Quotes: Jealousy

It’s been almost two years since I’ve done one of these, but I figured I might as well revive some older stuff since I have to post everyday!

“Jealousy… is a mental cancer.”

       – B. C. Forbes

This is a really simple quote. It’s not some long, thought out, fantastic piece of advice. It’s just a thought.

First I want to talk about the difference between jealousy and envy. Most people use them to mean the same thing, but the truth is, they are very different. Envy is greed, and jealousy is fear. If you are envious of someone, you want something that they have. For example, you want your neighbor’s new car. If you are jealous, you fear that someone will take something away from you. For example, when someone flirts with your partner, you are afraid they are trying to steal them away from you.

Now, it’s unclear whether B. C. Forbes meant envy or jealousy. Let’s first assume that he meant what he said. If this is the case, he meant that constantly living in fear that someone will take away what you consider to be yours, is a miserable death sentence. Now, obviously getting a little jealous every now and then won’t give you this figurative cancer, but living in a constant state of jealousy means a constant battle with life. Are you really living, and enjoying yourself and your belongings, if you are always in fear of losing them?

Let’s look at the other side. Suppose he meant envy. Constantly living in envy would be the same miserable death sentence. If you never appreciate what you already have, can you be happy? Sure, It’d be nice to have a big house and a fancy car, but how much of what you already have would you be willing to give up to have those things? If that meant you couldn’t take your kids to their favorite park every summer, would you still want your neighbor’s fancy car? If it meant you couldn’t have kids at all, would you still want a mansion?

Whether he meant envy or jealousy, he still had a point. Maybe he meant both. It’s crossed my mind that what he was trying to say was less about the words he used, and more about the way they can be interpreted. The meaning I take away from this quote is that we won’t be living a full life until we learn to be happy with what we have and recognize that things come and go. That’s the way life is.


Part of the Daily Blogging Challenge July 2015

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