The Fat Kid: A Story About Jealousy
The following chapter is from the Armani Archives - Soft Skills Edition
Have you ever taken the time to look into jealousy?
We hear about the word & understand it is an emotion, but let’s look a little deeper.
The best way to understand the emotion is by taking a walk down memory lane.
23 years ago, I was living in Bangladesh.
And I remember going to school.
Well, there is one particular memory that sticks out.
This was my first day going to school.
My mom & dad prepped me, but I wasn’t ready for it.
At the time, I was just a trouble-making kid who wanted to hang out with his friends & play hide n seek.
Your boy didn’t want to sit in some classroom and learn.
I remember when I got into class, I was immediately alarmed by how small it was.
A crowded room of kids my age, a hot room & poor lighting.
And to make matters worse, almost all the chairs were taken…
There was one chair open next to the wall right by this one kid.
This kid was fat as hell.
And me sitting there would require me to be sandwiched between the wall and this fellow.
But I had no choice.
So, I sat down right next to him.
Immediately, I could feel this guy’s presence.
He smelled like shit & was very loud.
Anytime he would move his body, he would make a grunting noise.
What was more annoying was that this kid kept rubbing shoulders with me.
Throughout the day, I was showing all the signs of annoyed body language.
I was sighing, rolling my eyes, & doing some grunt moves as well.
But this kid had no clue.
He was just carrying on & behaving like a pig.
What really irked me was my teacher.
She was some lady in her 30s who kept circling around the class.
You would expect her to notice how I annoyed I was, right?
She kept coming to the fat dude and asking him how his day was going.
She kept inquiring if he was okay and if he needed anything.
By the time she would past me, she would simply smile & keep it moving.
What kind of clown universe is this?
I am the one getting agitated by this fat clown.
And you’re over here acting like I don’t even exist.
Whatsup with that?
Needless to say, I was very JEALOUS of this fat kid.
Few months went by & I eventually ended up switching seats.
But my jealousy for the kid never went away.
There was one time he tried talking to me after class, but I completely ignored him.
Didn’t like the guy whatsoever.
Someone told me that he may have had a medical issue, which was why the teacher kept checking up on him.
But my primal brain was so jealous that I completely neglected to follow up.
I continued to live in my bubble that this kid was my enemy.
Unique, isn’t it?
The emotion of jealousy was never taught.
No one formally told me to give this kid the cold shoulder.
But I just did it because I felt the emotion & reacted.
23 years later, I went back to that memory to make sense of it.
Why did I behave like that?
It’s because I was jealous of the kid.
Why was I jealous of the kid?
Because he got attention from my teacher while I was ignored.
The more I made sense of that incident, the more I was able to learn something about jealousy:
- If you want to leverage it, you must clarify it.
My kid self simply reacted to the emotion & treated it like it was reality.
But my adult self aimed to go thru the layers until the emotion could be explained with rationale.
You can do the same when you are feeling jealous.
Simple Jealousy Formula:
- You feel an emotional response of jealousy.
- You need to keep questioning the emotional response until you have your aha moment.
Why am I jealous?
Because I want attention.
Why do I want attention?
Because I want to feel important.
Why can’t I make myself feel important, why do I need someone else to do that for me?
Aha! Good point!!
Jealousy will give you a lot of your eureka moments.
In the level up world, we use jealousy as a compass & a vehicle for growth.
Compass: it helps identify a weak spot in your life.
Vehicle: you place attention to that weak spot & make magic happen.
Unfortunately, many people never grow past their kid self.
They simply see a fat kid taking up their space, get ignored by their teacher & let jealousy corrode them from within.
Well, maybe not that exact situation, but you get the point!
- What have I been holding onto?
Path 1: Have I been reacting to jealousy (giving the fat kid the cold shoulder)?
Path 2: Have I been responding to the jealousy (asking why questions until reaching the root cause)?
Your response & behavior will represent your emotional intelligence.
And your emotional intelligence will determine your level of happiness.
So pick wisely.
For More Tips to Improve EQ, Checkout the Armani Archives!