Any time the word “jealousy” is mentioned, someone always feels the need to announce, “I’M NOT JEALOUS OF ANYBODY AND I NEVER WILL BE!” blah blah blah. One, I’ve often noticed that the ones who speak the loudest about NOT being jealous are the most jealous of all. Two, this is NOT a roll call of who is jealous and who isn’t. Most people would not admit it anyway, which is no big surprise, but this isn’t to point those people out. Using a little personal integrity and being honest with yourself goes a long way and I commend people who can do that. Jealousy is a sign of weakness to many and that’s why so many avoid admitting to it, but if you’re someone who can take a good look at yourself and admit that you do find yourself jealous about certain things, then I hope this can help you a great deal.
I spent a lot of my childhood jealous of others for one reason or another. We grew up poor, so pretty much any time I met a friend, went over to someone’s house, etc., and saw that they had more than us, it made me jealous. When I saw shows on television and realized people actually lived like that, I was jealous. When I reached middle school and high school, I was jealous of all the popular guys and the ones who always had girlfriends. I wasn’t desperate for a ton of girlfriends myself, but these guys were very popular with the girls and I wasn’t at all. I think my name caught more attention than I did, or I was just known as “Michael’s little brother.”
Jealousy was NOT a good feeling at all. I spent so much time just wishing certain aspects of my life were like someone else’s. I didn’t truly know what came with that, but that’s what happens. For example, referring to the guys who were popular with the girls; all I knew is that these girls talked to and about these guys a lot and always cheered for them during pep rallies and so on. What I didn’t know is what went on behind the scenes; in other words, this guy gets a girlfriend, but still being popular with the other girls, surely that would cause problems and as someone who never cared about having more than one girlfriend, I’m not exactly sure how I would handle that. Even today, when my wife of 15 years tells me that some woman flirted with me, most of the time I don’t realize it or even believe it, but I don’t often know what to say…and this is just flirting. Any more than that and you get what I mean. It’s not a matter of just saying, “I’m a married man,” but it’s the attention itself that will come, whether I say I’m married or not.
That’s just one example, but this is what we often do when we get jealous. We look at what’s on the surface and nothing more. We think that one aspect of that person’s life makes that person’s life 100% AMAZING and there is 0% TROUBLE when it comes to it and that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Jealousy is a NORMAL emotion and feeling. There is nothing “weak” about it. If too much time is spent on it, that’s not a good thing, but if you’re someone who finds yourself jealous from time to time, don’t beat yourself down too much. It happens.
But if you don’t like the feeling jealousy brings, the first step is to ADMIT IT and if to no one else, admit it to YOURSELF. It’s amazing to me how often people try to avoid acknowledging problems with themselves. Problems do not go away just because you pretend they aren’t there. Doing that often makes them worse. If you pretend the problem doesn’t exist, then you also cannot fix things because you would have no idea where to begin.
As for me, I knew that as much as I hated feeling jealous all the time, I had to do something about it and that “something” meant to work on ME. Especially when I looked at the time and energy I was putting into it and some of the things I would say.
Yeah, this one is for those who like to claim they aren’t jealous while at the same time, they put down whatever they’re supposedly not jealous of. There’s no bigger sign of jealousy than that. You know what I’m talking about…
A person gets that promotion at work and another person who the ENTIRE office knows wanted the promotion. Does he or she just congratulate and go about their business? Nah. They proceed to say things like, “Well I didn’t want that promotion anyway,” or “Well you didn’t earn it!” or “Good luck, because your days and nights are gonna be much longer now!” and so on (and yes, I’m aware that people get promotions all the time that they don’t earn, but a good majority of the time, the person saying this doesn’t truly KNOW for certain and they’re just lashing out. THAT’S the instance I’m talking about and yes, it DOES happen).
When I was little and saw others do this, I figured it would make me feel better also. I found ways to put down those around me I was jealous of. Those guys, if the sports team they played on did poorly in a game or that season, I would enjoy it and say, “They’re not all that, because they still lost.” At my high school, when they announced the score of the previous night’s football game, the person would always say, “Parkville lost a hard-fought battle against…” even if the score was a thousand to nothing. I relished in that also. Even though the girls were still there, I got that pleasure anyway.
Then there are those people who sit back and just hope things go wrong with those they are jealous of. You know THOSE types; to bring things to today, that married couple gets on Facebook and talks about how great their marriage is. Of course, jealousy brews and these others sit back and salivate at any sign of problems or simply hope things don’t last forever. Tying in to what I just said, they’d also say things like “Oh, they won’t last,” with no proof whatsoever. My wife is white and I’m black, so OF COURSE, we got plenty of that and I’m positive there are people who still look at us that way. As I said earlier, we just hit 15 years of marriage, so if this is how people choose to spend their time, that’s on them.
As with me, I did the same when I was little. I would hope the silliest things; that our sports teams would lose their games, that athletes would get hurt and things like that…
…and that’s when I realized just how wrong I was. One day, while still in high school, I checked myself and really listened to my thoughts. I thought about those I said this about and there was no good reason for me to say those things or to feel those ways. Why? Because of popularity?
Then I thought, well what if I WAS popular? Would I want someone saying these things about me? Some kid hoping I got hurt all because the girls liked me? Somebody cheering against me when I played whatever sport just because I was more popular than he was? I knew that wasn’t cool.
