Jealousy

A few weeks ago I came across a Tweet that stuck with me, it read: “Jealousy is love in competition.”

Jealousy, that thing that ‘keeps the haters going,’ right? The desire to have as much or more of what someone else seemingly has. Can you love someone and be jealous of them? Apparently.

I’ve been there. Growing up with sisters (and of course girl friends), it got competitive at times. Although it’s normal, luckily in our case, there was more love than competition; which outweighed those pesky twinges of the self-sabotaging emotion that makes perfectly imperfect people feel less than or cheated. As a teen, I finally recognized what those feeling were, before I had not been able to grasp it–I just knew some times I did not feel good enough in some way in relation to another person. As I realized my insecurities, I began wrestling with them and building confidence. Now in my early twenties, I’m not only identifying my insecurities, I’m striving to learn the root of them so I can grow past them.

Not always easy, but very rewarding. My goal from a young age has always been to not only age, but to mature, develop and not to bring weaknesses from yesteryear into the next. I can honestly say, with much soul-searching and introspection, I’ve learned to nip jealousy in the bud; reminding myself that I received my validation the day God allowed me to enter this world.

While many of us will be the first to scream we have received jealousy from others, not many will admit we are or have ever been jealous of others as well. But being open and honest with ourselves, has healing potential. You’ll be surprised at how others may find strength in your struggle or how much you may grow by challenging yourself to battle your insecurities. Earlier this year Gabrielle Union opened up during her speech at Essence’s Black Women In Hollywood luncheon, bringing many women in the audience to their feet and to tears while stating:

It’s easy to pretend to be fierce and fearless because living your truth takes real courage. Real fearless and fierce women admit mistakes and they work to correct them … Real fearless and fierce women complement other women and we recognize and embrace that their shine in no way diminishes our light and that it actually makes our light shine brighter.

It was an inspiring moment that I believe opened the door for more women to come to terms with our shortcomings. It was refreshing to see a woman who is noted for her beauty and success admit that many times she struggled with something not easily admitted by most. More recently Kelly Rowland has been applauded for sharing her struggles with being in the shadow of Beyonce on the ‘Dirty Laundry’ track.

It just goes to show that whether a celebrity, model, millionairess or everyday woman, no one is exempt from that feeling of self-doubt, sadness or anger that you’re missing something or missing out on something belonging to another. It could even be described as a hollow pain or longing, which as the acronym Queen herself, Iyanla Vanzant would say means:  Pay Attention Inward Now.

The raw often untold truth is that we all get jealous. Yes, some more than others of course, but it’s a human emotion that can creep up in the most confident, successful person time-to-time, and is best handled with self-love and inner-evaluation.

It’s easy to feel less than at times when we live in a society that values things over people, assets over attributes and promotes an unhealthy individualistic mindset that causes us to try and one-up each other rather than lift up one another. If I had a dollar for every new song about doing it bigger than the next man/woman in some form or fashion, I’d be … well, doing it bigger than the next person. The insecure desire for other’s to be insecure over one’s possessions or personal achievement—quite the tangled web our culture continues to weave.

Yet, although our social atmosphere can easily stir up jealous tendencies, it’s important that we as women in particular strive to rise above it. We’re often pitted against each other in unnecessary competition and from a young age we’re taught that women are catty and jealous. This doesn’t have to be the case.

It’s important to check this feeling the moment it comes up. And it may come to the point where it’s never an issue. It’s jealousy left unchecked that is dangerous, so in order for it not to turn into it’s much uglier green-eyed, potentially malicious and vindictive cousin, known as envy, whenever we recognize it, we should look into our personal bank of self-worth and constantly work on self-improvement.

If we each are honest with ourselves and put in the inner-work, we can be a part of cultural shift that allows each woman to shine for her personal strengths and talents, without either of us receiving or displaying the J-word.

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  • *Applauds*

    This is a great and beneficial read.

    I pride myself on uplifting women and showing support to my ladies as well as men that are successful as it motivates me to be better….

    However, just last week…and I’m really ashamed that I felt this way…a beautiful woman came into the office to interview and I mean she was gorgeous. It wasn’t for my position but there’s a guy here that I got involved with physically.

