Jealousy is a plague that has followed humans since our earliest existence. As living beings, we are constantly competing against our environment and other humans of a similar standing. As social animals, we are in close contact with our competition and superiors. So we naturally look at what we have, look at what they have and want a better lot.
This can be very good in that it helps us set high goals, gain healthy respect for our peers and superiors and understand our position and potential. However, it can also cause us problems.
We start to develop a deep envy of anyone who has something we want. We covet what they have, be it a fancy car, curly hair or a knack for music. And rather than enjoy their merits for what they are and look to the good in ourselves, we focus entirely on our lack of these things. Which leads to social disruptions as we become jealous of our peers and lose self esteem over our differences.
And all this is perfectly natural. But, just as eating and getting fat are natural does not make obesity good or healthy, neither is jealousy and low self esteem healthy just because competitiveness and living in close proximity to your competition are natural.
For a healthier outlook, instead admire the positives in others. Don’t look at what they have and get angry because they have it and it’s nice. That may be a natural reaction, but it is also immature and harmful. Look at someone who has the car you want and admire that car. You can do this and accept that you don’t have the money to buy it (yet). Look at someone who does amazingly in maths exams without any effort at all and admire their talent. You can do this and accept that you have to work harder than that and may never get those results. Look at someone who has the curly hair you’ve always dreamed of and admire its beauty. You can do this and accept that your hair is not naturally curly like that.
It’s key to respect your differences. You may want to be the same as your friend or a celebrity in certain aspects, but there is no point harbouring envy and anger because someone has something you don’t. I’m not really a believer in the doctrine of “everyone is equal in their difference”. There are plenty of bright people who are also athletic, attractive and charming. Not every dumb person will have anything to compensate for it. But generally people have good traits and bad traits, even if they aren’t really excellent in any way. You may not have your friend’s hair colour or gift for mathematics. But getting het up about it doesn’t help you get it. It just makes you angry, insecure and bitter, all of which are actually making you worse as a person. And when we try and improve ourselves from a place of jealousy, trying to seize what we covet… Well, like the proverbial flower that is picked, the thing we thought was so beautiful is ruined and dies. When we get a face lift or botox to get beautiful skin, we wind up with unnaturally stretched, creased skin. When we lie in tanning beds or bleach our skin, we get reddened marks, cancer risk and blotchy patches. When we cheat in a French test we get pushed beyond our abilities in the higher classes until we drop out. You can’t just see what you like and angrily grab at it. Sometimes it’s beyond your reach and snatching it will only break it.
So try and appreciate yourself. Bear in mind that the traits you would readily cast aside for something else are also coveted by others. Even the tallest man wants the normalcy of average height. Even the richest person wants the simplicity of less. Even the greatest mathematician wonders about becoming a gardener. Nobody is ever fully satisfied. Someone out there wants your hair, your waistline, your money, your family, your job. You may not enjoy any of it. But at least appreciate that whatever you have has some value.
And if you find actual flaws? Flaws that hinder you, that aren’t representative of you, that you could easily fix? Build yourself up from there. You don’t need to hate your hair to get a haircut or to hate your job to change careers. You don’t need to be bitter towards the maths whiz to work harder in maths or to get angry at attractive celebrities to get fit. Just because the baseline is “be me” doesn’t mean that you can’t go beyond it. You stay “me” every step of the way, don’t you? You will still be true to yourself if you become wiser, more attractive, wealthier, more powerful, fitter, more educated or stronger.
So admire the things you love in others.
Respect the difference between yourself and those around you.
Appreciate every blessing bestowed upon you.
And never stop growing.
After all, you’re perfect, but you need to keep going.
TTFN and Happy Hunting!