Is jealously the root of all evil? The how and why of the green eyed monster, and tips to work through it

“O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;
It is the green-ey’d monster, which doth mock
The meat it feeds on.”
William Shakespeare, Othello

Have you ever met a person that just oozed unhappiness?

Maybe you have never heard said person say a kind thing, maybe they scrunch their face up into a pensive mess when you talk about something positive in your life. Maybe you always feel uncomfortable around them because you can feel the happy energy in the room being sucked out when they are present.

Chances are, this unhappy person has feelings of inadequacy that ultimately are related to the green-eyed monster, jealousy. Jealousy occurs when a person believes themselves to be inferior to others whether on a conscious or subconscious level.

A jealous person becomes threatened when someone else is doing well, or has a positive life occurrence. Jealousy can also occur when a person feels threatened by another’s appearance—the person believes the other person to be more handsome or beautiful than them, thus the “claws” come out. I’m sure that we have all experienced it firsthand from someone else, or maybe you recognize jealous tendencies within yourself from time to time.

“Beware of those who criticize you when you deserve some praise for an achievement, for it is they who secretly desire to be worshiped.”
Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem

When a person is unable to feel happy for someone else that is doing well in life, I believe this to be a blatant inferiority issue. I have worked (in and out of the therapy session!) with enough people who have very low self-esteem to realize that when a person is insecure, they are at such a fragile place that anyone else’s successes may just put them over the edge, and cause them to lash out disproportionately to what the situation may call for. Inadvertently causing distress and feelings that they are incompetent or ‘a loser’.

Typically, when someone is jealous, this emotion gets the better of them and they lash out, projecting those feelings of uncertainty and self-dislike on those around them.

If you identify that you are in a situation where you are experiencing unhappiness and jealousy towards others—the time has come to perform some heavy introspection.

I’m a major list person. I believe that writing something down, reading it, and visually seeing the issues in front of you is healing and can logically help you organize your thoughts. Make a list of the inadequacies you believe that you have as well as the things that you most often feel jealous of.

The list can be as general or specific that you want it to be. Just by making the list, you are defining the insecurities within yourself. Through definition comes clarity. In order to understand why we behave the way that we do, we have to understand the root cause.

Awhile back, I met a woman who was nice enough. She was one of those people who appeared friendly on the onset of meeting her yet the more you got to know her, you realized that there was a definite “putting on the best behavior act” occurring. There was a shiftiness about her, and I realized that in order to protect myself, I would have to remain guarded—keep her at arm’s length as the saying goes. Anyone that knows me will tell you that I’m upbeat and positive. I’ve always had a positive disposition, it’s both learned and who I am.

With this woman, however, I could literally tell that just by being myself, I was not liked by her. That’s fine, I can accept when someone is not a fan. And this lady was not someone who I necessarily wanted to embrace as a friend. I did my best to steer clear unless interactions had to happen. Her disdain was apparent each time we interacted until finally I received her unsolicited feedback that solidified my suspicion that she felt threatened. “You just have it all together don’t you. Your perfect life” she managed to choke out in anger. I looked at her puzzled. “Where did that come from?” I wondered. At that moment, her phone rang and I quietly left her office. The green-eyed monster that is jealousy and contempt was so strong it left me a bit rattled on the inside.

The strange thing about jealousy is that it will rear its ugly head at different times and with different people. You could be having a benign, neutral conversation with someone  and out comes a comment like the one above.

When a person is so unhappy with themselves, as I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, this unhappy energy literally radiates from them. When you’re on the receiving end of an outburst, it can actually cause a visceral reaction—usually the pit of my stomach gets a bit knotted after having an interaction like that. If you have a case of jealousy, then I urge you to work on it. Not just for others that are around you, but for your own mental and physical health.

Research has shown time after time, that poor mental health will inevitably end up manifesting itself in physical ways, especially when left unattended. High blood pressure, intestinal issues, poor sleep, and even heart arrhythmia to name a few. The sooner that you work through some of these negative emotions you’re experiencing, the better for you both physically and mentally.

