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  • Writer's picturegailphilip4

Jealous? Of what?

Envy or jealousy is alive and well. One of the so-called 7 deadly sins, it is specifically mentioned as one of the 10 commandments: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his servant, nor...”.

Our forefathers were very wise to warn against envy. It is evil and pernicious. It can be a very debilitating state of mind. It can drive people to crazy actions. Envious comparisons can make you miserable. “How can I be happy?” complained the owner of a luxury yacht as he pointed to an even bigger even more luxurious yacht moored nearby. Keeping up with the Jones’s can be a very expensive business, both in financial and mental health terms.

The truth is that you will always find someone else who seems to have a better deal in life. Someone of whom you could be jealous – if you choose. Maybe it is their money, or their family, or their job, or their self-confidence, or their health, or...? These comparisons can be, however, very superficial. Everyone will have their own issues and problems – if not now, then in the future. Life is not that endlessly perfect – even for those at the top of the pile. You might be jealous of a lottery winner, but we all know that a lottery win is as likely in the long run to bring unhappiness as it is to bring joy. You might be jealous of your neighbour. You might be surprised to learn that he/she is jealous of you!

A positive feature of the lock-down is that it has had a levelling effect. Whether you are rich or poor you are limited in what you can do. Nobody is able to take a luxury holiday, nobody can go out for an expensive meal (or even a cheap meal at McDonalds), nobody can go to a show or concert, etc, etc. In these circumstances there is less reason for FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) or envy/jealousy. FOMO, by the way, is a close cousin to what some people have called ‘Comparison sickness’.

So this might be good time to “calm down”, so to speak. To free ourselves from FOMO or Comparison sickness. If we can live without this debilitating condition for the duration of the lockdown, we can live without it beyond then. Perhaps we might even add a few years to our lives as we have no need to worry about comparisons.

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