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The strange aspect of jealousy

Discussion in 'Cheeniya's Senile Ramblings' started by Cheeniya, Jun 22, 2007.

  1. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Strange aspect of Jealousy

    I must warn you that whatever I’m going to tell you is based on my own feeling and I’m not generalizing. But I do know that quite a few of you would have similar feelings but may be reluctant to admit it. In any case, I know that there will be serious lectures on how to curb such sentiments and lead a healthier life. Don’t get me wrong now. What I am trying to convey is that you can’t expect a nearing eighty year old man to get reformed through a lecture on Human Relationship. Haven't you heard that what does not bend at 5 will not bend at 50? And I am nearing eighty!

    This is the scenario then. I open my morning Hindu and read about a blighter somewhere in Timbuktu winning a cool sixty million dollar in some lottery. I further learn that he is not in the habit of burning money on lottery tickets but this particular one he was forced to take as the shop owner where he purchased his daily trivia did not have small change to give him the balance and in lieu thereof thrust a lottery ticket in his hand. And how do I react to this piece of news? I grin and exclaim what a lucky blighter he is and if I am in no particular hurry in the morning, I give myself to some fantasizing which, if given effect to in reality, would burn a biggg hole in his sixty million packet! On the contrary, if I am rushing through the Hindu being aware of a frantic knocking at the toilet door, I just withhold the fantasy part to a more convenient time and dismiss the news item from my mind.

    Now consider this. A similar news item about someone close at home, say Chennai itself does not produce a similar reaction in me. The amount may be much less but I am aware of a faint stab of jealousy in me. If such a prize is won by a close friend or relative, the jealousy gets very acute and I get enraged about the unfairness of it all. I mentally list out a million reasons why he never deserved such manna from the heavens! It appalls me that God can be so impartial and for the first time I purse my lips at the infallibility of the Almighty. It is another thing altogether that I regain my composure within a couple of days and position myself to go to him for a touch.

    This jealousy is a strange thing. It attacks you only when someone close to you has some extremely good thing happening to him. In Chennai alone there are millions who are way above me but do I feel jealous of them? The answer is an emphatic no. Why is that I can remain unaffected by the news of someone striking it rich at a far away place but the same thing happening to a close friend nearby is resented by me? Why is that Bill Gates continuing as world’s richest man evokes unadulterated admiration in me but an expensive car of an old classmate makes me jealous? I watch on TV the Life Style of the Rich and Famous with my mouth open like a crocodile in awe but if my neighbour adds a small guest room to his house, I feel jealous!

    And the same is true of calamities too. We read all about an earthquake killing lakhs of people in a remote Turkish village and we pass it over with an expression of sympathy but an explosion killing a dozen people in a neighborhood shakes us to the very root.

    To tell you the truth, such sentiments make me wonder if I am a kind of louse . I resolve myself to be more equable in my feelings towards my fellow beings. I tell myself that I should feel as happy when a friend is prospering as when I hear about Bill Gates. The resolve appears steely until the useless man next door comes in and announces that he has just won a Kg of gold in a contest run by some TV manufacturer!
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2021
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  2. Lavanya

    Lavanya Bronze IL'ite

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    Nice analysis... recently my hubby & I were talking about the very same thing. My take on this is that we react more emotionally when things happen closer to home. Home here is something you can relate to, something that's the next step above or below you.
    The way our conversation started was 'coz of hubby always eyeing the next person up in the ladder & comparing salary with the amount of work done. So I was trying to tell him that we aren't envious of Billy G or Abdul Kalam 'coz we realize that, somewhere in our subconscious, we cannot compare ourselves with them. There are in fact more than 2 steps above us!! So we are always fighting to get better but still not being overly ambitious, I think. Its the same tactics used in tele ads too... they show a day today person but slightly better off than you or me so we can aspire to be them & so we feel we need that product & may be acquiring that product can uplift us.
     
  3. cheer

    cheer Silver IL'ite

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    Great Ananlyze, that's really true that we get jealous if some of our close get promotion, something new etc. we got jealous.

    But give U my example everyday i decided to stay away with jealous people but no help. I'm telling u abt my office until 3 months before everything was fine i enjoyed working at office, but since one of my colleague (indian) came back after maternity leave, she start doing comparison with me, always taking everything negative & 2 weeks before when i promoted as a team leader she is so jealous that she went to my boss, commenting me etc that sometime i feel i can't take it anymore, every evening when i was discussing with my hubby abt her, he said calm down & tell her frankly that u don't like it.

    But this still continue & i don't know what to do. So i think this jealousy not only effect us but to our relation with others too. But still we're so lousy that we still cannot live without jeaulosy.
     
  4. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Lavanya
    Your take on this subject is as rationalised as so very characteristic of you. When I saw you replying to my thread, I knew I could expect a lot of useful input and I was not wrong!
    You are right that we tend to compare ourselves only with those closer to our position. The lives of Oberoi, Dhirubai Ambani and Rajnikanth do not make us feel that if they can do it , why not we! But a small promotion of a peer ahead of us leaves us frustrated, bewildered and angry.
    For that matter even Rajnikanth's peers in Bangalore Transport Corporation would have felt extremely jealous of him if he had become a checking inspector ahead of them but when he soared to the skies, they only became proud of calling themselves his friends!
    Sri
     
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  5. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Ammukutty
    What I have discussed in my thread is perhaps a common problem and you need not feel bad about it. On the contrary if we can somehow convert this jealousy into a highly motivating factor to surpass those who cause this jealousy in us, it would be an ideal situation.
    In this context, I cant help quoting a parable of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. A teacher once drew a straight line on the black board and asked his students if any of them could make it shorter without erasing it. While every one blinked in ignorance, one student walked up to the board and drew a longer line beside the original line
    That's what the feeling of jealousy should do to us. The only way to stop feeling jealous of others is to accomplish greater things than them!
    Sri
     
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  6. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Cheer
    I do not know if you have observed what happens if a number of crabs are thrown in an open bottle. Not a single one will get out because if a crab somehow reaches the top of the bottle the others down below will pull it down! That's the spirit displayed by your colleague!
    Banishing jealousy, desire and such other human traits is easier to preach than practise! The only way to cope with such emotions is to try and make them positive forces as I have said in my reply to Ammukutty.
    Because the preachers call all these negative emotions trecherous and can lead us to hell, we dont have to feel remorseful about them. There are ways and ways of turning them to our advantage!
    Sri
     
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  7. So Sure

    So Sure Senior IL'ite

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    Sri,
    This is how I perceive…
    When we see an aircraft in an airport, we can see it clearly. Every detail of it! We know what it is made of, who made it. We can feel it, smell it, kick it, poke a hole in the tyres or sit and fly in it. We have so many options. Perspective here is just the aircraft and you. Bottom line, it is approachable. What we do with it, is our choice. Positive and/or negative. Same is the case of my neighbor winning a lottery.
    When you see an aircraft in the sky, it is just a spec in the whole sky. Do we know anything about it? Can we approach it? Can we try and land it in our backyard? May be! May be not! Now the whole wide sky with the aircraft is what you are looking at. So, what do we do about it? It’s our choice… Instead of getting to know about the sky, atmosphere, the clouds, the aircraft, etc, we take it easy!

    I like what you said about accomplishing better things than others. I believe there are only 2 things free in this world. 1. Competition 2. Pollution. For anything else, I will have to work for it. I tell my son, a budding tennis player, that “Opportunities are never lost. Someone else will get the ones we miss”. If someone else is better off than him, it means he did not do what is needed to be in their shoes. If my son is not the world no.1 tennis player yet, that’s ‘coz he did not put in the extra effort needed. Instead of cribbing that <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Wilson</st1:place></st1:City> sponsors his friend’s rackets, he should plan his strategy for his next tournament so that Nike sponsors his attire. Set the goals high and try to achieve it. The energy we have, physical and psychological is limited. So why drain the resources in the negative way which does not get us any closer to our goals?

