Colleen's thoughts on writing, directing and coaching, and her unique take on life itself!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Jealousy and envy

One of my actors and I were discussing jealousy and envy recently, and the effect they have on individuals and relationships.

Jealousy is the fear of losing something you can never have - or possess. It's a total lose-loser emotion.

People who are jealous of their partner in a relationship are (usually irrationally) afraid of losing them. Since we can *never* possess people, the jealous person is afraid of losing something they never did - and can never - own.

Jealousy is the first emotional step to domestic violence, since, allowed to fester, jealousy becomes the motivation to control the other person in the relationship.

Failing fear-driven attempts to control the other person, the stakes become higher in the jealous person's mind - and efforts to control the partner escalate into verbal abuse, generally followed by sexual and physical abuse.

These are the classic steps in domestic abuse escalation, which too often ends in maiming or death of the targeted partner.

Of course, it's also possible to be jealous of other people who have something you believe you want - a job, the glory, notoriety, money, whatever. Again. Jealousy is the result of fear: fear of losing what you will or can never own. Namely their job, glory, notoriety, money whatever.

But you can have your own! If you're afraid you'll never have the money they have, ask yourself why not? What fears do you have around making the kind of money s/he does? Or the glory? Or the notoriety?

You can never be anyone other than you. Go for what you want - figure out how to get what you want and how to get it in your own inimitable way.

If you are experiencing jealousy and don't want to, ask yourself what you're afraid of in the situation. When you figure that out - you can address the fears, create goals and meet them if it's something you *really* want. Often, when you discover what is *really* going on? You're not as interested in what you thought you coveted!

Envy is different. Envy is a wish that generally deals with qualities.

If you envy someone's relationship (I always wonder about this since there is *always* so much we don't know about people's relationships when they're behind closed doors), you probably wish you and your partner would emulate the way they communicate, treat and support each other. The qualities that you see in their relationship is what you're after.

If you envy someone's home, you probably wish you had a home with its qualities - such as being warm, cosy and loving.

Envy can be used as a positive motivator to achieve goals you are inspired to create, based on seeing someone or something that you want to mirror or emulate.

Writers and actors need to understand the distinction, because jealous characters don't deal with their emotions, they strike out at others. They often blame others for their own failures; they become irrational when they become afraid of losing what they do not or can't ever have. They can become violent.

It's extremely immature behavior.

Envious people are more likely to improve themselves or do something goofy (comedic) in an attempt to make their wish come true - their goals realized!

However: both jealous and envious people can demean, gossip about or tear down the very people they envy or of whom they are jealous in a futile attempt to build themselves up and "level the playing field."

I say futile because the truth always shows up sooner or later, and anything said that is untrue only ends up reflecting badly on the messenger.


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