Jealousy: What Is It Good For?

The green-eyed monster. That feeling that flashes through and infects you before you can even identify it. Jealousy.

One of the pictures that comes to my mind when I think of jealousy is an old-school picture of the Ten Commandments. You know the one. It’s the one with a white haired Moses holding two stone tablets with a mountain behind him and a lightning bolt flashing in the back.

And then the follow-up feeling to jealousy happens: shame.

But what if jealousy is there for a reason other than to condemn us for wanting something?

What if we said, “Oh, hey there jealousy. I hear you. I see you pointing me to an unfulfilled longing in my life.” And instead of feeling shame for thinking we’ve broken one of “the big 10”, we examine that unfulfilled longing. I’m not saying sit and stew in your jealousy. That usually leads us somewhere between discontent and bitterness.

What I am saying is that jealousy points out what we want even if we didn’t realize we wanted it. And instead of feeling bad for wanting what someone else has, use it as an opportunity for self-examination. Are they fulfilling a dream you’ve always had? Do they have a personal quality you wish was easy for you? Do they own something you wish you had too?

Longing for something is not innately bad,

Maybe you needed to be reminded of your dreams and goals through another’s success. We just need to make sure that our values are in order. Jealousy becomes toxic when we want what we long for over other things that are actually more important like loving the Lord, our families, or working hard.

So instead of letting the follow-up feeling of jealousy be shame, let’s change it to curiosity.

Photo by ALP STUDIO on Unsplash

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