We all talk about it. We all claim to be happy for others but do we really do it? Who cares, right? Do we really NEED to be happy for others? Have you ever wondered why is it that it is so hard to be happy for someone else, especially when we do not have what the other person has in his/her life? In my opinion, jealousy is a spectrum. Some of us are indifferent to others lives because let’s face it, our lives keep us busy and we like it that way, busy hustling with no time to spare for others problems. But I couldn’t help but think about those of us who are openly bitter about others being happy. People who belong to this category do not have much time to focus on others either. However, they somehow manage to express their discontentment while gossiping about their “good” friends or their supposedly close relatives and their seemingly perfect lives. In the eyes of these individuals, the happy people in their lives are just sitting in their beautiful mansions, collecting bags of gold coins and taking skydiving lessons using their private jets while all they might have received was a promotion or an elite gym membership. They LOOK at those face-tuned pictures of their friends with hundreds of hearts on it and they choose to SEE a damage-proof glowing and a healthy skin. They LOOK at the group picture of smiling faces and they choose to SEE a group of people who never have misunderstandings, thriving in harmony. While most of us know how deceptive appearances are, I am more interested in understanding why is it so hard for us humans to naturally be happy for others. After all, compassion and open-heartedness are supposed to be innate human qualities right?
So, how does jealousy originate in each of us? What does jealousy indicate? The most obvious answer for these questions is sadness and frustration from dealing with one’s own issues. When you are sad, you can’t possibly be happy for another person, even if it is someone very close to you. When you are sad or frustrated about something in your life, have you ever observed the narrative your ego gives you at the time? It is most certainly ALWAYS exaggerated. What do I mean by this? Suppose you are frustrated because you can’t afford your dream car, your Ego narrates this situation to you as if you are so poor that you probably have to save way more than you need to in order to afford the car. The Ego follows this up by saying that you can NEVER afford a luxurious lifestyle and then it tells you, your friends will overtake you in this “RACE” to “WIN” life. This goes on and on until you are sitting in your couch, sulking and criticising yourself over every purchase you had made up until that point. Eventually, your Ego convinces you that you are one step away from being destitute and that you need to up your “game”. Why?- because you can’t afford your dream car at that moment in your life. Why does your Ego wants to do this to you? Because your Ego always wants to protect you and it doesn’t know the scale of danger so it always assume the highest level of danger waiting to appear down the road.
What does your Ego or your sadness has to do with another person’s happiness? Nothing! This is it! Then, why does it always feel like it is all connected? Because we humans as a species always want to be a part of something. It is our innate desire to be included and to seek company and be around people who are like us. We don’t want to be left out. When we were hunting for food as a primitive being, it is probably dangerous to go through something that your tribe doesn’t know about or cannot help with because that would mean you will probably be left alone to die in order to save the rest of the tribe. Misery loves company. Deep down, a truly bitter person would probably be thinking, “how is it that I am suffering and you are not? This is unacceptable!”. Because of this crowd-gathering habit of ours, the realization that we are alone at struggling with something is very painful and our Ego wants to make us feel safe. So, our Ego nudges us to find ways to feel safe and included. The instinctive solution would be to make others miserable or point out their problems to make them less cheerful and in your point of view, more “humane”. The extent to which people put in efforts to make others miserable varies a lot and it is directly proportional to how alone and unsupported they feel in their lives.
We are not born bitter. We ALL are loving and kind sentient beings and that is our true nature. Perhaps knowing how Ego, also known as our our false Self, blocks our ability to be happy for others can help us understand how pointless it is to feel jealous. The next time your friend or acquaintance talks about his/her blessings, open those strong, confident arms and give them a hug or a handshake. Smile and send them loving energy and wish them well because there is one thing that is COMMON in you and your friend and that is the fact that you both are human.
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