Image result for image jealousy

“Does jealousy have value in driving humans to improve themselves or is it purely a negative emotion?”

Danny asked this question yesterday and it has triggered some random thoughts that I’d like to share and maybe we can have a little discussion in the comments afterwards. I think in general people agreed, and I’m one of them: It’s a negative emotion. So how can it have value?

How can an emotion that gets people to do things they would “normally” not do actually be positive? When I think jealousy I see a raging face, I hear harsh and hurtful words. I see tears. The feelings I relate to jealousy are fear, anger, panic, pain, rage…

Irene has nailed it in saying that jealousy is related to confidence and that often people who lack confidence will show the most jealousy. I agree but then I also wonder: There are so many out there who basically lose it. Jealousy is a word that often gets mentioned in relation to domestic abuse. Maybe it’s just a cheap excuse for someone who has no control over him- or herself. But often it’s jealousy that triggers the first physical attack. Or am I wrong? So do people like that lack in confidence too? Do they simply overshadow their lack of confidence with aggression and control?

I know domestic violence is on the far end of the spectrum in regards to jealousy. And yet I believe that Irene has actually hit the nail on its head. People who control others through violence can’t be confident. Otherwise they wouldn’t need force or mean mind tricks to keep the people they want to have around in check.

There are so many forms of jealousy. Siblings feel jealous of each other because they think one gets more of whatever than the other. People are jealous because of others having success. They are jealous of what others call their property. Maybe they’re jealous of others being happy. Friends are jealous when their friends are friends with others and do something with their other friends. Lovers are jealous. We are jealous of someone’s look. The list could go on and on.

And while I’m listing all of this it becomes clearer and clearer that everything falls back on confidence. Confidence in yourself, your actions.

So maybe jealousy has value in driving us to improve ourselves. But we need to want this first. We need to make ourselves see it first and then we need to start working on our confidence and build it up. That’s a long process though. And jealousy is a bitter and strong feeling that tends to cloud your thoughts and take over. It creeps back. So it’s a tough process and I wonder if you can ever truly overcome it?


6 thoughts on “Jealousy

  1. Hopefully this doesn’t cause a riot – I believe everyone feels a degree a jealousy at some point. I found jealousy to be negative. It seems weird that jealousy is used in the same sentence as value or improvement. Jealousy in my mind causes strife and distance.

    I have found jealousy to be equivalent to accepting defeat or turning your back to wisdom and opportunity. I have determined that you get further when you cheer people on. I have always hitched my success in life to those individuals that I keep close and those who I cross paths with day-to-day. When they share their good news it alters me and I become an instance cheerleader. I know that one person’s success in my circle is bound to take me higher. This is why I will encourage anyone who wants change to take a risk. How can you be jealous of someone who meets the mark, whatever that mark is? Examples are confidence boosters and they pave the way.

    Here is a story of jealousy that comes to mind… I know this couple and the wife is jealous of the dog! I am shaking my head at this. Jealous of the dog, really—yes. The husband pays the dog too much attention, hahaha. Now, I don’t know how to positively spin this one unless she didn’t like the husband and then, well anyway. Someone will have to help me out on this one, but can lack of confidence be projected on an animal?

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  2. I encountered way too much jealousy among my colleagues, and even among my managers, at my last job. At least that’s what I attributed as the source of what seemed to be increasingly negative and discouraging responses to my efforts to introduce new practices and deeper approaches to the standard routine practices I encountered in what I had anticipated to be my dream career posting. This may have stemmed from the more concrete and realistic experiences in the field I had when I came to this job, in addition to my more advanced degree and age. Any objective person might have predicted the outcome, but I hoped that this would not intimidate those around me. In the end, I fear it may have. I take some solace, though, in the fact that I saw the same jealousies, insecurities and back-stabbing occurring throughout the organization. This made me sad but didn’t surprise me, given the uncertain company climate at the time as it prepared to split into two separate businesses. I agree with you, and most others I guess, that jealousy is a negative emotion that benefits none of the parties it touches.

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