[noun; ~ Pronunciation: /jel-uh-see/]
- Definition: Jealousy is experiencing negative feelings towards someone else, usually because they have something you want. It is the most useless emotion and the World’s worst advisor, often visiting while accompanied by Spite. There is only one way to silence jealousy, which is to simply accept your life is incomparable to those of others (and that you can’t have it all).
“The jealous are troublesome to others, but a torment to themselves” – William Penn
Jealousy is by far the most useless emotion of all. Why would you be mad at someone else for, say, getting a promotion? Or getting married while you’re still single (hey, if I was to become envious of everyone who’s married, I wouldn’t have time left for anything else)? Or having more money? I just don’t get it.
Sure, I’ve envied people, I’m not a stranger to this emotion, nor am I a total saint (just a little – hah!). In high school I was constantly jealous of a girl who had rich parents, no siblings, good grades, a cute boyfriend and many admirers. She was popular and I was a loser, so what did you expect? I thought her life was perfect, at least compared to mine.
But then during a philosophy class our teacher told us jealousy is a silly thing, because everyone has their own problems and if you were to switch lives with someone else, you’d find out it wouldn’t be all peaches and cream either.
And she was right. A few years later I heard that the girl I had always been so envious of had a bowel sickness and had spent most of her sophomore year in and out of the hospital.
I’m glad I wasn’t her, or switched lives.
Jealousy is a nasty thing, though. It can break up year-long friendships, family bonds, it can even tear countries apart!
My father was watching TV the other night and on it was a show in which fighting neighbours hire a judge to settle things. Kind of like Judge Judy, but in this case the judge visits the people at home to see the problems first-hand.
This week the judge went to see two neighbours who had been best friends for years, but had had a falling out over a garden fence. At least, that’s what they said, because as the show progressed it turned out one of them had called the other one a whore after seeing her come home in the middle of the night with a man friend.
The one with the bad mouth was about twice the size of the blonde woman who had had a lovely night out with a friend. I suspect the garden fence was a mere excuse to get rid of some bottled up jealousy.
Result: a broken off friendship, each having to pay for a new garden fence that you could have easily shared the costs for together, and a lot of bad blood and (here it comes!) spite.
I ask myself: why? This doesn’t change the fact that Ms. Potty-Mouth is still twice the size of her neighbour. And it doesn’t change the fact that’s she’s still clearly not happy about herself. Fighting with her neighbour did nothing to change that. So instead of b*tching about her ex-friend, she had been better of joining a gym.
If there’s something in your life you’re upset about, try and fix it rather than obsess over it. And even if it doesn’t work out the way you want it to (imagine someone trying to get pregnant and not succeeding, for instance. Or having severe health issues and nothing seems to work to get better while everyone else is leaving the hospital in fine shape), remember your life is your life and it’s not someone else’s.
Yes, it hurts at times to see other people achieve what you failed to. And it’s okay to be upset over it for a while. But it’s not okay to hold it against them. They can’t help it, and I’m sure they didn’t do it to annoy you (imagine having a baby just to upset your neighbour…).
In fact, if something is so good to have, so terribly worth obsessing over, why not be happy for someone else when they get it (first)? Your time will come, too. And if you can’t get what you want, the Universe will give you what you need. Which might be even more valuable, even if it doesn’t feel like that at first.
Until that happens, though, think of yourself as an apple. And of the rest of the people in the world as oranges. Completely incomparable.