One of the many peculiarities of being human is the wide range of emotions we experience. Depending upon who you ask, the list varies. For discussion sake, let’s use Aristotle’s list. He lists anger, calmness, friendship, fear, courage, shame, confidence, kindness, cruelty, pity, indignation, envy (jealousy) and love. Today, I want to discuss jealousy.
It’s fascinating how interconnected our emotions can be; at times blending in mysterious and uncontrollable ways. Love has been known to bleed into hate, courage into fear and kindness into cruelty. My guess is we don’t often ponder the wherefores and whys of these fundamental energies of life, rather, we are swept along in their powerful current.
Being an Astrologer, I have a different take on the reasons we have predispositions toward certain emotions; that’s a topic for a different post. For now, can we all agree that people have different emotional temperaments? Further, there are certain emotions that we each seem to have trouble understanding and dealing with; these vary from person to person. For example, for some it’s anger and others it’s calmness. I have always found the emotion of jealousy to be particularly troublesome when I encounter it, thus, causing another emotion to arise in me…. disgust.
Jealousy is unhealthy. It’s an awful feeling that roils one’s innards and grinds one’s teeth. It can be all-consuming. All too often, our emotions transform into a conflagration that run from one bad feeling to the next. Jealousy can be the fuel for that fire. Jealousy easily morphs itself into anger, anxiety and cruelty. What is even more problematic is that it is often created by imaginings that aren’t true; false scenarios. Going a step further, it can be rooted in individual insecurities and low self-esteem. The most common example we likely think of regarding jealousy is its appearance in romantic relationships, but it permeates a much greater swath of living than just that.
Jealousy can lead to spending most of your time wishing you had what others have, striking comparisons where you always come up short, coveting someone’s clothes, looks or attitude, ultimately leading to a loathing feeling of “what’s wrong with me?” So, what is one to do if this is the case? Like all that is unhealthy within us, to change we must become aware. Admit it, seek understanding and implement a plan to overcome. Start by asking yourself hard questions. Am I jealous of some aspect of my friend’s lives? Am I jealous of absolutely everything anyone has? Am I jealous of the way someone looks? These are just a few examples, there are more.
The best way to overcome these feelings after admitting to them and gaining an understanding of what they consist of is to begin improving your situation. Make yourself into a person who has no reason to be jealous because you’re so happy with who you are. This may require developing greater self-confidence, getting more comfortable in your own skin. It is so important to be yourself. Though others can be a source of inspiration to us, we must not forget our uniqueness.
Set goals and improve yourself. Spending time mired in negative thoughts about someone else pursuing their dreams is a futile and damaging exercise. If you are busy chasing your goals and interests, you won’t have time to be jealous of what others are doing. The magic in all this is the more you improve yourself the happier you will be.
Relationships are frequently the place jealousy shows its ugly head. Try to spend time engaged in meaningful conversations or activities with your friends and above all be open and honest. If you find these things are not part of your relationships, it might be time to move on. As the old saying goes, you are the company you keep. The wise author of Proverbs wrote “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise; but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” Choose your friends wisely.
In closing, the ultimate key to controlling our emotions begins with improving our outlook. From there all else flows. Gaining proper perspective is vital to this process. The words of Viktor Frankel, author of Man’s Search for Meaning, seem appropriate to finish with…. “Everything can be taken from a man but the one thing: the last of human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way”.