I have always believed jealousy to be lack of confidence. It is either lack of confidence in the relationship or lack of confidence in the direction of our own life. We need confirmation from our romantic partner in order to feel secure about where we stand with them. When being jealous of other’s lives, their success or their objects, we are feeling insecure about our own direction and/or uncertain that it will lead us to our own success; or simply unsatisfied with where we are.
Thank goodness I have never been bugged with the ‘jealousy’ characteristic. In a relationship, my thought has been, if the person I’m dating simultaneously wants someone else, they need to go on and not waste my time. For my personal life, there are times I have found other’s lives worth being jealous over. But, I have regarded some images or different lifestyle settings as encouragement to elevate my own. My ‘jealousy-light’ (i.e.desires) have become motivating tools, tailored to achievable goals. I don’t need to steal anything. I need to work hard or change things about myself in order to be better or have better or get better. (presuming the ‘it/thing’ will make me happy) None of us are desire-less Buddhas here. -a whole other post
In the beginning of a relationship, jealousy is generally used subconsciously in order to gage the interest of our date. ‘If I can make him/her jealous, then they are interested in me’. This is also natural in assessing how much more of ourselves we will continue to share as the relationship progresses. (it seems juvenile behavior but necessary too) Not knowing where we stand with another person, we tend to debate its foundation. Again, when we are confident in ourselves or the relationship, there is no need for jealousy.
There is desire and there is coveting. (wrongful desire, like another person’s spouse or the motivation for stealing) Simple desire can be constructive and help elevate us beyond circumstances. It is the coveting that encourages the ghetto dweller to commit robbery, whereas the desire to have a better life will motivate one to work hard and move up in the world -through getting an education and a job. This is why it becomes so destructive (for youth especially) constantly bombarded with images of a glam life without showing the work ethic needed to achieve it. I am fully aware of the popularity of the shows The Voice, Dancing With the Stars and obviously, American Idol. They all illustrate a simple process that is needed in order to ‘win’ at the end.(regardless if it is work) But viewing vacuous shows like the lives of Kardashians or Snookie or Paris Hilton (years ago) are pointless. Yes, they show us ‘things’ to desire but no real steps to get there or authentic satisfaction for having achieved them. There is nothing to be jealous of here, and so much of what is showcased is entirely materialistic and void of genuine longterm satisfaction. They should only be seen ambivalently as an example of how some people live. When feeling confident about who we are and what we want out of life, the biggest question about desire should be whether the (whatever) will make us happy. Of course, no one covets or desires the bare minimum: basic food and shelter necessities to live; we want the extras, the cushions and the comforts. This is perfectly fine.
And I would like to add, a little ‘jealousy-light’ should be motivating…