Tag Archives: August McLaughin

Inner Beauty vs. the Ugliest of Emotions

by Kassandra Lamb

The-Beauty-of-a-Woman-BlogFest-V1-2

This post is part of the 2017 Beauty of a Woman Blogfest, sponsored by the wonderful August McLaughlin. Please go to her site to see the other great posts in this wonderful event—some are funny, some are serious, all are entertaining and informative.

Physical beauty has little to do with attractiveness for me. I’m much more focused on inner beauty. And inner beauty is emotional (and is reflected in the person’s body language). Is the person warm and kind and seems comfortable in their own skin, or are they tense and frowning?

As a psychologist, I am intimately acquainted with emotions. And I know that almost all of them have some value.

Fear tells us when our safety or our ability to get our needs met is being threatened. Anger gives us the courage to stand and fight against such threats. Joy, love and excitement tell us that our needs are currently being met, encouraging us to seek similar situations to those currently happening.

Even guilt and shame serve a purpose by providing a moral compass for our behavior.

But jealousy? I’m sorry, it’s just ugly and has no socially redeeming value.

Recently I’ve had two friends complain about jealousy. One, a male, said, “Why are women so conniving and competitive and jealous?” The other, a girlfriend, simply said, “Why are men so jealous?”

Their comments inspired this post for BOAW. Because honestly, I haven’t personally found women all that jealous or competitive or conniving.

Perhaps that’s because I’m not particularly physically beautiful. Oh don’t get me wrong, I don’t break mirrors. I’m a reasonably attractive woman, but I’m no beauty.

I’ve also rarely encountered jealousy in men. As I think about the issue, I’m concluding that this is because I tend to hang out with fairly confident people.

Jealousy is not a gender-specific trait. It has absolutely nothing to do with being male or female. Rather it has a lot to do with being insecure!

One avenue that insecure people may take is to put down, compete with, and feel jealousy or envy (jealousy’s kissing cousin) toward those they perceive as better than themselves. (See my recent post on healthy vs. unhealthy competitiveness.)

This is incredibly self-defeating, a total waste of psychic (and sometimes physical) energy.

But wait, let me break down jealousy a bit more. It actually has two emotional components—fear and anger.

We feel jealous when we fear that someone is threatening our ability to get our needs met. We then experience anger regarding this threat.

If we want to be mentally sane individuals, our first task when we feel jealous is to assess if the threat is real. Is there a REAL risk that someone might steal away the affections of someone important to us?

Jealousy is only a “helpful” emotion if it is truly warning us of an actual threat. If it is mainly our own insecurity talking, we need to deal with that within ourselves. We need to work on improving our own self-esteem so that we do not feel so easily threatened.

two birds fighting

I saw you coming on to that canary! (photo by Jen Smith CC-BY-SA 2.0 Wikimedia-Commons)

Once we’ve determined that the threat seems to be real, we need to assess where we can legitimately aim our anger about that threat. Should we direct it at the person important to us? Is he or she ACTUALLY showing an interest in someone else? Or is that someone else ACTUALLY attempting to steal his/her affections?

Let me give you two examples from my own life. I don’t always get it right, but these two times, I did.

Example One:
In my early twenties, I dated a guy who had a nasty habit. He had to comment on the attractiveness of every female who crossed his path. This behavior didn’t surface until we were supposedly dating exclusively.

More and more frequently, he would make references to the attractiveness of women passing by on the street, in very personal terms. “Hmm, I wouldn’t mind coming home to her” was one of his milder comments.

Of course these comments hurt. They made me feel jealous, scared that he would someday find one of these women preferable to me.

It all came to a head one day when a woman passing by, who happened to be a bit on the plain side, prompted him to comment that he wouldn’t “f**k” her unless he could put a bag over her head. This brought home to me the absurdity of his behavior. This woman was oblivious to his presence, so it certainly wasn’t her fault that he was commenting on her attractiveness or lack thereof.

HE was the problem. HE deserved my wrath, not the women he ogled on a regular basis. So I dumped him.

Example Two:
My husband and I had been married just a few years when he told me about a woman at work who was going through a rough divorce. “Why do women confide in me about this stuff?” he asked.

