‘Jealousy doesn’t look good on you’
‘The green-eyed monster’
‘No one likes jealous people’
‘Jealousy is ugly’
‘You shouldn’t feel jealous’
Growing up, we are told that jealousy is an ‘ugly’ emotion and is even referred to as a ‘monster’ – What sort of a message is that?!
Now, I get it, I really do – No one likes to feel jealous and it sucks to feel that way about something or someone when deep down all you want to feel is pure ecstatic happiness. In short, it’s a completely stinky sucky emotion. Am I right?
I’m not saying it’s ‘ugly’, I’m not saying you’re anything less for feeling it, I’m not telling you that you shouldn’t ever feel it and I’m certainly not telling you to fear or beat yourself up for it. Jealousy is an emotion, just like every other emotion we may feel at some point or another. Just like all emotions it will come and go. Just because you feel moments of jealousy now, for 5 minutes, for the entire week or even month, it doesn’t mean that you’ll feel it forever. At some point, you’ll wave it goodbye and be on your merry way.
Not because it’s a completely stinky, sucky feeling to experience, but because of the fear and self-loathing that comes with it. When we’re younger if we were sad we’d get a cuddle – we would be told that everything will be ok and that it’s ok to cry. When we’re angry, we’re consoled and taught how to have room to breathe and even say sorry if it’s needed. Can you remember jealousy? Were you taught that it’s ok? If so, then you’re SO lucky – and I really mean that because for the majority of us, it was almost instilled from a young age that we SHOULDN’T feel jealous and almost made fearful of ever expressing we were. Even calling it a ‘green-eyed monster’ makes it sound like the most horrific of emotions to come across. I was told it made me ‘ugly’, that our belief system didn’t like it, that it might dictate my worth when it came to friendships and very soon all of this led to me fearing ever feeling jealous about anything or anyone.
That’s why I have issues with jealousy. Jealousy is an emotion, and yes, it might be one of the stinkiest to have to work through – but we do have to work through it none the less. After all, what happens if we don’t work through negative emotions? They get smellier and smellier until all of a sudden, what was one tiny bit of stinky jealousy, now requires a complete evacuation with a whole SWAT team of fumigators to clear out the junk! In fact, any inkling of jealousy not given the love and tenderness it requires, can eventually lead to that other uncomfortable word – bitterness.
I had a beautiful friend talk to me about jealousy the other day, saying that she feels horrible for feeling it. She was seriously putting herself down and expressing such self-loathing for experiencing a perfectly valid and genuine feeling. The saddest thing is that she’s not alone – in fact I know so many people, myself included, that end up beating themselves up for being jealous.
It’s not going to last forever and just because you’re jealous of someone doesn’t mean that you can’t love them and be happy for them at the same time. You’re not all of a sudden branded with a massive ‘MONSTER’ tattoo on your forehead. Jealousy is actually more about you than it is about the person or thing you’re jealous of. That’s also why it’s one of the hardest emotions to experience, to work through, to dive deep with and to come out of the other side (let alone teach a child!).
Jealousy rears it’s tricky little head when you’re presented with something that you have yet to forgive yourself for. There might be something in your life that you’ve always wanted or that you’ve struggled to achieve, or that you feel you’ve failed in some way – anything that you’re continuously beating yourself up over and haven’t forgiven yourself for can lead to feelings of jealousy when you see what you wanted for yourself in other people.
Once you forgive yourself for whatever it is you weren’t punishing yourself for, you’ll be able to say goodbye to jealousy – for the time being anyway. Life and relationships are all about mirroring, and most of the time, when we feel negative emotions it’s because we have been triggered by someone or something else. It’s that mirroring of the other person or situation that has then led to it being reflected back onto ourselves and jealousy is no different.
Let me tell you, forgiveness is not an easy journey – it’s not saying ‘I forgive you’ and then being done with it. It takes time and it takes work but when you know where to start, you’ve taken the hardest step in that journey. Most importantly, never be afraid of feeling jealous and please don’t put yourself down or think you’re any less of a person for feeling it. It’s just a feeling and it will come and go, but give yourself the chance to work through it and you never know, you might encounter one of the greatest life lessons you’ll ever learn about yourself.
To listen to the podcast episode, click on the links below: