Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Happy Hump Day!
As Monica and I soaked up the warm, Spring sun yesterday at lunch, we were approached by a old Indian man walking with a cane. He handed me his business card and said he wanted to talk to me because he "could feel my energy." I read the card – “Reading by Yanni.” He was a spiritual healer and advisor who got some type of vibe from me. He proceeded to tell me that I was a generally “lucky” person overall, but that I had negative people around me – jealous people – three of them: 2 men and 1 woman. He also said that a man in my life was giving me problems and needed to be straightened out.
He asked me to call him as he walked away so he could give me a proper reading. Monica and I looked at each other like, “where did HE come from?” We joked, but gave each other wide eyed looks while asking “Who could be jealous of me?”
We took his comments with a grain of salt and continued our conversation. I didn’t spend the rest of the day wondering about jealousy or any negative people around me. Yanni was trying to get my money while proclaiming that he knows me, my life and the people in it. I’m not saying there aren’t intuitive or psychic people out there…but I’m jus sayin.’
I told my mother about our lunch time run-in with the spiritual advisor and she seemed genuinely concerned. “Jealousy is a bad thing, that’s not good at all. Who do you think it is?” I just told her to relax, because all the jealousy and negativity in the world can't steal my joy or blessings.
But while I will concede that “over-the top, psycho, slash tires, brick through windows, stay the hell away from Jazmine Sullivan” jealousy is not cool – can a little bit of jealousy ever be a good thing?
It’s a genuine emotion. It may be considered a negative emotion, but so is anger – and we have the right to feel anger just as we have the right to feel joy, or sadness or disappointment. All of us have felt a pang of jealousy in our lives at some point. It’s human nature, a natural occurrence that can come and go as fast as a summer breeze. Just like anything else, it’s how you deal with these emotions that determines your character.
Most times, jealousy is tied directly to self-esteem…or lack thereof. But there is silly jealousy, and then there is insecure, irrational jealousy. There are varying degrees of it, some of it innocent and insignificant, some of it dangerous. It can be comical or complex - with thoughts, feelings, and actions which follow threats to self-esteem and/or threats to the existence or quality of a relationship. Sometimes these threats are generated by the perception of a real or potential attraction between one’s partner and a (perhaps imaginary) rival. Jealousy has many forms…but is it always negative?
Sometimes jealousy can cause you to take stock of yourself in a positive way. If you’re jealous of the hot new assistant working at your man’s office, it may make you realize that perhaps you could be taking better care of yourself and how you present yourself. I know a woman who started dressing sexier and getting her hair done more often because her man commented on how well put together his new supervisor was. I know a guy who started going to the gym more and working out a little harder once he met his girlfriend’s new trainer – who was nothing short of Zeus. The thought of someone possibly stealing their mate away – whether the threat was real or perceived – actually helped them to step their game up. And their partners, who probably didn’t even realize this jealousy even existed, were the beneficiaries.
Now if their partners TRIED to make them jealous, that’s a different story. Sometimes we mention the guy at the gym who always wants to spot us, or the girl at Starbucks who always flirts with us first thing in the morning as we order our coffee – trying to get a rise out of our partner to see if they care. It’s our way of testing our partner’s desire for us, so we see if we can make them jealous. If we succeed, we feel good about ourselves and our relationship – because we think that means it’s not in danger. But if we don’t succeed in making our partners jealous, then we wonder if they still want us, or find us worthy of being jealous over. Trying to bring about jealous feelings in another person only displays our own insecurities.
However, jealousy doesn’t always have to be romantic. Most commonly, people are jealous of their partners, but this is not always the case. Friends can be jealous of their best friend’s new partner, new partners can be jealous of their partner’s best friend. Friends can be jealous of their best friend’s new job, new car, or new house. People can become jealous because their partners or friends have a great passion for some activity or hobby which excludes them, like rock-climbing, wine tasting or writing. But a little taste of the green eyed monster doesn’t always mean you don’t wish them well, or want them to get hit by an ice cream truck. It may simply make you take stock of what you want for yourself…and help you go out and get it.
But if you openly hate on them and secretly plot on their demise, then you have serious issues.
I don’t want to wax hysterical about what jealousy is, what it isn’t, what can cause it and what might cure it. I don’t really know, to be honest…and every circumstance is different. But what I would like ask people is if they agree that a little bit of decently-expressed jealousy or envy is ever okay in small doses? Would any of you ever get upset if your partner never got even a little bit jealous sometimes? Tell the truth…let’s go!