Why is jealousy, Shakespeare’s green-eyed monster, such a strong emotion?
I remember it from childhood, of feeling SO jealous of my sister, worried that somehow my parents liked her best, loved her the most. I hated how the green-eyed emotion could consume my loving self, the self who adored my little sister. How it could turn me into an angry, hurt, and oh-so-jealous monster.
And many times since then, I’ve felt that monster try to sneak into my subconsciousness. When I think someone is being favored. Or has more. Or seems happier. Or healthier. Or smarter. Or any other MORE that I think that I lack. That I worry I lack.
Perhaps perceived lack is at the root?
But not only lack. Below lack is fear.
Back to my childhood, it was the fear that if my sister were more loved, then perhaps I wouldn’t be parented, fed, clothed. Perhaps I’d be abandoned. Perhaps I’d end up alone, unloved, starving.
And when I feel jealousy as an adult, I bet those same feelings lie under the green-eyed monster’s emergence.
I’ve been on both sides of jealousy. I’ve been jealous of people, and I’ve had people be jealous of me.
We adults are good at hiding jealousy, though. Kids are more honest about it. We adults try to hide it under sarcasm, criticism, comparison, evaluation.
We try to make it logical.
But we know, deep inside, that it’s not logic. It’s not justified.
It’s emotion. Primal emotion born of fear.
I’ve been paying attention lately to how the green-eyed monster shows up in my life. To how I can somehow befriend it, to take the message it’s bringing me without loosing the monster on someone else. And to being aware when I feel someone else’s monster start to raise its head.
Awareness is what can defeat the monster or turn it into something else, something not-monster, something kind and compassionate and loving.
Transformation is what I’m after. From the green-eyed monster to my most kind, compassionate, loving self.
But also a self who knows the green-eyed monster when I see it, a self who will stand up to it. Whether it’s inside me or someone else.
Courage is required. Because jealousy can be so powerful.
Courage and compassion. For the little kid in each of us. The one we each need to heal, to reassure, to comfort.
Yes, courage and compassion is what it takes to transform the green-eyed monster.
Starting with the one that lives within me.