What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the word jealousy? For many of us, we think romantic relationships. But we all know better. Honestly speaking, we’ve all been jealous at many points in our lives. Whether it was for a brief moment or for a long period of time. It happens to everyone and is unavoidable. Have you ever had those moments where you question yourself for being jealous; those situations where you find yourself being jealous over something you shouldn’t be? For example, you find yourself jealous of your friend’s popularity or just academic results. And you wonder, is being jealous a bad or good thing? What makes me jealous? How can I stop myself from acting upon my jealousy emotions?
Jealousy is hands down one of the most difficult emotions to understand. It ranges from fear of abandonment to bitterness and embarrassment. While this type of emotion is typical for romantic couples, jealousy can arouse among many different people: co-workers, siblings, and even friends. Jealousy is quite different from envy because it usually includes a third-party seen as a rival for affection. Envy is ‘I want what you have’ while jealousy is ‘I have something that I think you want, that I think you’re coming after’. But is this emotion good or bad?
While jealousy is a painful emotional experience, evolutionary psychologists view it not as an emotion to be withheld but as one to heed – like a wake-up call that a treasured relationship is in danger and that steps need to be taken in order to regain the affection of a friend or family member. Therefore, jealousy is not necessarily a negative emotion: it’s something that is necessary because it preserves social bonds and motivates people to engage in behaviors that maintain important relationships. Jealousy becomes bad when you are willing to do something bad because of it.
You need to very cautious to make sure this emotion does not overpower you when it comes to making decisions. The reason for this is because jealousy is such a strong emotion that can make you lose control if you’re repeatedly fed with the same thoughts about losing something. Of course, us being young, we tend to think “oh that won’t happen to me! It only happens in movies”. But the reality is: jealousy can urge you to make decisions that you may regret later on in your life. I’m sure we’ve all felt some type of jealousy that made us think about doing bad things. Jealousy can go even further; it can mess with your self-esteem. I know I remember there was a time when I felt so jealous of other people and I felt like I was useless and a nobody, even tried to change myself for those reasons.
To end this on a lighter note, jealousy isn’t something to be ashamed of. I know we’ve all seen all these people doing horrible things because of it, and we sometimes feel guilty when we find ourselves feeling jealous. But at the end of the day, it is a human emotion just like any other. Just like love, happiness, and hope. And just like the way we can control emotions like anger and sadness, we can control jealousy. Just be aware. When you find yourself going through the wrong path because of jealousy, just give yourself a moment and take a step back. Ask for help if it’s something that is getting out of control. But don’t ever feel ashamed because of it. We can only do so much for our emotions.
Art work: Fah G9