December 2015 By Megha Bajaj A session with young children on jealousy opened up a series of insights for Megha Bajaj Sometimes I wish that in all schools, along with math and science, languages and arts, there was a subject called emotions. After all, our inner world is what creates the outer world, and yet most education is focussed on facts, information and formulae. I love teaching children about emotions as and when I get the opportunity. Recently, I had a class where I asked children to write about what made them happy, and what made them unhappy. A young eight-year-old had written, “I feel unhappy when my best friend gets more marks than me in exams.” It opened the door to a wonderful discussion. I asked them if any of them knew what jealousy was. They came up with some sentences – all adding up to: jealousy means you feel sad or bad when someone else gets something that you want, or someone else does something better than you. I then asked, “But what does jealousy do to us?” One of them came up with the answer, “It makes us feel very bad!” Another one said, “It spoils relationships!” Yet another one said, “It makes us feel that we are not good enough.” One of them then concluded: “So jealousy only leads to bad things, Ma’am, so should we stop feeling jealous? But how?” Aha! Million-dollar question. Fact of the matter is, so many of us never really stop feeling jealous. The people we feel jealous of may change, the intensity with which we feel may change but even when they are much older, and even wiser, they still cannot celebrate others or their success with all their heart. I didn’t have an immediate answer so I didn’t give one. I told them that we would discuss it further in the next class. That entire week I thought about this emotion – in me, in others and objectively like a subject, and I realised a few things. Replace the word jealous with inspiration. While jealousy is inherently negative, inspiration is positive and pulls you up My guru had once said, “Replace the word jealous with inspiration. While jealousy is inherently negative, inspiration is positive and pulls you up.” I realized that jealousy makes me feel less than another, whereas inspiration makes me feel good that someone had done this or achieved that and makes me feel that I too can do it. So the very first step is to change the vocabulary from jealousy to inspiration. The second step was an inherent realization. Just because I am jealous of someone for having something I want, I cannot have it. But I can be the best I can be, and hope to attract some wonderful experiences for myself. Jealousy repels. Inspiration attracts. The third realization was that even people whose life seems perfect have their own set of challenges. There is no perfectly perfect life. Instead of focussing on what others have, can we focus on our own lives? Our self-discovery and exploration would automatically reduce the time we waste in watching the lives of others. A simple three-step formulae came into my mind for my child. 1) Replace the word jealousy with inspiration. 2) Consider if jealousy is productive 3) Focus so much on your own life that you won’t have time for the lives of others. How beautiful is the world of learning – often the one teaching learns the most. I smile, as I wait to meet my little teachers. About the author : Megha is, above all, a seeker. These days she is attempting to find herself in the role of a teacher through the online writing course designed by her. You can know more about her on www.wonderofwords.org Megha is, above all, a seeker. These days she is attempting to find herself in the role of a teacher through the online writing course designed by her. You can know more about her on www.wonderofwords.org
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