As I said in my post about crab mentality in the Philippines, because my wife is Filipina, I get to interact with Filipinos quite a lot, and, by observing how rampant and widespread jealousy is in the Philippines, I have gained some insights about what creates jealousy.
Today I want to talk about how to cure it, because jealousy is not just a Filipino problem, rather it is very widespread and I myself struggle with it.
Curing jealousy and parting with the fear of not getting a particular person, because this person likes someone else, and the fear of not getting a particular thing, because someone else has it, requires a radical paradigm shift.
By reading books and blogs on this topic I have been able to write down some of these reframes and in this post I’d like to share some of them with you and, in so doing, I get to remind myself of these paradigm shifts that I myself need to make (you teach best what you most need to learn….).
If you do get that person or thing that someone else has will that make you happy?
Other people, a car, a house, a position etc can give us some fun and some excitement but can they give us inner bliss and peace?
As I mentioned in one of my posts, my father acquired pretty much everything he wanted and yet he lived in a constant state of restlesness that caused him to smoke too much.
The reason my father started smoking in his early “20’s is because he was probably frustrated for being poor.
By working hard he became rather wealthy: did he quit smoking? No, he kept smoking even more and he justifyied it by saying that he was frustrated that my brother and I were not following in his footsteps.
But my question is: what if we did follow in his footsteps? Would he have quit smoking? I doubt it very seriously.
Did getting the woman I wanted give me inner bliss and peace?
Well, by getting the person I am in a relationship with I haven’t become more capable of controlling my emotions or my health. My emotions and my health only improve if i do something about them. My wife doesn’t do it for me, she cannot slow down my breathing and get me to relax and find inner peace or sleep better.
Inner calm and inner peace are exclusively the product of how we process our thoughts, how we control our breathing, what we eat and so on.
It boils down to personal development and, because personal development is “personal”, other people or situations have no power over our states.
So even if we get everything other people have we still have to do the hard work that is necessary to master our emotions and others or other things won’t do it for us.
Do I really know that getting that person or that thing will lead to the best outcome?
Apart from the idea that getting that thing or that person will give us happy feelings we also convince ourselves that these things will lead to the outcomes we want.
But do we really know that?
My father achieved everything he wanted (or rather he taught that he wanted): he got the houses and things that other people had, but he obtained those things at the cost of ruining his health and of getting even more stressed out, which caused him to die earlier than he probably would had he not got what he wanted.
Had I not got married I would probably have more money and would likely have travelled more.
We don’t really know how things will eventually play out and if our life will indeed improve once we get the things other people have or the person we think we want
Maybe we get the private jet that someone else has and we crash and die….or we get that position that someone else has just to realize that we are sacrificing our family life because we work too much….or perhaps we marry that amazing person and maybe that person gets paralized for life and we have to assist him or her for life….How can we possibly know how things will eventually turn out?
So this is another reason to part with anxiety over not getting the people or the things we want and that someone else has.
What if we get what we want and then lose it?
Another price that we pay if we have a neurotic fear of not getting the love of a particular person or not getting what someone else has, is that, if we do get that thing or that person, we are simply going to replace the fear of not getting them with the fear of losing them.
If we have a neurotic attachement to that thing or that person, and we stake our happiness or sense of worth on them, fear won’t go away because a spouse can die or leave us and a material thing can be stolen, a position will eventually be taken by someone else because nothing sticks forever.
If getting what you want doesn’t inherently make you happy what about getting what you want using the jealousy strategy?
On top of the fact that it doesn’t inherently make you happy, getting that thing by resorting to jealousy-driven methods will sour your entire life: your relationships as well as your self-worth
As I said in my post about crab mentality in the Philippines, Filipinos resort to gossip and other sneaky methods to tear down those who succeed.
For example Filipinos who want to set up a store or a restaurant here in Rome don’t get much support from their fellow countrymen.
Does anybody win here?
Not at all. If those Filipinos who try to set up shop received support rather than criticism they could perhaps hire other Filipinos and the whole community would benefit from it.
So tearing other people down and using other jealousy strategies only causes broken relationships and backfires in many other ways and nobody wins.
Come from a place of abundance
The Bible (which is a book that most Filipinos supposedly live by) says “rejoice with those who rejoice”.
Rejoicing with people who get something we wish we had is tricky but it’s the best strategy to boost our self-worth, our inner peace and improve our relationships.
Criticizing those who rejoice makes us small and petty while by rejoicing with someone who gets what we think we deserve we actually become bigger. Why?
Well, because in so doing we say to ourselves that our life is big enough to allow other people to succeed and that we are so grateful for what we already have that we don’t really need to take away a certain thing or position from another person to make our life bigger. Let them have what they have and even give ourselves the luxury to actually go up to them and congratulate them for having that thing.
It sounds tricky and counterintuitive but doing that will actually kill our pettiness and massively boost our self-worth.
Will getting that person or thing fix your deepest fears?
One of the fears that those who can’t get the person they want or the feedback and the approval they want is the fear of being alone.
I am married and I have a decent level of love and approval in my life.
But all of that does nothing to cure my loneliness.
I have realized that fundamentally, at the deepest level we are alone, independent of whether we have a relationship, love, a position, approval or whatever else.
This applies to intimate relationships but it also applies to other domains of life: getting the car that someone else has, getting the status that others have, getting that position or feedback that others have won’t scratch that itch caused by the fact that we are fundamentally left alone in dealing with the dilemmas of life and the only way we can deal with those is by embarking on a personal spiritual journey that is not and could never be the result of getting some external.
A car, a career, a position or even an intimate relationship won’t answer such questions as “why are we here?”, “what happens when we die?” and so on.
Nothing, apart from a deep spiritual journey can scratch those itches.
So, yes, there are several reflections and reframes we can make to get rid of jealousy and to really part with this nasty thing that doesn’t serve us in any way and do it once and for all.Hope it helps….