A Practical Guide to Jealousy (a plea for reason and logic)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013 0 , ,

Covetousness is not condoned by JenEric Generation. In fact, I am not sure any person or entity encourages the nasty, gnawing, self-destructive feeling. However, if we insist upon doing it, might I suggest we do it the right way? 

“Right” in the sense that jealousy is nonsensical, fantastical, and altogether unrealistic, and therefore the rightness in it must also contain traces of the same absurdity.

Can we all agree to playing by the rules? Here are my tips for proper jealousy:

Let’s say you come across someone who is the representation of what you imagine yourself to be in your ideal world. This person is you, but upgraded. It’s unsettling. You tell yourself how happy you are to know this person, and have them to look up to. But that jealous feeling slips in, however temporarily.

Rather than simply going about your day, being envious of only the aspects you admire, you would do well to remember that if you got your wish in having those admirable traits bestowed upon you, you would also receive in that same hand, all the other cards she was holding. And you might be surprised by her puh-poker face. 

What I am trying to say is, this girl with a slightly better life than you comes with a few things you may have overlooked: she comes with chronic bad breath, a husband who is never home, thinning hair, student loans, and a family who puts a lot of pressure on her to act a certain way.


Enough of this foolishness, I say. I demand that we add a little logic to our envy!

That girl you just passed in the crowd with the perfect body and style you wish you could pull off? Congrats. She has a mother-in-law who insists on spending hours on the phone with her son every week, and advising her on how to take care of him. So, you get that too. You didn’t see that coming, did you? Too late, you can’t take it back. At least you have a thigh-gap, though. That will come in sooo handy when your mother-in-law invites herself over to dinner tonight.

What I am suggesting:

I am suggesting that you truly can have whatever you want; that if you are jealous of someone, you can have what they have. But you get all of what they have, and you get none of what you have. I am not sure that most of us are ready to go that far. So, consider how foolish it is to long for someone’s toned arms. Do you plan on cutting theirs off and throwing away yours?

What I am not suggesting:

I am not trying to say that jealousy is pointless because no one’s life is perfect (although, one should not dwell on that fact lest it produce some semblance of gratitude and deem this guide entirely unnecessary). This guide assumes that you believe in jealousy. And I am saying that if you believe in jealousy, fine. But you must follow the logic all the way through. We cannot take one part of someone, and keep the parts we like about ourselves. Is all reason gone from the world?!

Jealousy is essentially a wish. And if you believe that these wishes are worth your energy, know that jealousy demands a full trade. Jealousy is not a build-a-bear store. It’s more like a board game. It has rules. And now you know them, so play the right way.

Furthermore, if you were jealous of someone’s something yesterday, you can’t pick a new person to be jealous of today. It’s just not feasible or practical. And that is all this post is trying to be: a helpful, practical guide to choosing your objects of desire wisely so that we can all fade and decay in our own logical pool of well-chosen bitterness.

Good luck applying these pointers. I wish us all the happiness in the world!

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