    Regards,
    Sharada :2thumbsup:
     
  8. Vidya24

    Vidya24 Gold IL'ite

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    Cheeniya,

    Abstruse aval for munching and contemplating- this subject of jealousy. And one that we (read Vidya) have to grapple with at every turn of life.

    I like the pieces in which you draw on philosophy and pop psychology. You give us just enough insight to sight the evil lurking in us, and then leave it without preaching. This piece is another good un in that genre.

    Coming back to the J factor, the scenario that you have explained is very true, very well experienced in my case. In my family, everyone writes, everyone has something published except yours truly. So, it is not tres difficult to guess what my ambitions are. When I hear of a Ballantyne or an Arundathi Roy winning a Booker, I do not feel jealous. I can even find it in my heart to laud Arundathi for producing a gem amidst a turbulent life. But when I hear of one of my cousins or especially younger nieces or peers publishing something, the green gal stabs my heart for sometime. Mind you, I dont feel so bad when one of the men manage to publish something.

    I have thought much on how to rid this- call it auto therapy. I think it is a diversified case of narcissism, transference and comparison.

    We love ourselves so much that we see ourselves in people of similar cultural, social and financial milieu. We compare ourselves more harshly with those closest to us in relationship and traits, since we see ourselves more starkly in them. So, when they succeed where we don't, we feel denied and deprived. If they could achieve what we could not, with other things being equal, we tend to nitpick for concealed advantages that they might have enjoyed. We tend to dig up petty disadvatages that we had to surmount. Which explains why I do not feel bad when a man in my family manages to write, but feel a few moments of jealousy when a similar placed woman does so.

    Looking hard, so many forms of behaviour can be explained thus. Sibling rivalry, office competition and politicking, almost any foible in the human psyche can be traced back to this narcisstic streak in us. Which brings me to the moot point. This particular brand of jealousy and comparison with near ones, is probably the most debilitating. It stuns one like a freeze missile and renders one powerless to act. And strangely, the only person who can pull the crab back to self, is the self. So, narcissm does work both ways.

    I am sure this is a simple(?) case of too much attachment to the self and situations. I am sure Vedantha will help to inculcate the much desired association with detachment.
     
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  9. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Sri,

    By saying that you are not generalising, you have smartly made us all confess that we do feel exactly like you.

    Do you remember the Onida T V advt, which used to come sometime back
    Owner's pride, neighbour's envy ?
    It is more than 100 % right.
    The dormant devil inside (almost) everyone of us, waits to sneak its ugly head when the concerned person is either near or dear to us. But, we compare ourselves with neither Swaraj Paul nor our own tamil speaking Chennai girl Indra Nooyi. In fact, we are proud that Indians do make it so high in the international scene.

    Sri, do you have to repeatedly talk about your 64 yrs of age ? You make me feel guilty that I refuse to talk about my age ! Not that, I will change my ideas & talk about it just because you do it !!

    I enjoyed thoroughly your subtle humour on reading the following line
    I am rushing through the Hindu being aware of a frantic knocking at the toilet door
    Does it not happen in every house regularly in the mornings ?

    Leave alone the neighbour building an extra room. If the electricity fails in my house, the first thing I do is to look out at the neighbour's flat. If that is also dark, I heave a sigh of relief. But if the lights burn in their house, I get worked up & frantic, how it could happen. I rush to phone to the E B office.

    Well, if you think you are a kind of louse, what do I call myself ?

    Love,
    Chithra.
     
  10. lalithasai

    lalithasai Senior IL'ite

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    Dear Sri,

    This is an interesting topic. So true, that jealousy is inevitable. And I agree that one of the way to feel better is to accomplish more than the people we envy but when I fail to, I guess that's all I'm destined with. It's hard though to give the credit to people who don't deserve it, but I just say to myself "Why judge who deserves what?". I guess I better deal with my own karma, after thinking for a while :) .
     

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