In this section on mental health, I have talked about inappropriate anger and self-pity.
They are both destructive. But I suspect they have one source. Jealousy.
Everyone filled with self-pity has realized that someone else has a better life, in some way,
and have decided (right or wrong) that they can never achieve the same level of success.
This makes them sad. They turn their unhappiness inward and often quit trying, and may begin self-medicate.
And wht about people that are always angry? They too, often decide that someone else has a better life, and to try to even things out. They turn the unhappiness outward and attack others. These are some of the gossipers, slanderers, and saboteurs that we encounter. Reread 'Sleeping Beauty' or 'Cinderella'.
So, self-pity and constant anger are often the result of inappropriate jealousy, funneled through two different types of people. So, why does a successful person motivate one person, yet make another person jealous and bitter?
There are so many possible answers to that question.
But we must accept the truth that some things just are.
I began guitar lessons at age 14, about the time the song ‘Classical Gas’ was released.
I really wanted to play like that.
But I came to understand how much I would have to practice to be at that skill-level.
I had to accept the fact that my guitar-playing abilities would match my hours of practice.
I had no right to be jealous of someone who obviously practiced so much.
Here is the YouTube link for that song:
Another part of conquering bad-jealousy is acknowledging the unchangeable, and understanding that everyone has unchangeable realities.
I heard of a girl who went to school in a small town. She was every teacher’s darling, took dance lessons, had a car to drive to school, entered beauty contests, etc. But her family had a deep sorrow to wrestle with.
Her dad was drafted to serve in World War 2. Her grandpa; (her father’s father), was a farmer. The grandpa was afraid of his son being killed overseas. The laws at that time stated that farmers couldn’t be drafted. So the grandpa killed himself, so his son would have to come home to take over the farm.. My…........
And sometimes, grief motivates people to be keep busy, to quiet their griefs. That busy-ness produces the successes we envy.
On a much smaller envy-scale:
I always wanted be 6’2” tall. It never happened, and as I age, I’m getting shorter.
But it’s OK.
I wanted to be a commercial pilot, but my eyesight didn’t permit that. I don’t know of any woman who is completely satisfied with her looks. The money being spent on beauty products and fashion in America, could feed most of the hungry little girls in the world, who cannot even grow a good set of teeth, because they don’t get enough food.
When we succumb to bad-jealousy, we ruin whatever potential we have, because we either become contentious, angry destroyers, or we become self-medicating, bumps-on-a-log.
Another part of managing bad-jealousy is to avoid looking at people who are what we wish we could be,
and spend more time helping people who have less than we do.
Girls, you might have a classmate who looks unkept. Perhaps you could talk to your mom and share toiletries with her.
Boys, if you and your cousins each have a bike, there are probably enough old bikes in you sheds, that your dad and uncles could assemble a decent bike for a classmate that has none, eh?
When we spend a lot of time looking at those who have more, we can contract a soul-disease called bad-jealousy.
But when we spend time looking at those with less, we develop character traits called ‘compassion’ and ‘gratitude’.
And if there isn’t much compassion or gratitude in your family, perhaps you could start something new.
Is there such a thing as 'good jealousy'? Absolutely.
Mason Williams stirred me to practice guitar more than I would have, though I never came close to his level.
Good jealousy stirs us to try harder to succeed , without despising the person who does it better.
The correct term is 'inspires'.
Eric J. Rose