Someone with whom I share an exclusive relationship decides to make it semi-exclusive. This hurts. Sometimes fleeting, sometimes deep. But is this hurt due to the shift of allegiance/love/companionship/friendship(?) causing a void in our lives? or is it due to the shift making a statement about our worth?

I have always claimed that having a richer life leads to lesser jealousy. This seems intuitively appealing to me, and further, if I ponder about it in the light of the above questions, it rings true as well. A richer life leads to voids being filled up again, quickly. A richer life gives us a good measure of self-worth that is hard to dent by one person. But is it this simple always? Can we define ‘richer’ lives for ourselves easily enough?

Consider this other deeper form of jealousy: someone specific doesn’t have to shift to someone else to evoke this feeling. I could realize myself that someone else is better than me at something. A classic example would be from Abhimaan, where a random photographer makes Subir cringe. Or take Salieri’s stinging jealousy-ridden admiration of Mozart from Amadeus. Though both movies don’t truly redeem the inflicted person, they do showcase the jealousy through some brilliant acting (and direction of course).

Does a richer life help here? What is a richer life in this context? Could Salieri define his life with anything other than his music? What if someone is better at something that I have devoted my entire life for? Does it matter? Here, I cannot even say that “it shouldn’t”. I don’t know. I have not defined my life around one concept for it to hit me that hard. What if a person I have devoted my life to goes away? Is the hurt this time again because of the void she creates? Or is it a statement about what I am in totality?

Does (philosophical) rationalization help? The gap between thought and emotion persists. But over the years, I have felt the gap reduce. The more it reduces the more I can rationalize, and the lesser I get hurt. But on the flip side, the more the gap reduces, fewer things make me happy (to a lesser extent that too). Ironically, the symmetry between happiness and sadness makes me happy. Strange neh?