Jealousy is an emotion that is triggered when one becomes fearful of being supplanted or apprehensive of losing affection or position.
It arises due to the development of a state of fear or suspicion caused by a real or imagined threat to one’s possessive instincts.
It also arises on the other hand, from an intense desire to preserve an existing situation or relationship at all costs.
Both these states of mind that give rise to jealousy prevent us from living happy lives and getting the best out of life.
Jealousy vs Envy
The root cause of envy is the dissatisfaction we feel with our own self-image that in turn creates a desirein us to be like someone we look up to for the qualities and characteristics he or she possesses that we admire, but sense their lack in us or a desire to own something we value that someone else possesses and we lack. The driving emotional forces of envy are dissatisfaction and resentment.
Envy arises when another person possesses some traitor object that we want, and includes a mix of discontent, a sense of inferiority, and a frustration that may be tinged with resentment
On the other hand, as mentioned earlier, jealousy is driven by the forces of fear and suspicion that is rooted in a perceived threat of losing one’s possessions, affection or position and this in turn gives rise to a zealous desire to maintain the existing situation so as to feel secure. So the main driving force of jealousy is the fear of losing and the driving emotional forces of jealousy in this context are anger and bitterness that arises when one thinks that another person is trying to take away one’s priced possession.
Jealousy arises when a relationship is infringed on by a rival who threatens to take away something that is in a sense rightfully ours,
Types of Jealously
Feeling jealous is a common experience in human relationships. Some of the common instances in which jealousy is experienced are
- Sibling rivalry: This is a common form of rivalry usually seen between siblings in a family where one sibling feels that the other sibling gets more attention, love and favors from the parents.
- Jealousy between colleagues in a workplace: In this instance, a colleague fears that one of his colleagues is getting undue appreciation from the boss and this could in the long run end up with this colleague getting the promotion in the job and he being left behind in the race.
- Jealousy in romance: This type of jealousy can arise in one of the partners involved in a romantic relationship with another if he or she feels that the partner is beginning to show a lot of interest in another person, say a mutual friend of the opposite sex.
Jealousy is an emotion that creeps into our nature unbidden as far as dealing with relationship goes.
When we become aware of the feeling of jealousy, we can effectively deal with it. However, when this feeling becomes intense we become a victim to it and are led to act in ways that can be self destructive and mar relationships with near and dear ones.
In this context, one should always be on guard against this feeling creeping in and taking hold of us.
Listed below are some of the ways we can deal with jealousy as and when it makes its appearance in our emotional world.
- Acceptance: The first important step to take in overcoming jealousy is to accept the fact that one is indeed susceptible to feeling jealous and that one is ready to take steps to overcome it as it is detrimental to nurturing and maintaining healthy relationships.
- Taking onus for the feeling: The next step in this process is to take responsibility for the feeling after understanding that the feeling of jealousy is actually a consequence of the erroneous way one perceives one’s partner and the relationship thereof and that the feeling in us has nothing to do with the partner per se.
- Understanding and tackling the underlying factors: Once we understand that our misperception of people and events arise from a deeper feeling of insecurity and fear of losing, we become capable of tackling the illusions of our insecurities by having a frank and open conversation with the person of whom we are jealous and resolving the issue amicably.
- Remaining ever vigilant and alert: We must remember that even if we have resolved one issue of jealousy with a partner or friend, it is possible that we may be engulfed by this feeling in another context at another point in time either with the same or another person. This is so as the feeling of jealousy remains with us until we have made persistent efforts to overcome our insecurities and fears. So we have to remain alert and ready to handle this feeling deftly as and when it makes its appearance in us.
- Practice makes perfect: Inculcating the habit of facing our insecurities and fears as and when they appear and overcoming them either by deep contemplation of the issue at hand or by participation in an honest discussion about them with a partner or friend helps to overcome the feeling of jealousy.
A few quotes on Jealousy
A competent and self-confident person is incapable of jealousy in anything. Jealousy is invariably a symptom of neurotic insecurity – Robert A. Heinlein
Jealousy lives upon doubts. It becomes madness or ceases entirely as soon as we pass from doubt to certainty – Francois de La Rochefoucauld
Jealousy, that dragon which slays love under the pretence of keeping it alive -Henry Ellis
Jealousy is, I think, the worst of all faults because it makes a victim of both parties – Gene Tierney