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Are My feelings Jealousy and Envy, Please Help?

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Aug 20, 2017

Question

Assalamu'alaykum. Regarding my previous question about confidence and arrogance, I thank you so much for clearing the matters to me. This in an extra question because I feel like I want an explanation from you. I am very happy with the talent Allah has blessed me and it makes me feel like I have something special. In some occasions, I feel jealous of what people have, but I'm grateful enough for what Allah gave me. Sometimes when I see other people can make a better poetry or make a better painting, etc., I would think that I want to be that good so I am motivated to do more. Does this mean that I feel superior from other people? What should I do? Please be patient in explaining it to me. Jazakallah.

Counselor

Answer


Jealousy

In this counseling answer:

“I encourage you to examine your feelings more closely sister, perhaps by keeping a journal of your thoughts and reactions in these situations.  Also, write down why you feel a certain way.  For example, your friend wrote a very good poem and won an award.  Do you feel happy for her-if so why?  Or do you feel angry and upset?  Write down at least 4 reasons why you feel this way and examine in the light of your own self-esteem as well as in terms of fairness.  Also, examine the character and ways of our beloved Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), how would he feel and respond in this situation?”


As salamu alaykum,

Thank you for writing to us. I would kindly ask dear sister that you analyze what you are feeling. For instance, when you say you feel  “Jealous” does that mean you feel anger towards that person and wish they did not have that talent or attribute? Or does it mean that you admire them and seek to attain the level of ability that they have?  Sister, there is nothing wrong with seeing a good thing and striving to attain that level of skill or goodness.

For instance, perhaps you were to see a sister who was always doing charitable acts in the community out of the goodness in her heart.  You may think”oh she is so kind and loving and helps others, I wish to strive to do these things as well for the sake of Allah and because I care to make a difference and help others” or you could think “who does she think she is?  I can do better than her…”

Or if you see someone who produces an excellent piece of poetry (as you described) do you feel inspired and curious and want to learn different styles and techniques from this person and use the experience as a learning tool, or do you feel angry at the person and feel you can do it better? These illustrations are the difference between jealous and envy versus inspiration and appreciation.  This will also help you determine if you are acting out of arrogance or out of true appreciation and inspiration.

I encourage you to examine your feelings more closely sister, perhaps by keeping a journal of your thoughts and reactions in these situations.  Also, write down why you feel a certain way.  For example, your friend wrote a very good poem and won an award.  Do you feel happy for her-if so why?  Or do you feel angry and upset?  Write down at least 4 reasons why you feel this way and examine them in the light of your own self-esteem as well as in terms of fairness.  Also, examine the character and ways of our beloved Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), how would he feel and respond in this situation?

By keeping a journal of your reactions and feelings this will  insha’Allah aid you better in determining what exactly it is you are feeling and why. It will also help you to see areas which you need to work on such as self-esteem issues, anger issues as well as abilities in communication such as expressing appreciation for what others have or can do.

This is an important sister as everyone can use encouragement and appreciation for their efforts and skills.  When you do something good, such as complete a difficult task, or write an exceptional piece of poetry, isn’t it always nice to hear “what a wonderful piece of poetry, that really inspired me” or “ wow, that was great, how did you create such an appealing flow with difficult words?”

Sister, we are all born with special gifts, skills, and talents.  Some people naturally flow with their talents as they were nurtured along the way.  Others have a harder time.  This does not make one better than another.  It just means that we all need to encourage one another as we all have skills to learn and develop, some more so than others.   What also matters,  is that we utilize these gifts in a positive manner.

Some people have not yet learned about their talents and gifts or have been put down and told they are useless thus they have not stepped into their full abilities because of low self-esteem and self-doubt.  There is nothing wrong in seeing a good thing and striving to attain to that level of goodness sister, as long as it is for the right reasons.

Again, if you keep a journal of your reactions and feelings, this will  insha’Allah aid you in determining if you are feeling jealous/envious or your are coming from a place of true appreciation and inspiration. It is my feeling you are truly admiring and appreciating the work of others and seek to improve your skills.

This is a good thing sister because this is a place of feeling wherein inspiration to do better comes from.  As Muslims, we should all see the gifts and talents in our sisters and brothers, be happy for them, learn from them and strive to do better.  Life is a continual process of learning and growing.  If you are happy for others abilities and achievements, you will find much greater happiness in yourself as well!

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

 

Read more:

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Jealousy & Backbiting: I Want to Change Myself

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About Aisha Mohammad-Swan

Aisha Mohammad-Swan received her PhD in psychology in 2000. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York with a focus on PTSD, OCD, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, and Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach. She is currently studying for her certification in Islamic Chaplaincy, and takes Islamic courses at SHC. Aisha works at a Women's Daytime Drop in Center, and has her own part-time practice in which she integrates counseling and holistic health. Aisha also received an MA in Public Health/Community Development in 2009 and plans to open a community counseling/resource center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah.

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