“Because you’re a nice guy, and a good listener,” I replied.

A few weeks later, he came home from work more than a little agitated. He reported that this woman (we’ll call her Jezebel 😉 ) had asked him if he was, quote, “getting enough,” and did he want to go out for a “nooner.”

My sweet husband was concerned that Jezebel was fragile due to her recent divorce. He wanted my advice on how to gently let her know that while he was willing to listen to her woes, he wasn’t interested in having an affair with her.

Can you imagine the array of feelings I was experiencing? I quickly attempted to evaluate the situation. One, I figured if he was telling me about all this, then he wasn’t the least bit tempted by this woman.

So I had no reason to be afraid, and, two, no way did he deserve my anger.

This is the most common mistake people make with jealousy. They direct the anger over the threat toward their loved one, rather than toward the one who is actually presenting the threat. Which can all too often lead to the very thing they’re afraid of, a disruption in that important relationship.

Once I was clear that my anger should be directed at Jezebel, for daring to step into my territory and try to take my man, I had to decide what to do with that anger. First, I put my therapist hat on and responded to my husband’s desire to be a nice guy. I suggested several possible approaches he could use to back her off gently.

“And if none of those things work,” I then said, “you can tell her that if she doesn’t leave you alone, your wife will come down to the office and rip her eyes out!”

My husband gave me a very startled look. “The first few suggestions were the therapist talking,” I said. “Now your wife is talking. Tell her to find her own man. You’re taken!”

I felt much better after that. 🙂

Getting back to more recent events, my male friend’s relationship ended over his girlfriend’s jealousy. She freaked out because she saw another woman as her competition (even though he wasn’t interested in that woman) and she put him in a damned-if-he-did-damned-if-he-didn’t position. So he decided to opt out of the relationship, and I couldn’t blame him.

But I did try to set him straight about the gender thing.

What are your thoughts? Have you seen more jealousy in men or in women? How have you dealt with the fear and anger of jealousy?

To read some other wonderful posts about the Beauty of a Woman, click over to August’s site and see the list of funny, entertaining, interesting, serious posts.

Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She is the author of the Kate Huntington psychological suspense series, set in her native Maryland, and a new series, the Marcia Banks and Buddy cozy mysteries, set in Central Florida.

We blog here at misterio press once (sometimes twice) a week, usually on Tuesdays. Sometimes we talk about serious topics, and sometimes we just have some fun.

Please follow us so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun! (We do not lend, sell nor otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses. 🙂 )

HERE’S A LITTLE SUNSHINE ON A FRIDAY!!

SunshineAward-ORIGINAL

The lovely Jennifer Jensen blessed me with the Sunshine Award. (She mistakenly said that I blog at Writers in the Storm. I wish I were part of that wonderful group of writers, but alas I am not.)

But I’m not giving the award back! It’s mine!

Before I answer the questions, etc. for this fun little meme I’d like to be serious for a moment. A blogger/writer friend, Susie Lindau (The Wild Ride) is always passing along positive energy. Today she needs some of ours. She’s in surgery. If you check out her latest post you’ll see why.

So a bunch of us decided to post this message: Susie Strong, we’re thinking of you! {{{HUGS}}}

Now on to spreading sunshine!

The rules of the Sunshine Award are:
•    Include the award’s logo in a post on your blog. (DONE)
•    Link to the person who nominated you. (DONE)
•    Answer the 10 questions below. (About to do so.)
•    Pass the award on to ten (or however many you want) “Sunshine inspiring” bloggers. (Thrilled to do so.)

Favorite color: It’s always been blue, any and every shade of blue. A close second is peach. In this case, other shades won’t do. It can’t be orange. It has to be peach!

picture of palomino horse

This was taken the day I bought her. Isn’t she gorgeous!

Favorite animal: Horses. I don’t ride much now but I had a small horse farm for twelve years. I had a palomino, Ardilla, who was the sweetest creature. She and I were like one when I was on her back. But she got old and eventually died, and somehow riding wasn’t the same anymore. She’s been dead for a decade and I still carry her picture in my wallet.