    The moment she came in…right away, I felt threatened…I’ve never ever felt that way that way toward any woman deemed attractive but because of the feelings developed for the guy, it hit me hard….so hard that I left the office to contain myself.

    No…I didn’t see my “friend” eyeing her

    Yes…she was very pleasant toward me.

    but it was me and my insecurity as I felt that I’d lost him to her when I really didn’t lose anything that was never gained in the first place.

    Woow…that felt good just typing it out!

    Thanks Clutch!

    • Mademoiselle

      I’ve been there (not at work though), and I know how it feels. Virtual hugs from me to you. Those moments are really tough, but hopefully rare.

    • Thanks Mademoiselle,

      He’s on vacation this week so I’ve had time to work on myself without him here…I’ll never do this again!

  • Trisha

    Everybody does struggle with something. Being jealousy or envy has never been one of mine. I’ve always believed if I’m jealous of your new house, I’ll never get one. If I’m jealous or envy of your hair, my hair will fall out. If I’m jealous of your trip to Paris, I’ll never see the Eiffel Tower. What’s for you is for you. And when we are ungrateful, we won’t be blessed with more. It’s almost as if we’re telling God he messed up when he knows what’s best for us. It is the best way to cut off (your) blessings.

    Even if it is something as small as complimenting a woman on how beautiful her make-up is, you may be able to give me a few tips.

    I will admit, the area in which I struggle the most with is unforgiveness. This is where I have to “Pay Attention Inward Now” to continue to work the best strategies (for me) to forgive and forget. After all, that is another way to block your blessings as well.

  • Travelynn Gyrl

    The Willie Lynch Letter. The seed that planted jealousy within the black community in particular. Now the “plant” has grown out of control and it’s VERY deep.

    • Buttons

      Although it’s been discovered that the Willie Lynch Letter is not authentic, (it was written by a black man some time ago), however, the message in it is very true.

      There’s a proverb that goes: when there is no enemy within, there is no enemy without that can hurt you. We have to stop allowing the enemy “without” to cause division among us. We know that society creates a lot of circumstances that keep us against one another, like the color/complexion issue. But, we are the ones to blame when we in turn inflict that same pain onto each other by our own patterns of color-ism. We have a tendency to make darker skin sisters feel that that they aren’t pretty and that they don’t measure up to the light skin sisters. It’s issues like this that keep us in bondage and then we wonder why we can’t prosper.

    • Anon

      Can I get a Knee-groe to let the “Willie Lynch” letter alone on the internet? By the LAST NAME ALONE, ya’ll should know it is B.S. Jesus be a book of common sense.

  • Travelynn Gyrl

    Clutch, can you please delete my comment (above). I don’t know why I even bothered. Thanks!

    • LIBRA SCALES

      BECAUSE IT WAS YOUR TRUTH AND THANK YOU FOR YOUR COMMENT. :)

  • sunkissbliss

    Great topic! I hope this dialogue continues and not just Black women, but all women. I’ve seen it with all women and ethnic groups. I believe Black women tend to be more transparent about it. I always felt we won’t all get the same things out of life, but somehow, we get what we need and happiness is within our reach, living in the wealthiest country in the world. Racism is real, but we continue to defy it, this website is just one small means. I don’t believe White people have it better, just different cultural and societal issues. Brunettes think blondes are over-rated, some Asians want to look more European. Our society group thinking has made this place more competitive, it’s no longer about getting married, raising kids, putting them through college, starting a small business, it’s about Forbes wealthiest lists, red carpets, social media followers, physical looks, Ivy League education from pre-school to college level, most influential, to trickle down affects of extreme credit card debt, designer handbags and shoes, bad mortgages, luxurious vacations for working (struggling) or gainfully employed people, who at a blink can lose everything impacts jealousy! I have lived above my means for the sheer joy that it (things) brings me, not as an accolade, notch to parade or to impress others. Comparing ourselves to others and what they are having, being or doing can be quite toxic! I believe when we see everyone as our equal regardless of their position in life, whether it’s the Obamas or the cashier at KFC, jealousy and envy is way less of a problem to manage. When I celebrate your good fortune, it just adds to mine (sense of well-being)!