So how did I fix that? The first thing I told myself is that I needed to start looking at MY life. At the time, I was sure things weren’t going to drastically change for me by then, so I figured that I had better start embracing my own life and where I was. I’ll estimate that I was about 14 or 15 when I thought of this. But in embracing my life, there was also learning to ACCEPT it as well. We don’t have a big place. Got it. My brother and I, even as teenagers, have to share a bedroom because Mom can’t afford anything bigger. Okay. I’m not popular with the girls in school. No problem.
Now this wasn’t easy; don’t get me wrong. Don’t think for a second that I woke up one day, figured all this, went out and it just happened. It took some adjusting to really get there and I mean REALLY get there. I still had to go to school and see the attention these guys were getting. But I will tell you that it did get a little easier as time went on. The more that time did go on, the more I realized how much time I wasted with jealousy. It was then that I realized that the jealousy wasn’t so much because I didn’t like my own life. It was because I spent so much time trying to embrace everyone else’s.
That’s what it really boils down to. If you’re jealous of someone right now, it’s more about their lives than your own. Think about this. Let’s say you and your life was all you knew of. The lives of everyone else did not exist, or at least you weren’t able to see or know of them. There would be nothing to be jealous of. You would embrace your life because that’s all you knew of.
When other lives are brought into the picture, the first thing we want to start doing is comparing. You compare houses. You compare cars. You compare children. You compare jobs. You compare salaries. If you’re married, you compare spouses and if you’re not, you compare significant others. Lord knows, the list goes on.
Society has determined what is considered as “better” than something else and unfortunately, many of us believe it. Ever get one of those requests from someone to vote for their kid to win a “cutest kid” contest? That’s what it is. Let’s let the people of society judge how our children look for the distinction of, I don’t know…being able to say our kid is cuter than however many others. It’s about the same for other things as well. For people to embrace their own lives is just so difficult because they’re spending all their time measuring themselves up against that other person and if, by society’s standards, they don’t “measure up,” that’s when jealousy happens.
Let’s take me, for example. As I said in previous blog posts, I’m in Afghanistan for another few months. I plan on buying a 2014 orange Dodge Charger when I return to the states. BEAUTIFUL car. Of course, I say that because orange is my favorite color. Now it is not uncommon for soldiers to deploy and purchase a new car upon returning. The military has special deals on them and they’re mostly just for those overseas, but it happens VERY often. So naturally, the conversation comes up quite a bit.
I would say that about 95% of the time, the question is asked to me before I say anything about it, but I’m excited to pick this up in a few months. I’ve already dropped the down payment and I believe it has already been built at the factory, so it’s just a matter of making it home for me now. Anyway, the question comes up and I show people a picture. They give the facial “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” and we go about our business. I don’t put too much in others’ opinions when it comes to that. Dodge Chargers might not be everyone’s thing and some people absolutely hate orange. I get that.
But, I’m not talking about those who simply don’t care for it. I’m talking about those who immediately start going in about why I “shouldn’t” get it. “It’s too flashy,” or “You’ll get the wrong kind of attention,” or “People will steal it,” or “That’s not a car I would get,” and the list goes on. While I get that whole “Freedom of Speech” thing people love to keep resorting to, one freedom I have is that I couldn’t care less about some of these opinions, especially when I realize that jealousy is driving them more than anything else.
How do I know this? To me, there’s no reason to put me down in any way if jealousy isn’t the issue. Again, this is when people would claim otherwise, but I think about how I am with things. There is a lot that I am not into, but I don’t put it down because I realize that other people are. Maybe that’s just me. For example, even though I don’t want to get a tattoo for myself, I can look at others with tattoos and be objective. Heck, most of the time, they look great. I don’t have to have one myself in order to say that. But even if it’s a decision I wouldn’t make, that doesn’t give me the right to tell someone else they don’t either. That’s probably a pretty mild case, but I could go into those people who put my car down and then I turn around and find out that they’ve told someone else they wish they could get something like it.
THAT’S what I mean. This happens all the time with other things. If jealousy isn’t the case, why does it happen? Because of “Freedom of Speech”?
What we all need to start doing is embracing our own lives. Stop looking down on your life as though you have nothing to be proud of. I’m not better than you because I’m getting a brand new car and you have one that has problems. We’re at different points in our lives. Even though I didn’t need to come over here for this, look at where I am right now. Would any of you like to come to spend nine months in Afghanistan just so you can buy a new car?
I didn’t think so.
But stop with the comparisons. If you REALLY don’t want to be jealous, then this has to stop. Only society dictates what’s “better” than another, but you don’t have to. I wouldn’t put a lot of stock in what society has to say most of the time anyway. Your life is YOUR life. You don’t need to “measure up” to anybody. You were dealt the hand you were and I was dealt the hand I was.
On top of what I just said, I’m spending another several months away from my wife and children. Of course, I’d trade my little car in a second if it meant I could get back to them sooner, but remember…not everything about that better aspect of someone’s life is all peaches and cream. Yeah, we get better deals on new cars, but at what cost?We’re over here in a freaking combat zone. But when I get home and people see that car, they don’t consider any of that. If you absolutely insist on jealousy, take a second and realize that there’s more to something than just what’s on the surface. It’s not so you can put them down, but realize that there’s more to things than what you see.
Jealousy really isn’t worth it and even if you don’t get it now, you will. Hopefully it doesn’t take much longer, but it WILL kick in and when it does, it will hit you hard. Your life is yours and a lot to be proud of.
Embrace it. The sooner you do, the better you will feel and quite frankly, the more peace you will have with yourself.