When I initially joined Facebook about two years ago, I thought it was pretty fun. It was nice to reconnect with a bunch of people I’ve lost touch with over the years and to meet new ones along the way; childhood friends resurfaced, high school photos popped up, and business contacts were established. It seemed like it was a social lifesaver, that is, until I realized Facebook is simply littered with scandalously dressed individuals posing seductively and overusing their “Friend Request” option.
Somehow, I didn’t realize that sharing EVERYTHING has become the new norm and while I would love to say that I don’t have a problem with jealousy, I really, really do. I have received a number of friend requests from half dressed men wearing smiles and not much else, just like my husband, who’s received similar types of friend requests from the opposite sex. I really try to suppress my dislike of this kind of social media conduct, but jealousy is a rather burdening emotion making it somewhat difficult. And while it’s necessary for the overall human experience, I can really do without it on Facebook.
Despite how common jealousy is, it’s still poorly understood from a neurological standpoint. So far, we have relied on neuroimaging and case studies to dig deeper into this complicated and vexing emotion, yet its nature and origin remain elusive.
It has a lot of various components, some of which are false beliefs, moral judgments and misunderstandings. For example, when someone suffers from morbid jealousy, otherwise known as the Othello syndrome or delusional jealousy, the person is preoccupied with their partner’s infidelity despite having very little or no proof to substantiate their beliefs. It means their suspicions are fueled by obsessions, but what dictates those in the first place?
Sociologists have previously demonstrated that cultural beliefs, values and morals, play an instrumental role in determining what triggers and causes someone to become jealous. On the other hand, biologists and psychologists are still trying to identify the unconscious factors behind it. And since it is first observed in infants as young as 5 months old, the emotion is more complicated and primal than it first appears, it’s a more socially valid construct because infants are just beginning to get acquainted with society.
What I experience is not morbid jealousy; my jealousy is somewhat abstract, and I suppose, all too common. Really, it’s more like envy. Since what I feel is discontent that arises from my own insecurities, I find other peoples outward “flaunting” on the Internet rather peculiar and disagreeable. Still, jealousy and envy are closely tied together, and if I intend to Facebook in the future, I must make my peace with it. – by Liz Belilovskaya