We barely have time to open our eyes properly after a peaceful night’s sleep and the marathon of thoughts has begun. The alarm is causing a lot of irritation. “Stop ringing so loudly!!! How is it possibly morning already? I swear I went to bed only 10 minutes ago!”
That’s it! The alarm is off, our eyes are open, albeit stinging due to lack of sleep, and another day begins. We are set to face a myriad of emotions, yet again. As humans, the mere presence of the mind is intimately associated with the unapologetic presence of all sorts of emotions. But contrary to popular (and various self-proclaimed) beliefs, experiencing negative emotions doesn’t necessarily make us a terrible person.
Some days we feel like a fearless bird. Let alone a bird, we feel like a majestic eagle. On such days, dark clouds can’t hold us back, we fly above them all. Pleasant emotions are rather easy to deal with and good days are many. But what about those dark days when you wake up and wish the earth would open up and swallow you right in? It isn’t uncommon to feel overwhelmed by negative emotions, which never fail to leave us feeling uncomfortable and ungrateful. They can range from feelings of hatred, anger, sadness, loneliness, envy and jealousy. We are quite comfortable talking about some of these emotions, be it anger, sadness, sometimes hatred or we even seldom joke about feeling envious. Jealousy, however, is usually an emotion mostly noticed through our behaviour, especially in relationships. But of course, many of us have a special skill at hiding it.
I remember, as a child, I would feel jealous quite frequently. I was never this ambitious hard working kid, nevertheless jealousy did erupt if I wasn’t selected for certain sporting events or for special trips. At home, it was no different. The envy and jealousy brothers stayed by my side and would always tease me whenever my sibling received any special treatment. Truth is though, jealousy is not necessarily a matter of the distant past. It surely is a feeling we are all familiar with but it can be tamed. If not on a daily basis, unless we were born with numerous divine tendencies, we all experience jealousy sometimes. It is a very uncomfortable feeling to be engulfed into, leaving us with destructive thoughts about ourselves and others.
What is jealousy?
Jealousy isn’t to be confused with envy. We feel envious when we covet someone else’s possession, e.g. a proud neighbour’s new Tesla, the latest model, which he managed to get hold of during the lockdown. And soon enough you start fuming and find yourself spiralling into a tornado of negative emotions.
Jealousy on the other hand sprouts from fear or more specifically ego. The ego is under threat. When we fear losing what’s ours to someone else. When a colleague ‘steals’ the promotion (and the limelight) which we deserved, after working so hard, we fear that our professional worth is suddenly threatened. Our ego receives a big blow and we experience jealousy.
Why do we experience jealousy?
Jealousy can be easily triggered by simple fluctuations of the overactive mind and awareness of our jealousy should not be the cause for self-hate or self-destructive thoughts. The root cause of jealousy is fear and possessiveness.
When a woman is jealous of her husband paying attention to another lady, she is in fact worried about losing her ‘worth’ in his life. Jealousy is the outcome of the fear of losing our importance in our dear one’s life. In other words, jealousy arises from a sense of insecurity. All these fears however are mostly conditioned by society and often our fear of rejection very closely related to our self-worth. The higher our fear of rejection the lower our self-worth tends to be. But the crucial thing about emotions, is that it benefits us to accept them. The longer we deny their existence, the harder it is to eliminate them.
Is there an antidote to jealousy? Read on.
So, how do we overcome these feelings of jealousy triggered by fear or insecurities? We are never really insecure about things which cannot be snatched away from us, for instance our body and soul. We live in the conviction and strong faith that what is ours will always be. When we have the fear of losing our possessions or partners, we are really living in the ‘what ifs’ of the future.
In my humble opinion, the antidote to jealousy is contentment. When we feel jealous, if we pause and be mindful of our breathing. Truly mindful. It breaks the pattern of thoughts for a fraction of a moment. And from then on, the very moment we decide to be contented and grateful for what we currently have, the thoughts of jealousy dissipate gradually.
The magical thing about contentment is that we end up living in the present moment. And, if we do go back to thoughts of the past, let it be to drown ourselves in gratitude for the blessings bestowed upon us. If we are to contemplate on the future, let it be to keep work on our dreams, whilst living in the now.
As beautifully said here:
“If you let this moment slip, it’s lost forever. “Now” never comes back.” ~ O.S
I believe that leading a life of immense contentment is possible, for one, by being grateful for Divine grace and the unconditional love we are blessed with. Leading a life of contentment is a gift to the Universe/Divine and a beautiful expression of our gratitude to life itself.