A little green speck riding along on your back that ends up growing as big as a T-Rex and it’s as scary and fierce too. Jealousy is a human quality and everyone is faced with it at least once a week dare I say so, it’s wired into our DNA and there’s no getting past it.
It might seem like a harmless little thing we can supress until it eventually goes away but when does it turn into an unhealthy state of mind, affecting your relationship, friendship or working environment.
What does it mean to be jealous?
Tina B. Tessina, PhD, psychotherapist and author of “How to be a couple and still be free” warn patients that jealousy can result into an emotional instability. It grabs a hold of people who feel threatened by a current situation, environment or worse – a person. The fear of losing or someone else being better than you is always placed in the back of our minds. It starts from that age where you’re able to realise what’s good and what’s better. Think back to the time where your mom used to pack your lunch; those daily marmite sandwiches, while your friend got a little cooler bag filled with yogurt, dried fruit a muffin and a juice box. Even on the playground this feeling made its appearance.
Explaining jealousy is like trying to explain, love or hate – it just is. “Jealousy may reflect a person’s view of him or herself,” says Jo Anne White, PhD, professor of education at Temple University. “It’s more about how people feel about themselves and whether they’re confident about who they are.” Like I said it’s the notion when you know the difference between good and better and obviously we all want to be “the better”
When is it unhealthy?
Personally I don’t categorise jealousy to be all that bad, but like hate or anger it is an emotion that needs to be controlled and “expressed” in moderation. Like all things created – jealousy has a purpose; it tells us something about ourselves. We don’t always know how bad we want something until a feeling, like jealousy, nudges us along. It’s almost like an alarm or radar telling us that we’re losing control, power or losing our touch. For instance I never really knew I liked a guy I was really good friends with until he flirted with another girl right in front of me. Yes it was a low-blow-move from his side – but I was so mad. Why was I so angry? Then it hit me, the old green eyed monster emerged, I was jealous.
Now for the dark side – in explaining it in a positive and negative light, it’s sometimes much more fun to let the dark side in, but truth be told you hurt yourself and others around you when jealousy clouds your judgment and supresses other emotions. Simple phrases like “She’s so smooth” becomes “She’s such a show off” or “She takes such good care of her body.” becomes “She’s so vain!” “Dedication” is now “Selfish” and “Persuasive” is “Pushy”
We become vain, selfish and try to put ourselves back on top by stomping on others. This just ends up being an insecure move.
Signs – The bad kind.
1. Mentioned in the above paragraph your judgement gets clouded and one word will turn into another. Yesterday your colleague looked so stylish yet today after she received her promotion she’s walking around like a show horse. Calm yourself she looks exactly the same and she’s walking completely normal.
2. In relationships you’ll set ultimatums, be demanding or make suggestions that are just plain unreasonable.
3. Jealousy loves company so be on the lookout for envy.
4. My personal favourites are those unnecessary comments you make when that person’s name is mentioned or you’ll just find an excuse to bring them up just to prove a point. For example: he says: “Do you want to see a movie tonight” where you’ll say “I don’t know why don’t you ask Lilly if I want to see a movie tonight”. So it might be a little more subtle than that, but you get the idea.
You’re jealous, now what?
In the animal Kingdom it would be simple; we jump at each other’s throats and establish who deserves the title of being “Alpha”, fortunately in the real world it doesn’t work that way. Snicker behind the victims back, spreading rumours or slashing their tyres is also a big “no-no” as well (we’re not in high school anymore)
– In a relationship, say something – it’s embarrassing to admit that you’re jealous but that’s the only ultimatum. Pulling the leach tighter will only make him run away.
– Know you’re strength, if it so happens that someone else got the promotion appreciates their good fortune without feeling that you’re not good enough.
– If she can do it so can you. Channel your jealous energy instead to fuel your drive at your achievements, don’t push others away just push yourself a little harder.
– Don’t compare yourself. Everyone brings something to the table; it might not be the same thing which means more variety.
– Affirm the other person.
It’s not a nice feeling, maybe when we were 12 years old jealousy might have been acceptable but for a grown woman to feel this way – it’s ridiculous right? Wrong. It’s an emotion none the less; one which we never grow out of even when we’re old and grey we’ll still compete with our lemon squares and grandchildren.
There will always be someone smarter, or someone prettier, taller, thinner, richer! The world keeps on spinning though and we just have to push ourselves to be the best we can be.