Jealousy- What is it and what happens if you have it?

Essay by boingyzainCollege, UndergraduateA+, May 2003

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"My wife's jealousy is getting ridiculous. The other day she looked at my calendar and wanted to know who May was," complains Rodney Dangerfield. Jealousy, defined as hostility toward one with an advantage, is a common but multifaceted emotion. Strong jealousy towards someone can show one of three things towards him or her: regard, contempt, or a feeling inferiority.

Respect towards someone is one positive outcome of jealousy. Quite often, when one feels jealousy, he or she wishes for an item or trait that someone else has. As a result, he or she respects the person with that item or trait. This respect is a common example of reverence, one of the few constructive effects caused by jealousy. Washington Irving once wrote "There is never jealousy where there is not strong regard," and it still holds true today.

The most common result of jealousy is disdain and hatred. When one sees someone with something he or she doesn't have, the obvious reaction is hatred and jealousy towards them.

The longing for that item or trait is enough to turn two people against each other, regardless of previous association. This fact makes jealousy a strong and powerful emotion that has a number of negative consequences also.

Finally, jealousy can cause an inferiority complex to some people. This consequence, seen most often with celebrities, is where one feels mediocre against someone else because he or she has some exceptional items or traits. This is neither a negative nor positive response; rather, it is a response that can harm the person feeling it due to low self-esteem or other causes.

Therefore, jealousy is an amalgamated emotion with many sides to it. Jealousy often leads to many things, including love, hate, or an inferiority complex, and thus is very complex and often...