Make your list of the things that you most often feel threatened by and then begin to work through them, focusing on developing a strong sense of self-worth and self-esteem.

Bringing the point to life: maybe you want to lose 25 pounds and your fit coworker causes you to grit your teeth every time she is near. Why not work on yourself instead of radiating all of that anger and resentment?

Or maybe your friend is an excellent public speaker and everyone seems fascinated by her when she speaks. Instead of harping on the fact that she gets all of the positive attention, read up on developing public speaking skills and get to work!

“Maybe that was the root of my dislike for her: she had what I wanted, which earned her my jealousy, and since I was ashamed of myself for wanting it, my scorn, as well.”
Nenia Campbell, Bleeds My Desire

Jealousy is a toxic, life-sucking emotion. Negative outcomes occur when you exhibit jealousy. Jealousy is fairly transparent and can be recognized by others, only furthering feelings of insecurity in the one that already feels afflicted. If you are experiencing feelings of inadequacy, examine where those inadequacies are coming from and make positive changes in life.

We are only able to be in control of ourselves. So much of life can be missed out on if we get too caught up in our negative emotions and insecurities. Work towards growing, developing a healthy self-esteem, and being the best version of yourself that you can be.

 

I leave you with this quote that sums everything up nicely:

“If you can channel the best part of you that is bigger than yourself, where it’s not about your ego and not about getting ahead, then you can have fun and you aren’t jealous of others. You see other people’s talent as another branch of your own. You can keep it rooted in joy. Life is long and there are plenty of opportunities to make mistakes. The point of it all is to learn.”
Ethan Hawke

 

Exploit your insecurities and use them to learn more about yourself. Be empowered to make decisions that benefit you and leave you treating others with kindness…

 

Wishing you a healthy life full of introspection and advancement today and every day,

Rachel Ann

 

For more information on jealousy, please take a look at two great articles:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/jealousy

https://psychcentral.com/lib/envy-jealousy-and-shame/

I think, therefore I am How self-aware are you? Cultivating and becoming a better you

Imagine this. You start your day off feeling on edge. You know that you have a presentation at work that may be causing anxiety but you wonder if maybe there is something else going on.

Instead of giving the feeling of unease more thought, you go about your day, scarf down breakfast, hurriedly taking a shower, and then jump in the car to zoom to work as fast as you can. As the morning continues on, there has still not been a resolution to the feeling that something is just off. You give the presentation and notice that you feel slightly on edge that your coworker is present, but you just accept where you’re at mentally and say forget it! Instead of further examining this state of unease, you ignore it. You act as if everything is fine and go out to lunch with coworkers, stuffing those feelings deep down into the imaginary black hole where your feelings have always gone to meet their demise. And nothing bad really does happen with your day. Yet little do you know that continuing to ignore these feelings of dis-ease are often the very thing that brings about your own downfall whether that means over indulging with alcohol, drugs, and or lashing out at someone you’re closest to. Why? Because humans can only function while ignoring problems for so long until their proverbial pot boils over.

Now let’s look at scenario two.

Everything starts the exact same way. Except that the more intuitive, self-aware person takes the time to ask and examine, “What is going on with me right now?” Instead of pushing down the feelings of discomfort, the self-aware individual seeks understanding of his or her current state of mind. Let’s go ahead and play through what a highly self-aware person would do in this situation. Instead of squelching and ignoring the pangs of knowing that something was not right, the seeker of self-awareness would actively consider the events of the previous day as well as the events occurring in the here and now. The self-aware individual may be mulling these concepts over in their mind on the way to work and have the aha! moment of “I feel taken advantage of at work. I’m dreading giving this presentation because I realize that I did all of the research but my coworker is going to try to take over and I feel anxiety about what will happen.” Just by achieving understanding of the situation, the discomfort is alleviated and the anxiety dissipates.  The self-aware individual may decide to discuss their feelings with their coworker or may let the presentation play out, knowing that their coworker’s lack of knowledge regarding the information will be proof enough of the unpreparedness. Through gaining this understanding of self, the result is empowerment.

What is self-awareness?

