To cure jealousy is to see it for what it is: a dissatisfaction with self. – Joan Didion
Jealousy is a complex emotion that everyone experiences at one time or another. It’s human nature to compare ourselves to others. And yes, cats get jealous, too.
Jealousy can be toxic. It makes you feel small and petty. On the face of it, jealousy seems to be directed at the other person, but ultimately, the only one suffering is you. It’s not easy to admit to being jealous, because it means facing your own insecurities and fears. Jealousy feels awful, and allowing yourself to indulge in it will almost always damage your soul.
But there’s a gift hidden inside the jealousy you feel. Uncovering that gift can be hard work, but if you allow yourself to confront the green-eyed monster, you will be surprised at the insights you’ll gain into your own psyche.
Jealousy is a reflection of something inside yourself.
Instead of being jealous of someone else, look inward. Why are you reacting so strongly to someone’s good fortune? When you feel jealous, it’s always about wanting what they have. If you really want it, what’s stopping you from getting it? Are there real obstacles to getting what you want, or are you letting your fears and insecurities hold you back?
Jealousy forces you to be honest with yourself.
When you’re jealous of someone’s achievements, or of something they have, ask yourself why you want what they have. Why does their success bother you so much? What is at the root of your jealousy? Do you really want your sister’s boyfriend, or is it a sense of connection that you’re looking for? Do you really want your friend’s work schedule, or are you looking for more freedom? Try to identify the essence of what it is about a person or situation that is making you jealous. You may be surprised at what comes up for you.
Jealousy can be a catalyst for change.
Chances are that the person you’re jealous of doesn’t have the perfect life you think they have. But the fact that you’re jealous is a clear indication that you’re unhappy with something in your own life. Use your jealousy to figure out what you want to change in your life, and let it fuel your journey.
Jealousy between cats
Cats do experience jealousy, and it is rooted in the same reasons as human jealousy: insecurity, and a perception that there’s not enough. Jealousy among cats is usually the result of a new cat or baby coming into the family. The cat feels that the change affects her normal life and the amount of attention she receives. Jealousy can lead cats to react with aggression, or by retreating and hiding. The key to dealing with a jealous cat is to reassure her that there’s enough love to go around for everyone. This means introducing any change, especially a new family member, gradually, and sharing the gift of your love and attention equally.
Ruby occasionally gets a little jealous of Allegra. Ruby is my little lovebug. She’s happiest when she’s in my arms or on my lap. If she had her way, she’d probably be permanently glued to me. Allegra is a little more reserved with showing her affection, but lately, she has been giving me a little more lap time. Ruby is not sure how she feels about that, but we’re working through it.
Is jealousy a challenge for you? How about your cats? How do you cope?
Photo by Thomas Hanner, Flickr Creative Commons