Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Green is so not my colour

But that doesn't mean I've never worn it before. I hate the feeling of envy because I'd feel like a sour grape. Why am I feeling sore about other people's good fortune?

Is it the same as feeling jealous? Though envy and jealousy are often used interchangeably, the two words have different meanings.

[entering word geek mode]

Envy is the feeling of longing to possess something awarded to or achieved by another. It is the emotion that occurs when a person lacks another's (perceived) superior quality, achievement, or possession and either desires it or wishes that the other lacked it.

Jealousy is the mental uneasiness from suspicion or fear of rivalry, unfaithfulness, etc., as in love or aims. It refers to the negative thoughts and feelings of insecurity, fear, and anxiety over an anticipated loss of something that the person values, particularly in reference to a human connection.

[entering normal, annoying mode]

The definitions are extracted from dictionary.reference.com and Wikipedia. In simple words, envy is when you want something that other people have, and jealousy is when you're afraid of losing something. In Malay, both words are translated as cemburu. But I don't hear people say that word anymore, unless in cheesy TV dramas. People now say 'jealous' or 'jeles', which is still okay as long as we don't memelayukan that word and use that in writing, like the ridiculousness that is called―

Oh forget it. I digress.

People are usually envious when they feel that they deserve to have what the other party have. You see, the feeling of envy is stronger and more potent when the envier (the person feeling envious) feels that he has similar attributes to the person who is being envied. That's why we are more likely to feel envious of our classmates than celebrities. That's why a person is envious when his friend gets the new iPhone and not when his favourite footballer buys a new mansion.

Envy can be destructive. When a person harbors envy, it can easily go unnoticed, and it would become worse as he nurtures the bad thoughts that come with it. It causes unhappiness to the envier as he would not only feel sore about the cause of envy, he tends to hold a grudge towards the person being envied as well. And enviers normally would try to cause difficulties towards the other party and would feel happy when they have done so. You've seen it in real life and in dramas, of people trying to bring other people down because the other people have what they don't have. School girls sabotaging another girl's dress because she's prettier than they are, neighbours spreading gossip about the rich neighbours because they just bought a new car. That's why envy is one of the 7 deadly sins. It corrupts the mind and heart.

What about jealousy? Does it bring as much unhappiness as envy? I'd say yes. Jealousy are often aroused when you feel threaten that you will lose something that you value to another person (rival). That 'something' may not be something that you already have (like a job promotion) and it is usually connected with human emotions. As a human being, it's normal that you desire another human's affection, attention and/or recognition. It is when they are given to another person and not you that jealousy arises.

Jealousy almost always refers to romantic jealousy. But besides in a romantic relationship, jealousy happens at home, in school, and at the workplace too. Siblings rivalry, where siblings compete for the attention of their parents, can be a cause of intense jealousy. Competing for the teacher's or boss' recognition is another cause of jealousy. But of course, nothing can be compared with romantic jealousy.

The sweet caress of twilight

There's magic everywhere

And with all this romantic atmosphere

Disaster's in the air

High five if you know which movie and which song I just quoted! (hint - Hakuna Matata and Elton John)

I've seen this kind of jealousy more often that I would like to. I've seen the typical girlfriend getting jealous when the guy looks at another girl longer than he should have. I've seen the typical boyfriend getting jealous when the girl talks to another guy longer than she should have. A friend of mine often said that being jealous just shows that we care about the other person. I agree. Like what I've mentioned before, it happens because we are afraid of losing something that we value, i.e. the person's attention and the person him/herself. You know how sometimes the girlfriend intentionally gets friendly with another person of the opposite sex just to see whether the boyfriend gets jealous. If he does, she has him at the palm of her hands. I'm not sure if guys do this too.

But what do jealous people do? Well, they usually either get angry or sad. Either or, these people will very likely get suspicious of their counterparts because they're afraid of betrayal or loss. And suspicion, partnered with possessiveness and augmented by paranoia, can lead a person do creepy or unethical things like stalking Facebook profiles, checking the other person's inbox, restricting social activities, and other such breathing-down-your-neck behavior.

Although I've talked about how envy and jealousy can be destructive, I know that they can also become motivational forces.

In Islam, there are two types of envy, namely Hasad (destructive envy) and Ghibtah. Hasad is when you wish to take away what the other person have, whereas Ghibtah is when you wish to receive the same thing as the other person, without the feeling of malice towards him. The latter kind can make people work harder in order to gain what he wish for, without trying to cause harm to anyone. Like if you covet your friend's iPhone, get a job during the break and buy one yourself.

Jealousy too can make people work harder. When people are aware of rivals, they instinctively will present themselves better in front of the persons whose attention/affection/whatever they are after. Dealt with the right way, it could make a relationship grows stronger. If not, it will only cause resentment and endless arguments that will very likely involve tears.

Phew. Such a dry, boring post, isn't it? I'm feeling envious of a 17-year-old who probably will get a DSLR in the near future, so I'm writing this as an attempt to put my that emotion in check and to find an objective perspective on it. Though I value a lot of things in life, I don't get jealous very often. But I've seen the effects of intense jealousy, and they ain't pretty my friends. But please note that I'm not condemning anyone in the post. I know a friend of mine who gets jealous very easily sometimes read my blog (you know who you are and you know I adore ya!). I'm just sharing my views, aided with facts fished from the internet.

Hmm... The post is kinda lengthy, and I mostly talk about things that people already know... Oh well. I'm too lazy to edit it. If you've read it till this far, congratulations! And thank you!

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