What is it like to be jealous?

What is it? Being jealous is a taboo, maybe because it’s more of a vice than virtue. Elizabeth Bowen, an Irish writer had once written that, “Jealousy is no more than feeling alone against smiling enemies.” This creates a picture of happy people on one side and you feeling dejected on the other, alone. But it’s not just your enemies that you’re jealous of, sometimes it is the childhood sweetheart of your person, or a friend who has everything you longed for. It is just so inescapable that it mysteriously penetrates our souls.

What does jealousy make us feel? It makes us feel like torturing ourselves, with anything that makes us feel terrible. Jealousy in fact does more harm to us than to anyone who’s closest to us because it is mere lack of self-confidence. Also it is so instinctive that we often have no control over it, making everything so exhausting. Most of us do feel bad, ashamed of being jealous but once we enter the realm of jealousy, we lose conscious of what is and what could be. The people who you are jealous of are usually not the threats but the state of suspicion is what drives us crazy.

People say jealousy in moderation is healthy. But do we know where the boundary of moderation lies? Once the waves of jealousy start flowing in how do you stop sinking and start swimming in the sea?

Few years back a man living with his girlfriend, smashed her laptop and assaulted her. This was because he found a picture of a mysterious man on her Facebook page. It turned out that the picture was of the Republican presidential candidate. Jealousy is so hungry that you have to keep feeding it with information, details or pictures and now that we have Facebook and Instagram, it’s easy to trouble ourselves. Stalk someone all night just to deprive yourself of peace, sleep and make breeding grounds for distrust. What do we get? Thoughts of self-criticism, self-loathing. Jealousy could be a way to express that we care but not always. We know that every emotion teaches us something. Happiness teaches us to stay contented, Pain teaches us to be strong, Fear teaches us to look before we leap. But what does jealousy teach? Time to think!

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