Jealousy is the emotion that threatens a person’s peace of mind. It is the pain one feels from someone else’s attention or affection for their loved ones.
Jealousy can be horrible and can seem inevitable as we habitually compare ourselves to others, and unruly emotions are hard to tame.
What is more, jealousy can seem valuable when viewed dispassionately.
What is bad about wanting to retain valued affections? Aren’t we suspicious of people who claim not to feel jealous? Some philosophers echo these sentiments in their defenses of jealousy, suggesting that jealousy is integral to playful relationships, is an erotic catalyst,
expresses care, prevents indifference, and promotes reflection.
Although occasional episodes of jealousy might have these benefits, jealousy should not be cultivated as a character trait. Many outbursts of jealousy are volatile and can fuel blame, anger, paralyze reflection, and make us feel pathetic. Much has to go right if jealousy is to be beneficial.
More worryingly, there is evidence that connects jealousy with aggression and manipulation, and so any instrumental benefits of jealousy have to be weighed against the risk of these harmful behaviors. The avoidance of harm takes priority in close relationships because intimacy can exacerbate cruelty.
Finally, jealousy is useful as a signal of care only because we struggle to understand and communicate our emotions within intimate relationships.
BY SHAMSIYA BARA’U AHMED