that in order to be successful in life, we have to look like this, or have this, or be doing that.

But when we view those images and compare ourselves, it seems like we fall short of the ideal. Many people already feel insecure about themselves on the inside and now they are made to feel even worse about their physical appearance. Some people even go to the extent of having major reconstructive plastic surgery to look like their idols, believing the lie.

If you don’t know who you really are and your purpose you want to become other people. I believe there is an identity crisis in the world today.

Some people may say, well, there’s nothing wrong with being like someone else, to aspire to do great things. It’s true there’s nothing wrong with admiring someone who seems to have made it, and you have aspirations to be just as successful if not more. There doesn’t seem to anything wrong with that. But there’s everything wrong with wanting to be like someone else because you don’t like who you are.

Why does Rejection hurt?

So where do rejections come from? Or rather why do we respond to rejection in such a negative manner ? Why can’t we just get on with life, why does it affect us so much? Because rejection affects the way we think about ourselves. The way we think about ourselves will influence our behaviour, which in turn, affects everything we do in life.

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In order to solve any problem/issue, one needs to go to the root. With my experience in counselling people with behavioural issues, the common practice is to investigate their past, the first occurrence or the beginning and start of the problem. What occurred in their past that caused the current behavioural patterns? Like for example you ask how their childhood was and if there was anything that happened in their childhood, or was there anything that happened in their life that made them feel less than, inferior, or the first occurrence of a some form of rejection in their lives. Most issues with rejection do stem from childhood but not always. Some stem from teenage years, maybe from bullying or pressure to conform etc and also adulthood.

So probably, from the first occurrences of rejection/abandonment/abuse, there would have been this thought implanted in their mind that they were not good enough. And that thought would have continued going through their mind and if something happened that was similar to the earlier sense of rejection, that thought or lie would arise again, almost to justify those initial thoughts,’I told you you are useless’. So a person who has been sexually abused or abandoned/rejected as a child will have this thought implanted in their mind that no one will ever want them, no one will ever desire them, or love them. So they withdraw from people thinking they’re unloveable.

Or some who have the same thoughts will cling to every person, every relationship, whether it’s toxic or not and their thoughts will be ‘I will do whatever I can, be whatever you want so that you will love me. Even though I’m unloveable , I will make you love me’, the same thoughts/ lies manifests itself differently in different people and different situations.

So the person has continued to believe that thought as the truth. It’s like a seed that has been planted in their mind and their thinking has caused the seed to grow and grow into a large oak tree till it permeates their whole existence and destroys their life. How do you destroy a tree? You chop it down from its roots, you up root the tree. That thought, or lie begins to affect the way they think about themselves, it begins to affect the way they interact with people, it begins to affect the way they live their life. Get rid of the roots so it doesn’t grow again.

So the root started from the seed that’s had been planted, those thoughts that have been able to grow. Uproot the thoughts that says your useless, unwanted, undesirable, uproot feelings of worthlessness, uselessness, feelings of not belonging, of not fitting in, feeling like an outsider, feelings of insecurity, feeling unloveable, uncared for, not wanted, unappreciated, despised, feelings of shame.