I explain self-awareness to be an intimate knowledge of who you are. And who you are is an intricate, unique collection of values, likes, dislikes, your ethical and moral compass, and your own understanding of how you may affect other people. I’ve observed how some people go through life on a seemingly superficial status quo. They may busy themselves with relationships that never go anywhere, talk of information that has no real substance, and then self-medicate with a myriad of superficial alleviators whether that’s substances, shopping, or internet distractions.

Individuals that are self-aware seek answers. They want to achieve a greater knowledge of who they are. There is always a quest to gain deeper understanding of how they affect others and examine why and what may be causing them to feel a certain way. Achieving self-awareness can absolutely be achieved through introspection and in most cases, meeting with a therapist that you trust.

In the meantime, I challenge you to become more self-aware and:

1. List your values and or moral codes. What are the laws by which you govern your life? And I’m not speaking to the laws that are put into place by our government. I’m referring simply to the personal rules that you have for yourself. The self-aware individual recognizes when a situation may be placing them in a compromising situation, one that disagrees with their values and morals. Through recognizing the dissonance occurring, you will be able to remove yourself from the situation or put in the effort to not be in the negative situation in the future…

2. Consciously take a mental note the next time you talk to someone, your friend, your partner, your coworker, etc. and observe how they regard you and likewise, how you speak to them. Observe whether there is a difference between different people. Do you look everyone in the eye? How do you feel after you get done talking with someone? Is there a sense of peace or a feeling of discomfort? Take it a step further and think to yourself about where the feelings are coming from?

 

Most recently, I met a new friend at work. We instantly clicked and there was a kindred connection of sorts. I liked her immediately. We discussed how we are both from the South, what our husbands do, etc. It wasn’t until a few days later that I had my own aha moment! I liked this woman because she is familiar. She represents so much of where I’ve come from-the easy Southern nature, pleasant demeanor, and just extremely down to earth with no pretenses about her-I felt like I’d known her forever and we just met. I remember telling my husband “She reminds me of home” and if I’m really being honest, she reminds me of my mom. I notice that I speak to her in a more comfortable manner than I do some of the other people at work and I realize that it’s because of the connection that I feel.

 

Alternately, I work with another woman that I feel like I constantly have to be on guard with. I can never predict if she will be snarky and irritable with me or if she is going to be in a good mood that day…I notice that I have to walk on eggshells with her. I also am self-aware enough to know this and realize that everyone has different issues that they are working through. And I choose to not take it personal, although I definitely mentally prepare for the possibility that she will be having an off day! Think to yourself about the interactions that you have on a daily basis. What is it about them that you like or dislike?

 

3. Consider your likes and dislikes. What are personality traits in yourself and others that you do not like? What are traits in yourself and others that you like or even love? Gaining a sense of knowledge about your likes and dislikes is empowering. It allows you to remain self-aware and cognizant so that you can still have a productive relationship with someone even if there are certain things about them that aren’t your favorite. I have no doubt that there are people in your life that you “have to put up with” whether it’s at work, your in-laws, the other moms at your child’s school. Consider the traits that these individuals share and take note. The unevolved person avoids these people at all costs but the self-aware person acknowledges these traits to feel empowered and confident about the next interaction that may occur and how they will handle it. Knowing how others affect you and what you like and dislike can allow you to adequately prepare [read mentally prepare] for those not so pleasant interactions.

If you’ve been bitten by the bug and are desiring to find out more information on self-awareness, please take a look at The Self-Awareness Guy who provides a comprehensive list of the benefits of self-awareness:

 

http://www.theselfawarenessguy.com/64/10-benefits-of-self-awareness

 

And of course to close this post out, I have to know-Did Captain America say that knowing yourself is power? The superhero that stated that phrase is unbeknownst to me at this point, all I remember is that I heard that phrase as a child and wasn’t sure what it meant!

I realize now how truthful that statement is and how very important self-awareness is for self-growth to occur.

 

Know thyself, master thyself, and become your own best expert.

 

Wishing you health and self-awareness,

 

Rachel Ann