Communication is subject to some factors. Apart from the usual determinants that include the message, sender, receiver and the medium of communication, the communication process is also subject to other psychological and social problems such as competitive jealousy. According to Beecher and Willard, competitive jealousy is defined as the habitual comparison or the unfriendly comparison that individuals have when they compare themselves to others around them. In the Biblical story of Abel and Cain, Cain is depicted as always being jealous of his brother. While Abel would keep sheep, his brother Cain would till the land (Beecher and Willard 15). During their sacrifices to the Lord, Cain, therefore, would offer fruits harvested from the land he tilled while Abel would sacrifice sheep. Although the Bible is not clear about what transpired between Abel and Cain once they were in the field, it is obvious that Cain was emotional to the extent that he murdered his brother in a rage.
Competitive jealousy is a major barrier to effective communication and successful relationships. This is because it limits the ability of people to think and act logically. Additionally, people who engage in competitive jealousy often fail to see their success and only desire to do achieve what others have achieved. This is evident in the story of Cain and Abel whereby the man had nothing to be jealous about. Once a man was created, the Bible states that it was in the likeness of God. He was also given a simple instruction of being faithful and reproducing both as humans and in the Garden of Eden. However, trouble began when people began competing about the importance of their contributions to God. Although it may not be clear what Abel told Cain, it is obvious that Cain was often engaging in competitive jealousy with his brother, Abel. By dwelling so much on how well his brother was doing, Cain ended up committing a mortal sin. With better communication, Cain may have been able to improve his offering to make acceptable to the Lord.
During my childhood days, I managed to make two good friends within my block. During the holiday season, my friends would often come to my house where we would spend the days playing video games. Despite being my friends, one would not commit to helping me with my maths assignment especially when I was facing an increasingly hard time in understanding the concept. Despite failing to help me, the friend would always turn up to play video games at my house. One day, I gathered enough courage to ask why they my friends would not help me out with my academic problems. One of them confessed that academics is the only thing they performed better than me. Therefore, helping me would make me better than them and probably end out friendship. Unfortunately, our friendship was strained since then and ended as soon as we progressed to the next grade.
A jealous person is never content with anything since he feels that others have what he deserves. In teams, a jealous person may be passive or disregard the views of others since he/she believes in being more important and capable than everyone else. Therefore, he is always trying to put others down since he believes that it is the only way for him to feel better about himself. It is therefore likely that Cain's sacrifice may have been rejected since it was not the best or that he did not exert enough effort when tilling the ground. It is also likely that he spends his time watching what Abel was doing instead of tilling the land. This may help in understanding why Cain's offerings were not accepted by God. In other instances, jealousy may begin when parents show the preference for one child over the other. While parents may do this unconsciously, their comments tend to influence the relationship that siblings have with each other.
In my experience with my two friends, our friendship ended simply because they were jealous and insecure about the material things that my parents provided for me. Although jealousy is often associated with relationships especially between lovers, it is worth noting that jealousy exists in all relationships. While all relationships among human beings tend to have some degree of jealousy, the habitual comparison, and unfriendly comparisons ruin relationships and cooperation between human beings (Beecher and Willard 18).
Jealousy often presents itself in the form of aggressive behavior or passive communication (Beecher and Willard 13). Jealousy also tends to destroy people from within as people spend most of their time desiring what others have or devising ways to destroy other people. When a person is mature, responsible and self-reliant, he/she feels no need to be jealous since he is content with his achievements and success. A mature person also acknowledges his weaknesses and learns to deal with them.
Courage and self-confidence
According to the Adlerian Theory, one's behavior tends to affect others in one way or the other. Eva Dreikurus talks of one's purposivenss, holism and social interest (Ferguson). People strive to belong in social circles. Often, one has to be able to cooperate with others to belong. Cooperation requires confidence, trust, and courage. When one has no social interest, it becomes impossible to cooperate with others. Additionally, the lack of self-confidence and courage results in fear and a feeling of inferiority especially since one does not trust his/ her abilities to work well with others or perform a specific task. Due to fear, people may opt to stay away from social events to avoid being in uncomfortable positions with other people who may seem confidence in such environments.
