What is Jealousy, Really? Treating Jealousy as an Energy Problem
Monday April 27, 2020
I was watching a pretty neat video online recently, when all of a sudden I noticed I was feeling really, really jealous of the person being highlighted in the video. I stared, open-mouthed, at the way their life looked so ideal. Every beautiful camera shot made me feel worse. I could feel my Hit Point Meter going down, down down. Finally, UGH! Critical hit! I wanted to cry. I suck at crying. So I closed the video.
WTF was going on?
First, it was obvious that the feeling was less about that other person, and more about me. OK, I’ve heard that before, about jealousy. I definitely did not really know this person, or their troubles, insecurities—all of those relevant things you’d expect to understand, in a more objective comparison.
On top of that, it seemed clear that the feeling was less about me and more about my big hopes and dreams. Like the jealousy is this voice that’s saying, “yep, just as we thought, those hopes and dreams will never come true.”
It was also something else: It was the voice of my empty gas tank.
Emotionally, I already knew I was worn out. That’s why I was laying on the couch, staring at my phone and watching Youtube, in the first place. I was trying to rest a bit. Recover.
It helped to realize this. The jealousy-voice was me, maybe. But it was also a very transient, situational me. It was me in the state of being out of gas, thinking, as an exhausted person would: “I can’t do it. They did it, they win. No second place.”
The clock kept ticking. Laying there on the couch, I rested up. I got up, continued my work, and took it easy for a while. The jealousy faded. It packed up and went away. I even made some big, ambitious plans.
This all felt pretty darn resilient, considering all of the nasty things that voice told me, mere hours ago.
Jealousy—incredibly, frustratingly—seems to be me, needing rest.
The point of jealousy, after all of the pain, isn’t even me, or my goals. The point is: “No resources.” No energy. Get rest.
So from here on out, Jealousy goes into my “energy indicators” box. It used to be in its own box that I didn’t really want to own, so I like that it has this new relation now.
Quotes About Jealousy
My INTJ dad used to collect quotes in various notebooks. If you asked him about Jealousy, I’m 100% sure he’d dig up some quote which outright rejected jealousy. Like:
Like hatred, jealousy is forbidden by the laws of life because it is essentially destructive. —Alexis Carrel
Or maybe worse:
A competent and self-confident person is incapable of jealousy in anything. Jealousy is invariably a symptom of neurotic insecurity. —Robert A. Heinlein
(Poor Heinlein. I’ll bet he had some serious run-ins with jealousy. Anybody who writes that way is, in my experience, very concerned about being labeled neurotic and insecure.)
I’ll tell you what those quotes are doing: They’re making jealous people feel worse. And that’s really a shame. They’re Patton’s slapping incidents, more than they are help or inspiration.
When jealousy becomes an energy problem, pseudo-solutions like “well then, just stop!” or “jealous people are bad” are really easily identified as ineffective. Nope, when your energy’s low, you gotta deal with the energy levels directly.
I’d rather that all those quotes slamming jealous people just said: Get some rest. Find your next aid station on the road of life. Take good care of yourself. The jealousy will pass and you’ll be able to move on. You’re still as good as you ever were.
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