I am going to continue with my theme of emotions, which are causing you harm… because I want you to understand that you are more than how you feel, and you can (with help) heal the damaged places in your heart and mind. My first lesson was about anger, last week I talked about shame and this week I want to talk about jealousy.
Oh, jealousy, the green-eyed monster that will wreck your perfectly happy home and make you (a normal person) become insane with rage and keep you at night fretting over things you can’t control.
Other words for jealousy could be envy, covetousness, resentment, bitterness, spite, suspicion, distrust, mistrust, insecurity, anxiety, possessiveness or over-protectiveness.
Yikes! What a list of bad habits and emotions that will drag you down and wreck your once happy life. And why do this to yourself? Because you are afraid you can’t control the situation? Guess what? You can’t, and if you do try when it is not in your favor, you will do such great damage to your soul, yourself, your family and your friends.
Please hear me many times:
When you allow jealousy to enter into a once healthy relationship, you are not the only one hurt; your actions can, and most likely will, hurt others who are innocent, and that will be the undoing of your reputation for a lifetime.
I have always believed that the underlying issue of jealousy is based on low self-esteem. The person who is overtaken with jealousy has not spent the time to figure out how to improve their own life, meet their own needs or develop good friends who can keep them in balance. When you feel the need to take a bite out of someone else’s life to create what you don’t have…friend, you have a problem.
So I want to break this down into two parts:
- If you are a jealous person, I want you to hear how you affect others, because maybe by some stretch of the imagination you haven’t put 2 + 2 together and realized the harm you cause by your actions.
- And if you know or have a relationship with someone who is jealous, hear how it affects you.
Jealous people worry about others getting ahead and having more than they do, and they keep track of where others are going, so much so, that they spend a lot of their energy trying to catch up with the person they despise (they don’t call it that by the way).
You know this to be true, because if they are jealous of someone it is a good indication that those who they admire are doing things the right way, and everyone knows that people never get jealous of losers since there is no reason to—they just ignore them and keep walking.
Diana M. Rodriguez has a great article about destructive emotions, and she says that most people will experience jealousy at one time or another. It is not unusual or dysfunctional until it becomes obsessive and controlling. There is a difference between feeling jealous when your significant other or spouse seems interested in another person and getting to the point where a person is suspicious, obsessively controlling or imagining unreal or unfounded scenarios.
When someone works themselves up into a hot mess because they say that they are so “worried about you” (imagining unrealistic ideas of where you are, who you are with, where you might be going), that is all a lie. What this jealous person wants is to control your life, control who you are with and control where you will go. And the worst part is, they will cry and act disappointed when you question them about their actions, but don’t be fooled. The reality is that it is just an act to get you to stop what you are doing and include them, even when they don’t know what to do. Jealousy makes people selfish and greedy, and they want to make sure you don’t have more fun, more friends; more of anything without them.
Now, I will say that jealousy is a hard issue to pin down, since it is usually accompanied with great emotion that on the surface seems legit, but don’t be fooled. Remember, the jealous person knows exactly what they are doing. Jealousy is a habit that is learned early in life; it is not easily broken, and can be a person’s Achilles heel for life, unless they can find some way to build their own self-esteem so they don’t need yours to fulfill their sad and pathetic life.
You may have family or friends who are more interested in who you are with, what you are doing, where you are going than seems normal. (And you know what normal is—it is the freedom you had before you connected with this person.) I know it is fun to suddenly have a best friend, but be cautious and notice if they don’t have any other real long-term friends; there is probably a reason, and you don’t want to be the latest victim of their emotional destruction.
If you have a friend who is jealous, take my advice and find a way to leave them on the curb, because they will hijack the joy from your life and make you feel bad about it.
Now, if you are the jealous person, see yourself for who you are, and then find a way to get help, or find a few things that feed your soul so you don’t continue down this path of lonely destruction.
I like the old line from Zig Ziglar—“The only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you,” and, friends, that is what jealous people will do if you let them.
Does it sound harsh when I say, leave them at the curb? Well, maybe so, but the reality is that they are like those sticky little green or brown hitchhikers that stick to your clothes when you walk through the woods. You can pull them off your pants, but it wastes a boatload of time when you could be doing other things. Don’t let their emotional baggage fill up your house.
Another very unhealthy aspect of jealousy is when a person is jealous of the good fortune of others. Often, this sort of envy will lead a person to frustration and bitterness, but realizing that others may have more of something should not lead to jealousy or envy. If a person is fully actualized and mature, they will be able to accept that there are always going to be people who have more, but there are also people who have less. So, be grateful for the blessing, and feel blessed that you’re okay, since there really is plenty to go around.
If you are a jealous person, being satisfied with what is doesn’t mean you have to be happy about it. It simply means that you don’t allow your jealousy to gnaw away at you and drive you to a dysfunctional and destructive level of harm. It’s pointless to be concerned with what others have, unless you find a way to have those things that you want in your own life. So, strengthening your own self-worth and self-esteem and being mindful of the goodness in life can drive away the negativity that jealousy creates.
Whether you are the jealous one or you have a jealous friend, the problem can be fixed with help. Don’t let others tear at the fabric of your life by their neediness. Find your place. Take your space and set off in the direction of your dreams. Better to walk alone, than with someone who can’t care for you because they can’t care for themselves. You deserve better.