“To cure jealousy is to see it for what it is, a dissatisfaction with self.” Joan Didion
Have you ever envied the good fortune of another person or been jealous of someone’s perceived advantage? Have you wondered how/why someone you believed had no talent got ahead? Do you constantly compare yourself to others? If we are honest with ourselves, we’d admit that at some point in time, we felt a twinge of envy even jealousy towards a friend, family member or a stranger, and quietly coveted what they had… In extreme cases, as we see/read on the news, jealousy does lead to crimes of passion and acts of violence because somewhere deep in the mind of the perpetrators, they couldn’t reconcile their jealousy with their need to gain perspective and focus on their own lives; instead they chose to focus on their sense of worthlessness and blaming others for their predicament.
I’ll share a simple story: The Story of the Jealous Duck by EOF
Once upon a time, there was a duck who lived with his family and a group of swans in a beautiful lake and he wanted desperately to be a swan. He wished and prayed and constantly stared at himself in the reflection of the water; hoping to one day wake up and become a swan. He fell in love with one particularly elegant swan in the lake who seemed to spend time by herself, and followed her around hoping to become like her. She was civil, but most of the time she ignored him. Soon, his desire grew into jealousy. As time went by, his family got quite tired of his misery and anger that they spoke to the swam he admired and asked her to help him overcome his jealousy… She agreed.
The next day, she invited him to tea and proceeded to share the story of the misery that had been her life since birth. She had been abandoned after her mother was killed by a wild dog and the group she followed barely tolerated her. “I envy you when I see how much your family cares, as I have no family of my own.” The duck was shocked because he thought her life was perfect and wonderful. “It’s a farce, I act like it is because the alternative would be wallowing in misery. I’ve learned to be content with myself, and to appreciate the beauty of this lake. I believe your life will be happier if you do same.” He thanked her for her sound advice and returning to his family, he learned to be grateful for his life and see the love around him. Like the duck, we can accept our lives and leave the petty jealousies and constant comparisons alone… Have you ever been the focus of another person’s jealousy? What are your thoughts? 🙂
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The danger of constantly comparing ourselves to others is that it creates dissatisfaction with our efforts, and makes us focus on what others are accomplishing rather than on what we need to do to move our lives forward. Jealousy is both paralyzing and poisonous because it make us feel angry, inadequate, hateful and ashamed… The fact is that no matter how wonderful the lives of others might appear to us, everyone has something they struggle with; some more obvious than others. The grass might seem greener on the other side but when we take a closer look, we see scourge marks, decay and more. The key is to acknowledge the jealousy and re-focus on our own efforts. A favorite teacher once said “Check out the competition but always be your own competition and aim to do your best work.”
At the end of the day, our self-worth is not tied to how or what others think of us or what we imagine others have that we don’t own, what matters is that we accept ourselves and aim for our own goals and achievements… Be a duck and be happy as one or if you are a swan, then be happy there too. Jealousy is like poison; a slow and terrible death. Let’s stop the comparisons and focus on our own efforts; our own ideas.
What are your thoughts? What types of things make you jealous and how do you resolve those feelings? Do you envy others and wish them ill will? Do share! Thank you. 🙂
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This post was inspired by a prompt by MamaKat’s Writers Workshop: Write about a time when jealousy got the best of you.
Positive Motivation Tip: We cannot fail when we focus on our own game and aim to succeed instead of comparing ourselves to others.
PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All photos from my personal collection.
- What Can Jealousy Teach You? (2) (psychologytoday.com)
- If I can, you can. If I can’t , you will, hence I can. (nisfithussy2oh5.wordpress.com)