The most basic condition for happiness, according to the teachings of the Buddha, is freedom. Freedom from the mental formations of anger, despair, jealousy and delusion, described as poisons or symptoms of mental illness (not being mental illness yet).
As long as these poisons are still in our heart, happiness (peace of mind) cannot be possible.
Jealousy is a parasite that causes irritation, distance, hate and imprisonment. Looking more deeply into this ‘mental poison’ you can discover at least it has to do with two different phenomena: greed and clinging. And greed and clinging always have a relationship with (material) things, circumstances, or relationships. One cannot exist without the other.
Greed you can see as an inordinate longing for wealth, status/social position, or power. Somebody would like to have something, that somebody else already has but it is hard for him/her to get it. Most of the times this ‘hunger’ has to do with material things or the idea of a better or only bright side showing situation someone else is in. A ‘rich’ man often can be poor. What, after all is wealth, status and power? Nan Huai Chin: " We leave this world with nothing. No medals, no rewards, no success, no failure.”
The manual of peace (A Dhammakaya Foundation Paperback) says:
“Never look down on your own wealth” This might mean being content with one’s parents, one’s spouse and children, our work or one’s nationality. Even if there are faults with these things, it is necessary to cultivate the ‘pride’ for them (note: no arrogant pride) that will make it seem worthwhile gradually to make the necessary improvements – rather than the attempt to solve the problem by stealing away someone else’s (spouse, work, etc.). If a person is content with something, they tend to progress in that thing –because contentment, properly understood gives us the encouragement to expend effort on the things we come into contact with. You need to accept how you are and use what you have to the very best of your ability.
If people already feel confident and satisfied with the things they have or the situation in which they are in, some want to firmly cling on it. Actually not accepting or wanting to let go, no allowing of any change. Jealousy in this situation has to do with monitoring and, if necessary, repel all possible attack that, only in their thoughts and sometimes due to past experiences, could ruin their positive feeling or emotion. So there is a constantly conscious and alert state of monitoring possible ‘intruders’.
A person who is jealous, at least is suffering from feelings/emotions of insecurity, lack of confidence, fear, concern and anxiety. He/she puts him/herself in a prison cell of anger, hatred, shortage, helplessness and antipathy. An attitude and behavior withholding him/herself being open, interested, happy, positive, peaceful, loving, strong and relaxed. Being captured by his/her own mental poison and so not experiencing freedom and complete happiness.
Jealousy, unfortunately, is not just poisoning the person who is jealous. The mental symptoms infect and pollute relationships with others. Such contamination may ultimately be 'fatal' for that relationship.
Therefore you can see it as a "natural way" to achieved just the opposite of what the jealous person want to correct or achieve. Jealousy becomes a kind of personal masochism. Hurting yourself because of dissatisfaction and the fantasies you created in your mind.
Detective behavior of one of the partners against the other – being always alert and awake and giving attention to possible ‘invaders’ – show no confidence / trust in having, being able, or want to build an unconditional love relationship.
The natural response of the other partner is to find ways to appease the jealous partner. An unnatural behavior – always being alert not to come into situations where jealousy can emerge – arises. So he/she does not feel free in behavior anymore. Not wanting to make ‘mistakes’ (not being mistakes at all). And this unnatural behavior invites the jealous partner to be even more 'suspicious'. So actually, the situation will only get worse.
Already two persons now are suffering of the lack of freedom and a lack of happiness because ‘something’ that’s only going on in the mind of one of them.
Jealousy creates distance and is a parasite that eats away the union in a love life. People who love(d) each other can feel very harmed by this.
Is there a solution?
What is described above, in general, is all about the consequences of jealousy. Want to do something then you have to start at the cause, at the source.
It is to choose a way of working on that source (where does the jealousy come from? How does it support you? What does it bring (or what does it take away from you, what do you lose)? A way of practicing and creating confidence. A step by step learning to manage your emotions until you get used to the ‘new way’ (a matter of trust, openness, tolerance, generosity), and it has become a behavior of satisfaction and trusting yourself.
Do not compare yourself with others. Compare your current relationship not with previous experiences you've had. Trust yourself and the other (until the contrary really would appear) and offer each other opportunities. Use your imagination and empathy to make yourself feel better instead of worse. Stop playing the detective in your relationship. Be mindful, open and aware, of what's going on (only) in your mind. Give your full attention to the love in the relationship you have (everything you give attention grows). Give conscious love to yourself (you are the one who live 24 hours with yourself every day so why not start a love relationship with yourself first). Open your gate! Let things flow. Release each other in who and how you are and how you behave to share with each other and with the world around in the best way your uniqueness. Be complete, all-one. Appreciate and accept differences in characters and sometimes cultures and religions and trust your connection. Thus strengthening your mutual bond instead of ruining him.
Mindfulness contains the energy of insight. Insight you can see as enlightenment. To make things and situations lighter, freer, so things can flow (again).
Thich Nhat Hanh: “Insight is the liberating factor. It is what frees us and allows transformation to happen...”
Jealousy can ruin your peace and end relationship; it can also be a signal to you that it's time to make a change. Rather than letting jealousy infect your relationship with others, use its appearance as a reason to better understand yourself. If you are having to deal with the jealousy of others, draw clear boundaries and protect yourself to stay yourself.
A final, potentially sad, step is the last step of ‘equanimity’ (a way to stay balanced and stop worrying or suffering).
If you cannot or do not want to accept the jealousy situation with another any longer... find a new situation and be aware you may find different things in that new situations you will have to encounter after a while again.
Host / Catalyst / Talenteer at Captijn Insight
Captijn Insight: “Catalyst in your process to new sustainable flow in life and work. Whether you are an individual, couple, team or an organization.”