CYNERGY: Go green? Not this time

Cynthia Burton
Cynthia Burton

In this time of important and often debated ecological matters and sustainable energy discussions, you’ve no doubt heard the battle cry “Go green!” Personally, I’m all for going green. I celebrated Earth Day and I believe global warming is in full swing. However, may I educate you on a time NOT to “go green?” The time is always and the subject is jealousy. You know, the green-eyed monster?

Why do we feel jealous? Some therapists regard it as a scar of childhood trauma or a symptom of a psychological problem. Jealousy has been observed in babies as young as five months. People who feel insecure, inadequate or overly dependent exude jealous tendencies more so than others. Jealousy is a waste of time. While you’re worrying and obsessing with the person you are envious of, he or she is continuing on their merry way, either oblivious to your green-eyed spite, ignoring it, laughing about it or luxuriating in it. We expend much time and energy lending credence to this neurotic insecurity. Jealousy can shake you to your very core. Its sole mission is to destroy self-esteem and instill self-doubt.

Jealousy is believed to be coined by none other than Shakespeare, in "The Merchant of Venice," wherein Portia laments: “ … as doubtful thoughts and rash-embraced despair, and shuddering fear, and green-eyed jealousy!” In 1604, Shakespeare’s "Othello" alludes to cats as green-eyed monsters, in that they play with mice before killing them. Iago (in "Othello") states: “O, beware my lord, jealousy is the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on.” Shakespeare eloquently described this monstrosity. It feeds on your inadequacy. It chews you up and spits you out. It can swallow you whole.

Wikipedia states: Sometimes defined as a series of particularly strong emotions and constructed as a universal human experience, it has been a theme of many artistic works. What triggers jealousy? Do you find yourself coveting another’s wardrobe, a bubbly personality, honor roll children, attractiveness, cars, mansion, jewels or yacht? Their successful plastic surgery or how many plastic (credit) cards they flaunt? Success, wealth, power, prestige? Jealousy manifests itself in art as depicted in paintings and films (remember the movies “Mean Girls” and “Phantom of the Opera”? The song “Jealous” by Nick Jonas? Cain killed his brother Abel because he was jealous his father favored Abel. It seems to be everywhere and to a degree, in everyone.

Psychologists say jealousy can either be suspicious or reactive. I say it’s malicious and active. Get the monkey off your back and the chip off your shoulder. The one you envy just may be envying you. And you don’t want to lower yourself to their level. As my beloved father used to advise: “Buckle down!” Readers, conquer your perceived inadequacies, and slay the green-eyed monster!

Cynthia Burton is a Destin resident and former U.S. Marine.