Why are you giving me such strange looks? I’ve never claimed to be normal, have I? You’re offended because you, like all of us, were taught at school that jealousy is a very bad thing. That it breeds hatred and discontent. Despite that, you could never help that feeling of something snapping inside you when your best friend scored more in math or when the prettiest girl in the class accepted his proposal for friendship.
A lot of you who work know that feeling when the boss suddenly turns all against you because a jealous colleague bitched behind your back. Or when your brand new car wakes up with scratches because the friendly neighbour had difficulty digesting that you could afford one. We, my dear people, were born with the J gene. All of us. The only difference being that while most of us manage to accept it as a natural emotion and keep it in check, some others decide to express their unhappiness with, well, your happiness. Today’s column is dedicated to these people. I think they are just fabulous. Here’s why.
1. They reaffirm your success: Someone being jealous of you is the biggest proof that there’s something right, and good, happening in your life. Lakshay, a regular reader of this column, wrote to me last week about a friend of his, “He calls himself my best friend, but it is so obvious that anything good happening to me upsets him. I told him that dad’s getting me an iPhone 4S and suddenly there were these murmurs in the class about what a big show-off I am. I know who started it. How can people be so double-faced?” Hmm … well people are double faced so that you remain confused about which face to slap!! Sorry, that was a bad joke. But, hey Lakshay, don’t forget to thank and love your dad for getting you the iPhone now that you have proof that it’s something worth showing off.
You see, what the jealous people unknowingly do is put a firm stamp on the fact that your life, in some ways, is better than theirs. It could be materialistic, or even emotional. A lot of friends may be jealous of how your boyfriend sends you heart-shaped balloons each week. (Really? Don’t smile, that’s so cheesy. Why are you still with him?). The problem is only when we start paying more attention to their jealousy than to our success. As long as you are not rubbing your happiness in someone else’s face and making them feel small, you have every reason to celebrate and enjoy the fact that life’s treating you nicely. Stop feeling sorry about your success or apologising for your achievements. Say a big thank you in your heart, to everyone who’s jealous of you. You would have felt like such a loser if no one in this world envied you. No?
2. They make you strive harder to hold on to your success: Jealous people are such noble souls. They sometimes deliberately express their displeasure in such mean ways that you take it up as a challenge to hold on to your win. My friend Priya used to be very tense because every time she would get a promotion at her workplace, some colleagues would start rumours about her proximity with the boss. She decided to take it up as a challenge and worked so hard at her performance that the no one could ever question the rise in her career graph. The bitterness sometimes ignites a fire in you to prove and sustain that you were worth feeling jealous of. So, aren’t you eternally thankful to those who made it possible? If it hadn’t been for their envy, you would have easily taken your success for granted, rested on your laurels and fallen off the pedestal while asleep. Thank them, silly, rather than resenting their presence in your life.
3. They help you see the true colours of people: First, go give a big hug to someone you think is jealous of you, and then I’ll tell you why. See, the J-ones mostly take out their frustration by going behind your back and saying mean things to those in your life. It could be your friends in class, colleagues in your office or even relatives in the family circle. Ask Bubbly aunty and she’ll tell you her theory on how all sister-in-laws should be called sinister-in-laws. Haan, coming back to the point, when the J-brand people bitch behind your back, it’s a wonderful opportunity to see who in your circle falls for it and who doesn’t. THAT will tell you who you can trust in your life and who is not worthy of it. If a close friend believes someone who is back-biting you, maybe that close friend shouldn’t be close anymore. Think about it. They were doing you such a big favour and you’ve been feeling low about their actions. Go hug.
After all this unsolicited gyaan, a word for those who are honest enough to admit that they’ve been feeling jealous of someone. Dekho bhai, my great grandmother Erica Jong used to say ‘Jealousy is all the fun you think they had’…arthaat, door ke dhol suhawane. From a distance, someone else’s life looks all rosy, because the thorns are too small to notice. They prick only the one who’s holding them. So, before you go all green with envy and those around you can smell your heart burning, count your own blessings and thank God that you are you, and not someone else. Because you know your own problems and can deal with them. The unknown devils in someone else’s life are far more dangerous. Calm it.
Sonal Kalra wanted to launch a ‘Are you J? Come, here’s a hug for you’ campaign but a friend told her it sounds a bit obscene. Maybe she’s J.
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