Jealousy – Identify and Remove ईर्ष्या – पहचाने और निकाले (April, 2017)
“A proper diagnosis is half the cure!” a famous quotation of medical field also applies to mental diseases – particularly the way we think. However, most of the time, we stay oblivious to the existence of any flaws in our thinking let alone diagnosing or curing it. Moreover, the diagnosis of the ailments of thoughts is painful and unsettling, for it generally brings forth something we do not like about ourselves. This year, we are working on identifying and addressing those flaws.
Before talking about the topic of this month, let’s do an experiment. Let’s think how we feel when someone we know rises in any sphere of life – be it mastering certain skills, gaining public recognition, acquiring objects of value, achieving material wealth, or attaining any worthy goal/milestone. What is the feeling?
- joyful, charmed, appreciative, captivated, pleased, satisfied, pleasantly surprised, positively energetic.
- unhappy, angered, upset, depressed, disappointed, dismayed, miserable, pained, drained, sorrowful, troubled, surly, raged, furious, vindictive, negatively charged.
Be very honest in this assessment – it is for reflection only. If there is an ounce of a single feeling from the second category, we are suffering from an extremely harmful disease called jealousy.
Yes, jealousy (ईर्ष्या), which is one of the most harmful mental ailments impacting many adults and whose seeds are sown at an early stage of life, is the topic of this month’s kid’s assignment. The feeling of jealousy can be compared with one of the most dreaded diseases on earth: cancer. Like cancer, jealousy starts at the very early stage of life. Often parents and teachers ignore it because they think it is a natural feeling of competition and will help the kid grow in life. Unnoticed, it starts to grow and envelop the kid’s personality. Most of his/her focus starts to shift to outside – on others, on comparison. Over period, as this disease spreads, irrespective of achieving multiple successes, the person starts to become easily annoyed and upset – because somewhere inside he/she is missing out on true enjoyments of life coming from within. Such a person experiences lack of energy whenever someone known is praised, looks good, or achieves something. Strangely enough, the feeling of jealousy can sting anytime and anywhere. And once that happens, the person is not able to be present in that moment anymore – even if it is one of the most cherished events.
Despite the widespread understanding of the perils of jealousy, one of the common misconceptions is equating jealousy with competition. As such, competition is a healthy phenomenon: comparing oneself with other successful people in a healthy manner is an effective tool that makes us notice possibilities, inspires us to take actions, and helps us achieve exceptional goals. But when the feeling of comparison becomes an uncontrolled obsession, it can be extremely harmful. An overly competitive person makes every aspect of life a fight: a do-or-die situation where he/she must compete and succeed. Such a person cannot accept that someone else wins. You know that competition has turned into jealousy when the focus moves from one’s own success to other person’s failure. At this stage, a person with low moral values may even stoop so low as to hurt others at his/her own expense.
So, what can be done to take care of it?
To start with, building a solid understanding of the feeling of jealousy is the first and essential step in arresting its growth. Once a person understands the nature of this nasty bug, as soon as it stings, he/she will be aware – and not just ignore it as some other feeling. Next, after realizing he/she is feeling or about to feel jealous, one must pull away from that situation – if not physically, mentally! Even doing so momentarily will be huge step in the right direction. Here are a few example thought-patterns that help in such circumstances:
- I am feeling jealous and all the pain I am about to feel is due to my own thinking only – such a thought will be absolutely liberating.
- I have the self-confidence to celebrate and enjoy in other’s success – such a thought will boost positive thinking and provide an instant cure.
- I can also grow; if not in the same field I just noticed, some other – such a thought will bring excitement and positive outlook.
Try one of the above thought patterns, it is amazing. With such thoughts, not only one can get rid of the pain and sufferings but also turn the same situation into an opportunity to grow. Depending upon how ingrained the feeling of jealousy is, it may take a bit more time and efforts in the initial stages. But, it will go away for sure!
This month, kids will focus on ways to identify and eliminate jealousy (ईर्ष्या – पहचाने और निकाले).
PS: I will request parents to help kids identify and differentiate between subtle aspects of healthy competition and awful feeling of jealousy – but, before doing so, build a solid understanding yourself.
Om Shanti Om,