Jealousy. It is a term characterized by one’s greedy personality and disgust of others. It is bred out of our witness of another’s greatness and our lack thereof. But jealousy is unbeknownst to our day to day actions, our thoughts, and our impressions of others. It is the very cause of what we do when we refuse to double tap an Instagram picture of that girl showing off her flattering bikini bod at the Atlantic City beach. It reigns from when we screenshot a picture of a happy couple and send it to our best friends (also single) with a message “As if (insert laughing/crying emoji face)”.
We decline invitations to outings because we don’t want to see the happiness of life experienced by others- their happiness is not great as ours. We decide not to study with those who rank among us academically and intellectually because we’re never going to be as great as them. And we won’t text our friend who landed her first job offer because we are sitting away in our parents’ basement trying to multitask effortlessly, watching Netflix and brushing up our resumes.
We are inherently jealous of others and we try to justify our actions by saying to ourselves, “I’m much better than him or her in these ways….”. At times, we are driven by jealousy to perform the horrific act of murder. Take into instance the circumstances that Nobel Peace-Prize winner Malala Yousafzai underwent. In her 2013 interview with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show, Malala spoke of how “education is the power of the women”.
The Taliban snatched away that power by not allowing girls to go to school- partly because of their views, but partly because of their jealousy. Malala told Jon Stewart, “They do not want women to get education because then they will become more powerful”. The Taliban, a powerful Islamist militant group, was jealous of these young girls who wanted to pursue an education and better their life. It was an intangible weapon that they were afraid of, and they decided to fight back by physical means- all because of jealousy.
So, wait- should we channel our jealousy into acts of violence? Of course not. We should be able to resist the urges of destroying others’ livelihoods in order to attain a better sense of self worth. And there’s the key word that is linked interminably with jealousy- “self worth”. No matter how many times we are told by the wise ones that our self worth can only be determined by us, we allow others’ impressions to get ahold of us, and shape our perceptions of who we are.
So when the dreadful comment of comparison is made by a friend, we feel a range of emotions- but mostly jealous. That jealousy eats off our low self worth and eventually takes over what sense of civility and humility we have. It turns us into a monster that begins to hate everyone that qualifies their own self worth, everyone that runs carefree into the open fields, everyone that is fearless. We begin to hate ourselves.
It is a human thing to be jealous. The green eyed monster of jealousy exists in every one of us, and it’s okay. Sometimes we cannot outperform the capacities of this jealous monster that lives within us. So what should we do?
We should channel our jealousy to a state of competitiveness. We should strive to be as great as the person next to us. Even if we do not reach his or her level of ability, we still tried our best- and that’s what counts.
We shouldn’t miss out on a hangout with friends just because there are couples and we are still single. Laugh and enjoy the moment, for who knows when you will be able to have some great human interaction in this smartphone-centered world.
We should double tap those Instagram pictures that showcase our cronies in magical parts of the world, such as the Louvre museum in Paris and make a mental note, that one day, we should force ourselves into those experiences.
We should not try to comfort ourselves of our “superiority,” but rather we should level ourselves to the role of humans: we are equal to others, not above, or below, but equal. In that stooping down to a level of equality, we begin to see that we are self-pitying ourselves of the abilities we refuse to improve.
Most of all, we should continue to become. Let jealousy be the driving force that inspires, turns the gears in your working mind, and pushes you to become the better person that you should be. Become you. It is a long process, and jealousy can play a huge role in it. As long as is benefits- not hinders.