Jealousy: what it is, and how to transform it

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“Jealousy burns your liver”, says folk lore.

“Jealousy is a green-eyed monster”, a father tells his child.

What is this terrible thing we’ve likened to monsters and corrosive properties? Jealousy.

Feelings are pesky things; they come on unsolicited, overwhelming us and steering us in a direction we don’t always want to go.

As always, it is important to remember that feeling jealous is not a conscious decision, like any other emotion (there is room for debate here, but that’ll be for another post). It arises from our subconscious mind as we process what we see before us, combined with how we have come to interpret the world.

On the surface, jealousy stirs when we see someone with something, or someone, that we don’t have. It also occurs when we are deeply insecure, and that insecurity mixes with the potential loss of something or someone, to someone else. Jealousy occurs simply because we think we cannot have what we want, or that life is unfair and “not on our side”.

Jealousy is the fuel behind many a caustic comment; it’s the overweight man snarling at his fit coworker for choosing a water instead of coke at the corporate party. We hate ourselves for feeling jealous – we don’t want to be sour people, it’s uncomfortable and counterproductive.

But in reality, jealousy is a gift.

And so, the first step is to understand that it is not a curse to feel jealous; but rather, it is an indication of a need or desire that is not being met within yourself. 

Instead of thinking, “I can’t have that and they do,” consciously transform your jealousy into admiration. Think: “wow, if they can achieve that, I can too”. Thank them for showing you what you secretly want; thank them for showing you that it is possible – that it’s been done.

And instead of bringing them down with vitriolic remarks, ask them how they accomplished it, and if they would guide you to do the same. The latter is proactive, and will lead to a fulfilling life of self-mastery and loving relationships; the former, however, will lead to a bleak, bitter life of resentment.

Which will you choose?

P.S. And if it’s jealousy within a romantic relationship – know that this is a stark red flag of insecurity, and insecurity breeds unhealthy, codependent relationships. Heal and strengthen yourself before being with someone else. They are not responsible to reassure you that they are faithful; you are completely responsible for your own internal security.

 

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