Can a person be resentful, jealous, and happy simultaneously? Jealousy results from feeling vulnerable. It is the result of a person believing they are worthless and inadequate. The perception is that everyone else lives a better life, has more possessions, and has more success.
In the tragic play Othello, Shakespeare coined “The green-eyed monster.” He used the word to personify jealousy. The green-eyed monster bit Othello because of his jealousy if his wife looked at another man.
Jealousy and resentment, although distinct emotions, share a complex relationship.
Jealousy often stems from insecurity, fear, or anxiety over an anticipated loss of something of great personal value, particularly about a human connection. For example, a person might feel jealous if they perceive a threat to their relationship due to their partner’s interest in someone else.
What is problematic about jealousy is the risk of sabotaging an intimate relationship by constantly complaining about what the partner is doing, regardless of how much reassurance is given. In addition, you regularly think about ending this relationship. Whether you do or not, you will continue to experience the same types of feelings in the next relationship. Also, this will continue from one relationship to the next.
Resentment involves anger or bitterness from perceived unfair treatment, harm, or wrongdoing. Individuals might resent if they sense they are harmed or feel others are inferring a status or advantage they do not possess. There is a beautiful quote from Buddha about anger. “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal intending to throw it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” Unfortunately, there are people known as injustice collectors. Not only do they continue to hold on to the negative past, but they view every incident in the present as another example of how unfair life is to them.
The connection between these two emotions arises because both involve a sense of perceived inequality or unfairness. If jealousy is left unresolved and continues to fester, it can mature into resentment. For instance, if a person is consistently jealous because they feel they aren’t getting the attention they deserve in a relationship, this may turn into resentment towards the other party in the connection who is not providing the attention.
These emotions perpetuate a negative cycle, leading to emotional distress and further straining relationships.
In Othello, Shakespeare explores a range of human emotions, including jealousy and resentment, which drive significant plot developments and tragic endings. Iago warns Othello, “O, beware, my lord of jealousy. It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock.” Iago is warning Othello to beware of jealousy.
It takes shape after Othello’s trusted ensign, Iago, manipulates him into believing his beloved wife, Desdemona, is unfaithful to his lieutenant, Cassio. Othello, once seen as dignified and rational, descends into a blind, destructive jealousy that results in him killing Desdemona and, ultimately, himself.
This irrational jealousy indicates how intense and consuming emotions can have disastrous consequences if left unchecked.
Resentment is another crucial theme that drives most of Iago’s actions. Throughout the play, Iago harbors Resentment against Othello for promoting Michael Cassio, who he considers less experienced, over him. This perceived injustice, combined with rumors that Othello may have slept with his wife Emilia, fuels his hatred and resentment. He avenges himself by exploiting the very trust that Othello has placed in him, thereby sowing the seeds of jealousy in Othello’s mind.
In a broader sense, these themes expose the play’s critical exploration of how external influence can manipulate personal insecurities, leading to destructive actions and tragic consequences.
Shakespeare’s powerful portrayal of jealousy and resentment in “Othello” serves a cautionary purpose by highlighting how these emotions can lead to irrational behaviors, self-destruction, and the ruin of others.
One definition of happiness is that a person has a sense of well-being. That includes a belief that life is meaningful and has a purpose. In addition, an individual experiences such emotions as joy, pride, and contentment. Nobody feels these emotions all the time. Overall, the happy person experiences emotional stability.
Therefore, the answer to the initial question is no; a person cannot be filled with envy, jealousy, and resentment and simultaneously be happy.