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/