Fandango’s Provocative Question #103 – Is jealousy purely a negative and potentially destructive emotion, or does jealousy have any value as a motivator to drive people to improve themselves?
I don’t think jealousy is purely negative but I believe it is a potentially destructive emotion. Some level of jealousy may be unavoidable, especially since it usually revolves around someone else having something you want (e.g. job, boyfriend/girlfriend, material things, etc.). One person can be genuinely happy for another yet feel a tinge of jealousy, as a result of their disappointment and/or insecurity. If not, it begs the question how much they really wanted whatever it is they now covet.
There are negative connotations associated with jealousy, which I believe is a result of how much people get caught up in their emotions, allowing them to become destructive. In any aspect, there’s an opportunity for jealousy to be used as a motivator to drive people to improve themselves. Following one of my examples above – if two friends apply for a job and only one gets it, the other may become jealous. That feeling could become so strong that it causes them to sabotage their friend’s success (destructive). On the other hand, if they don’t allow jealousy to distract them in that way, they’ll be able to evaluate why their friend was seen as the better choice and improve themselves accordingly (motivator). Either way, it’s difficult to make a blanket statement about jealousy, one way or another.
©2021 CSNelson, Don’t Forget the Half