Part of the
dictionary definition of jealousy states that jealousy is "a state of
fear, suspicion or envy caused by a real or imagined threat to one's
possessive instincts." It also says that jealousy is "a
zealous desire to preserve an existing situation or
relationship." Both of these states of mind, no matter how we
look at it, prevent us from living our lives as happy, loving people who
are getting the most out of all our gifts.
The envious side
of jealousy has been covered on the "envy" page--envy is a
reflection of our dissatisfaction with ourselves, our desire to be like
someone else or have the things that someone else has. The
dictionary's definition of jealousy is interesting, though, in the fact
that it includes the concepts of fear and suspicion, two other elements of
life that definitely keep us from getting the most of our lives. I
may be jealous of the newcomer in the office because I'm afraid that he or
she is going to take my job, because I see qualities in that person that I
don't see in myself. Or I may be afraid that my wife or girlfriend
is going to like this new man she just met better than she likes me, again
because of qualities that I see in that person that I don't see in myself.
Which brings us
to the second element of jealousy, the one that's incredibly common among
people--the "zealous" desire to maintain a relationship.
The jealous person is a horrible person to be in a relationship with, for
that person shows no trust at all in his or her partner.
jealous person sees his or her actions (which are covetous) as a sign of
his or her love, everyone else sees the actions as the obsessive traits
that they are--an obsessive desire to possess, beyond any doubt, another
I've known women
who wouldn't even talk to any men at all because they were afraid of what
their boyfriends or husbands would do if they found out that "their woman" was talking to another guy. These women were,
without exception, isolated and lonely and unhappy, but they were also
unwilling to leave their partners--mostly because of fear. The
obvious fear was of what their boyfriends or husbands would do, but there
was also a fear of being alone there; they were afraid that they might not
find another man to be with, and they were unwilling to risk loneliness.
The jealousy of
their partners was ruining their lives, but I also have to wonder just how
happy the jealous men were. Yes, they had their
"possessions"--their women--but what else did they have?
They certainly didn't have peace of mind, and they had no trust at
all. They had a partner who stayed with them more out of fear than
out of love or respect, and they were alienating many people by their
Of course, there
are explanations for their jealousy. Maybe they didn't have much
when they were kids, and they're afraid of losing things now. Maybe
because of situations in their past they have a need to control
now. But no explanation can take away the fact that they're making
themselves and others unhappy now, today. An alcoholic's abusive
childhood may explain behavior, but the explanation can't bring back the
family the was killed when the alcoholic was driving drunk. The
jealous person needs to learn trust--most of all, trust in him or herself,
trust that he or she is a worthwhile individual who deserves love and
respect, and who will receive it as a matter of course from decent people
who love and respect others.
people, I've noticed, tend to surround themselves with untrustworthy
people. Maybe this is a way of perpetuating or justifying or
rationalizing their jealousy, allowing it to continue unabated.
Maybe it's a reflection of what they think of themselves--since they don't
trust themselves, they can't trust others, and being around untrustworthy
people allows them to feel that their lack of trust is normal. No
matter what, though, these jealous people are hurting themselves and
others-- sometimes even physically--and if unchecked, jealousy is always a
damaging factor in our lives. My hope is that the jealous people
will learn to love and trust themselves as the great people they were
created to be, and allow that trust to spill over to others in their