Courage has generally been described as the lack of fear. However, courage often requires people to trust their capabilities to perform certain tasks or to do certain things without second-guessing themselves. This does not necessarily mean that courageous people do not have fears (Ferguson). In most instances such as committing in relationships, people often have their concerns. However, they still choose to commit since they believe that the relationship is worth it. Furthermore, courage does not always mean that one has to be confident in all situations. Indeed, one may be confident in schoolwork but afraid to commit in relationships.
When I first moved to a new school during my junior years, I found it increasingly hard to work well with others. This is because I had no friends in the school and most of the other students seemed to have found their identity. This made it hard for me to establish exactly where I belonged. Additionally, I transferred when the years had already begun, meaning that most students had established groups that they would be working in during the rest of the year. To avoid confronting the situation, I would walk with my earphones on and pass everyone else on the halls.
Although I was desperate to have friends, I lacked the courage to make the first move. One day during a maths lesson, the teacher gave out assignments that required us to work in groups. That group gave me my first friends in the school. To date, I still communicate with my former teammates since they ended up being the best friends I could have asked for. They helped me find an identity in the school, making that year one of my best years in the school.
Self- confidence also comes from self-reliance, which should be holistic regarding emotional, mental and physical perspectives. Therefore, having supportive friends can help one gain confidence. On the other hand, lack of confidence in one's abilities often leads to unhealthy competition or complete avoidance. Similarly, rivalry, emanating from competition among siblings, is often neglected while most parents accept such rivalry as a normal part of growing up. However, failure to deal with such rivalry can lead to disruption of any cooperation within the household as well as bad relationships between the siblings.
To be confident in oneself, it is crucial to have a sense of worth. This is known as the self-esteem. Self-esteem is often the sense of self-worth whereby an individual believes that he/she has some degree of value. In turn, self-worth increases one's self-esteem. The level of one's self-esteem determines how valuable one considers him/ herself to be (McKay and Fanning 11). However, some people end up with significantly low self-esteem since they are often judging themselves and never accepting themselves. Such people are also likely to indulge in competitive jealousy identified by Willard and Marguerite.
From an early age, parents play a crucial role in developing the self-esteem of their children. As such, some people have high self-esteem determined by their looks or academic performance. While positive criticism may help children develop differentiating between right and wrong, constantly criticising children can affect their ability to develop high self-esteem that plays an important role in their social life (McKay and Fanning 11).
Low self-esteem usually results when people do not like the circumstances surrounding them. Circumstances may include one's heights or looks or the fact a person never attained a high school diploma. Therefore, some of these circumstances may be easy to change while others such as height may not be possible to change. Rather than trying o change one's circumstances, one can change his/ her self-esteem for circumstances to change. A person who may be suffering from self-pity due to failure to complete college may fail to get a job in an interview. Rather than going back to college, such a person could develop confidence and manage to get the job altogether (McKay and Fanning 11). Further, research indicates that self-esteem and an individual's circumstances have an indirect relationship. This is because self-esteem is often driven by one's thoughts.
During my junior years, the greatest challenge was fitting in especially since I felt different in many ways. From the type of car that my parents drove to the kind of clothes that I wore, I always felt that other students were better off. Therefore, I often avoided social functions unless the 'cool kids' were not throwing the party. I managed to make friends who I identified with regarding their background, academic performance and interests. Through such friends, I was able to protect myself from ridicule especially in social functions. However, my self-esteem rose when we did a science project that helped us win above everyone else. Since then, I began feeling good about myself and ended up attending more social functions and making more friends.
Individuals with low self-esteem often find it hard to develop relationships or thrive in social settings. Often, such individuals have a fear of being lesser than everyone else. As explained above, this can lead to competitive jealousy since people with low self-esteem often feel inferior, regardless of their achievements. Although thoughts are the main determinants of one's self-esteem, circumstances may also play a role. Self-esteem problems may be either characterological or situational. In situational problems, an individual tends to have low self-esteem in some areas while the same individual is confident in other areas (McKay and Fanning 15). In my case, the self-esteem problem was based on my characteristics.
Since self-esteem is mostly about thoughts than it is about circumstances, individuals suffering from low self-esteem should learn to deal with the critic inside their heads (McKay and Fanning 18). Once I learned to trust my abilities to do what I wanted rather than do what others wanted me to do, I was able to build my self-esteem to the level that I can help others feel better about themselves.
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