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What is Jealousy?

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

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What is Jealousy?

Surprisingly, there is very little material available to explain jealousy. Psychiatry does not even deal with this topic, perhaps relegating it as a very minor issue that does not require the attention of professionals. Yet we are aware of the fact that jealousy plays an important role in our life. There are times when we are torn with strong jealousy and are at a loss how to deal with it. There are many more occasions when we are victims of others’ jealousy, and however painful or unjustified it may be, find ourselves helpless to deal with the situation. Being on the receiving end of jealousy from someone you like and care for, can be even more painful.

Jealousy has probably existed from the time Satan felt bad about the status that God gave to Adam. Jealousy obviously played a major role in the unfolding of the Mahabharatha. Jealousy has made people instigate wars, has brought down kingdoms and has destroyed civilizations. In the modern world, jealousy exists in strong under-currents not only in offices but in families, among friends, and more so in very close relationships of lovers and spouses.

Despite such a major role played by this basic emotion, very little has actually been done to try and understand why and how it occurs, what are its manifestations, how to identify it early enough, and how to deal with it; and also how to prevent its recurrence. While hardly any life skills are taught in schools and colleges, whatever is taught is also towards “development”. Personality development trains a person to communicate well, be expressive, be assertive, and to be persuasive. Yet it does not teach a person how to deal with the most common but highly destructive emotions such as jealousy, envy, possessiveness, hatred, revengefulness.

The good news is that an emotion like jealousy can certainly be identified, curbed, overcome and conquered. As with any other human trait, it requires an inner desire and motivation from the person concerned. Also, there is no quick-fix solution and the process takes a certain amount of time and effort. A good friend or advisor can guide and encourage the person to work his way out, but cannot do the actual work involved. It is the person himself who has to put in regular, consistent and sustained effort – and keep on introspecting and evaluating how his progress is. This book attempts to help you to deal with jealousy, whether it is your own, or that of another.

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