Maybe we don't express jealousy not because of fear, or because it's uncomfortable, but because we don't even realise that what we actually feel is jealousy. Very often, we tend to gather different emotions and compartmentalise them into the “anger” department. This process seems to be an easy and logical step, since, in a very twisted way, feeling angry might make us feel removed of responsibility: we are angry because of what someone else did to us; our impulsive feelings are a reaction to an action exterior and independent of us. We are victims of an uncomfortable situation beyond our sphere of control. Anger, however, has its nuances and may disguise something more subtle. The foggy road may lead to many destinations, to feelings that are all heavy to bear, but, when taken for what they actually are, have very different symptoms and therefore require very different cures. Anger may come masked as sadness, regret, denial, bitter (self-) reproach, guilt, and jealousy, among many others.

The idea of embracing jealousy entered my life like an uninvited, yet very welcome guest. I decided to spread the word promptly and mention its existence whenever in genuine company. The effects were a pleasant surprise. I didn't just feel excited to talk about the subject because it was an unexplored and new topic for me, but it turned out to be an amazing way to strengthen the relationships with my loved ones. The foundations these relationships were built on were layered with new cement. Whilst initially fearing that exchanging about the topic of jealousy might cause distance or tensions, it actually became a force of unity and consolidation. A crowd-pleaser, in a good, frank way. It untied internal knots for all parties.

We are raised to perceive jealousy as poison and we end up treating it as such. Avoiding it, however, doesn't spare us from its consumption or aftertaste. As adults, we blame ourselves for the slightest hint of our emotions heading towards jealousy lane, since we are supposed to be “old enough” to know how harmful its consequences are. We are supposed to incorporate enough spirituality and other esoteric wisdom in our lives to rid ourselves of it before it even begins to penetrate our wellbeing. We are trained to perceive jealousy as destructive and unnecessary. We tend to bury it deep as if it were a sin, especially if we judge its causes to be inappropriate, or childish at the very least, but it doesn't just disappear into the void. It spreads its roots elsewhere and finds a way to develop into new forms that our emotional self renames and relabels. But the content, and with it, the actual problem, is still the same and it's very toxic. What you resist persists.

There's is also a complexity related to the source of our envy. The more people mean to us, the guiltier we feel about feeling and expressing our jealousy towards them. We think that caring for someone means we should always be able to feel “happy for them”. It is not so. It's okay to feel jealous, even towards the people we love most. What is not okay, is to paint our faces with an attractive-looking air of blasé, thinking that appearing unconcerned makes us members of the “fake it till you make it” club and will actually make us indifferent, if only we are patient enough.


This content has been edited and condensed, originally appearing in I Love You Magazine.