Valentine’s Day is most often associated with courtship and love. It is a day of hope, budding romance, and appreciations for existing relationships. However, all is not always well when it comes to the matter of the heart. Behind many love stories lurks a jealous heart; and it affects everyone to some degree or another.Jealousy and envy are sometimes mistaken to be the same thing, but they do differ.
Envy is a feeling of inadequacy. Usually this is when you compare yourself to someone else; what they have or what they have been able to do. For example, you might envy your friend for having a nicer house than your own. While this can lead to a lot of self-doubt and be detrimental to your self-esteem, envy also can incite towards achieving a desired goal. It can be very productive, but an excessive amount of envy can debilitate and destroy your relationships as well as make you incredibly unhappy with what you have.
Jealousy is a fear of losing something that you feel is yours to someone else. There is an element of possession, and a fear of loss of that possession. Jealousy can be especially pernicious because in practice, it also treats people as possessions.
Jealousy triggers a protective response from people to defend what belongs to them; but this can often end relationships rather than preserve them. The protective response triggered by jealousy often becomes overbearing and suffocating to the partner. This manifests itself in a need to control the partner’s movements, and their social habits; curtailing their personal freedom and choice significantly.
Jealousy eventually breaks down trust between people, and in more severe cases, this can even lead to emotional and physical abuse.
Jealousy is also further complicated by our own insecurities, and expectations of ourselves and our partners. When relationships aren’t as stable as a person may want it to be, jealousy can manifest itself; and if the person is insecure, no matter how stable their relationship, jealousy may crop up as a response to their insecurities.
Jealousy is a protection mechanism to preserve important people and things to us, and we all experience it to some degree or another. What may not be so apparent is where to draw the line between what is a healthy amount of it, and what is an unhealthy amount. At the end of the day, most people don’t want to be so extreme as to be overbearing or make their partner uncomfortable.
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