Favorite number: At the moment it’s five, for sure. Because I’m about to release my fifth book! Yay!

Favorite non-alcoholic drink: I live in the South now so it’s gotta be iced tea!! But I can’t quite develop a taste for sweet tea. My tea is more “not tart” tea.

Favorite alcoholic drink: Pinot Grigio, very cold, in a very large glass! (Prefer Barefoot brand; it’s got a little effervescence. A few tiny little bubbles that tingle on your tongue.)

Facebook or Twitter: Facebook, definitely. I like Kristen Lamb’s analogy (no relation to me, btw) that Twitter is a giant cocktail party. I like cocktail parties; they’re fun! But Facebook is more like one long, on-going visit with friends and family and my writer buddies.

Passions: Besides writing and psychology, my friends are my passion. I consider friendship to be the most important thing in life! I feel guilty a lot these days because my writing and helping to run misterio press take up so much time that I’m neglecting my friends.

I’m really not the right personality to be a writer. I’m working on developing my inner introvert more. 😀

Prefer Getting or Giving Gifts: Giving now. I used to love getting them too, and I still enjoy receiving gifts. But now I’m old and I have so much stuff (I’m a bit of a pack-rat) that I don’t get off like I once did on getting more stuff.

But I love to shop! Same dilemma though. Why should I buy more stuff to cram into my house? So buying gifts for others gives me a perfect excuse to shop. And I really enjoy their look of pleasure when the gift hits the mark!!

street scene in Colmar, France

A typical street in Colmar, France.

Favorite City: I’m not a big city girl. I like smaller cities. I think my favorite would be Colmar, Alsace, France. We stayed in an apartment there for a week as our home base while visiting other parts of Eastern France. It is a delightful little city!!

The Alsace region is on the border with Germany. You can really see the German influence in the architecture.

our Colmar apartment

Our Colmar apartment. It was great; much better than a hotel room.

Favorite TV Show: Criminal Minds. Hubs and I are addicted to it. He likes it because he used to work for the government. He says the way the BAU team interacts is very realistic. I like trying to figure out the psychological aspects. And I love the characters!

And now to bestow the Sunshine Award on others! Jennifer already tagged some of my favorite bloggers but here are some others I love to bits! If I duplicate anybody else’s picks, well that just means you’re extra popular, I guess. You all (the bloggers) don’t have to feel obligated to do the favorites list but I hope everybody reading this checks out these awesome blogs!

Not in any particular order:

Rhonda HopkinsWhere Reality and Fiction Collide ~ I’m particularly fond of her awesome Authors Give Back series.

Stacy Green’s Get Twisted. Her true crime posts will make the hair stand up on your neck.

Reneé A Schuls-Jacobson has the best sense of humor. Her posts always leave me howling!

K.B. Owen has an adorable blog where she chases the cozy thrill. She writes about history, mysteries, and all kinds of other fun stuff. I love her sense of humor too.

Beverly Diehl‘s Writing in the Flow.  She’s not afraid to take on some tough topics.

Amber West’s A Day Without Sushi is another great blog. She writes about a bunch of different stuff and does so very, very well.

Catie Rhodes just redid her site, Long Roads and Dark Ends, recently. It is spooky and beyond awesome!

Ginger Calem‘s Writers’ Butt Wednesdays are full of good advice, great recipes and lots of laughs.

August McLaughlin’s another blogger who’s not afraid to tackle the tough issues on Savor the Storm, and she’s a great champion of women developing healthier self-images and sexuality. (Her latest post was on female Viagra!)

Marcy Kennedy is not only a writer but she is a fantastic editor (she edited my latest book) and she writes great posts on writerly things.

Aw, gee, do I have to stop at ten? I could list about twenty more. But I’ll leave the others for these folks to tag.

What are some of your favorite things? Come on, don’t be shy. Tell us about them.

Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She writes the Kate Huntington mystery series.

We blog here at misterio press once a week about more serious topics, usually on Monday or Tuesday. Sometimes we blog again, on Friday or the weekend, with something just for fun.

Please follow us by clicking on the RSS symbol above or by filling in your e-mail address, so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun! (We do not harvest, lend, sell or otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses)