Green eyed monsters

people face child eye

I can’t remember the last time I was jealous of an object. But what I deal with more often than I care to admit is jealousy of experience. I can’t justify that kind of jealousy more than any other; what makes matters worse is it’s slightly harder to control. I feel jealousy of objects is a different issue; if you have a thing I want, I can usually work hard or earn money so I can get that thing for myself. I can’t earn a different personal history.

From my perspective, my life can be difficult sometimes, but I endeavour to be hyper-aware of my own possible bias. So I whenever I think my life is harder than someone else’s, I try to remember it’s also very different to everyone else’s. I have to remember what I’ve said before: that pain is relative; something difficult for me may seem fine for someone else, and something painful for someone else may not seem like an issue to me. On one occasion I was feeling sad and wanted to talk to my friend to feel better. She was busy doing homework and said she couldn’t give me that time. I got pretty angry that she thought that her work was more important than my wellbeing, until I considered this question: “What if it is? Why do I think I’m more important? I don’t know what’s going on in her life, her homework may be the most important thing in her life right now, and I wanted her to disrupt that just to help me”. That set me off down a rabbit hole pondering subjectivity, pain, selfishness and entitlement; I came to some grounding realisations about myself.

Whenever I hear someone complaining about having to deal with some things I don’t have the privilege of experiencing myself, I get irrationally angry because they obviously don’t know real pain. But that’s ridiculous, of course they do! They may be feeling worse pain than me but I can’t tell because I don’t know everything. I don’t have an internal database of levels of pain. A paper cut may hurt to one person but that pain is basically nothing compared to that of a broken bone. The problem is that neither person knows how much pain the other is in. That’s just physical pain. Emotional pain is far more complicated.

Divorce for example has vastly varied levels of pain. Some people are absolutely shattered when their parents separate, some are relieved that they don’t have to listen to the fighting anymore, others can’t remember what life was like before the split and still others fall anywhere else in the spectrum.

I used to get jealous of people at my church who get to attend regularly/whenever they want, I would give many things to have that. But they might not see this as a privilege – people often don’t see why anyone would be jealous of something they know to be a norm.

I even got jealous of parental methods! Even I can see that’s crazy! I would envy the ways people are raised and taught to behave; those with more ‘lax rules and open minded family especially. But there are some aspects of my upbringing that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I have to remember that God chose my life to happen in the way it has, and since he only gives good gifts I have to trust that his choices are always right. There was a reason I was raised in the way I was with the people around me that I have. I have to learn to trust God with my life and not be jealous of his choices for others. God gave me challenges so that I would overcome them; my challenges aren’t the same as anyone else’s but I can’t say they’re easier or harder than the rest of the world’s.

Think about God’s purpose for you. Why did he put you on Earth at this time and in this place? Why were you brought up believing certain rules and morals? I tell you, it is because it was His perfect will. He has a mission for each person on Earth; we must trust that He is paving the way for us to achieve it. Pray that He will help you rise above jealousy and thank Him for the life he has blessed you with.

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