Letting go of a painful heart
When we’re jealous, we can’t bear the happiness, wealth, repu-tation, talents and good qualities of others. We want to destroy their happiness and good qualities, and claim them for ourselves. We may mask our jealousy or rationalize it, but when we strip away these shields, we starkly see how ugly it is.
Jealousy can fester in relationships. We’re jealous of another person because he or she is with our dear one. It arises in work situations when someone else receives the job we want. When another person can play soccer better than we can, is a better guitarist, has more stylish clothes or was admitted to a better school, we get jealous. Jealousy is involved in many border disputes between nations and in disharmony among political parties within a nation.
Sometimes our jealousy is so intense that we can’t sleep at night or concentrate on our work. Jealousy leads us to say or do things which destroy others’ well-being and happiness .. It makes us manipulative and dishonest.
Jealousy is based on our incorrect interpretation of a situation. Extremely self-centered, jealousy thinks, “My happiness is more important that anyone else’s. I can’t endure another person having the happiness that I want.”
The antidote is to look at the situation with a more open mind, considering not only our own happiness, profit and loss, but also that of others. There can be a profound effect on our minds when we remember that others want happiness: they’re glad to receive possessions and good opportunities, they enjoy the company of nice people, and they appreciate praise.
When someone else receives something good, why not rejoice? We often say how wonderful it would be if others were happy. Now one person is happy and we didn’t even have to do anything to bring it about! There is no purpose in making ourselves miserable by being jealous.
We don’t always have to be the best or have the best. A small child cries, argues and tries to ruin his playmate’s fun when the playmate gets something he doesn’t. As adults responsible for setting a good example for children, and as citizens responsible for harmony in society, it’s beneficial if we allow ourselves to be happy and rejoice at others’ good fortune. In that way, both we and the other person will be happy.
For example, a colleague receives the promotion we thought we deserved. If we look at it only from our own viewpoint, we’re miserable and jealous. Jealousy makes neither the other person nor ourselves happy. It also accomplishes nothing, for our jealousy doesn’t deprive her of the promotion and grant it to us instead. Ifwe remember that the other person is happy about the promotion and would like others to join in her happiness, we’ll rejoice at her good fortune. Then both of us will be happy.
It’s easier to correct our unrealistic attitude of jealousy when it concerns something small: for example someone receives a gift and we don’t. It’s more difficult to rejoice in others’ happiness when it means a loss on our own part.
Take, for example, a couple relationship in which one partner is unfaithful. If we react with jealousy and then shout, curse and even beat the other, we don’t alleviate the pain of our jealousy, nor do we convince the other person that it’s good to stay with us. Allowing the fire of jealousy to continue burning, we’re restless, miserable and vengeful. In addition, we’re likely to say or do something that will make the other person dislike us, thus preventing reconciliation.
Although we don’t condone the other person’s improper behavior, ifwe can remain calm, we won’t experience as much pain. Also, we’ll be able to keep communication open between us. In this way, both of us will feel comfortable when we meet or talk together later. The door will remain open should the other wish to apologize.
In short, freeing ourselves from jealousy eliminates our own internal torture. Rejoicing at others’ good qualities and success brings happiness to both ourselves and others.