Jealousy is not a bad thing

People should let their jealousy improve them as individuals


Tricia Drumm, Mill Valley News editor-in-chief

In Pre-AP English last semester, my teacher had us read and analyze the novel “A Separate Peace” by John Knowles. After reading a few chapters of the novel, which was not nearly as terrible as it was made out to be, she assigned a journal response on Blackboard about if it was OK to envy your best friend. Jealousy is not a bad thing. In fact, it can make you a better person.

The words “jealousy” or “envy” often hold negative connotations. In the Bible, jealousy is described as a sin and the act of being controlled by self-desire. It can apply to almost everything: qualities, physical objects, physical features, relationships, etc. You could be jealous of someone’s dog if you felt that strongly.

I know all too well what jealousy feels like. For example, a close friend of mine recently got her cartilage pierced. The thing is, when I had asked my parents if I could get my cartilage pierced before she got hers pierced, they said no. I was crushed. I was — wait for it — jealous.

Jealousy is natural, and you can’t stop it. As humans, we are hunter-gatherers. The original context of the phrase refers to hunting animals and gathering plants, but to put it in the perspective of human emotions, “gathering” can be the collection of materials and/or qualities (you can’t necessarily gather mental qualities). Meanwhile, the “hunt” can be envy. What we cannot gather, we hunt.

If you make a bad choice because you are jealous, it isn’t acceptable to blame your actions on the emotion. You have full control over your attitude.

Instead of dwelling on your emotions, let jealousy make you a better person. Is a gorgeous statement necklace holding your undivided attention? Work hard and save some money up! Use your competition, the person that has what you want, to strive for excellence. Wishing you had an A in math like the kid sitting next you? Let that drive you to become more devoted to your studies. Let jealousy motivate you to become a better person.

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