In the name of Allah, al-Wadud, al-Shakur
To a degree, we all felt a twinge of inferiority towards other people’s accomplishments. But at times, I can’t help but feel the same even towards my loved one’s accomplishment. Some of you might have similar instances at some point in your relationship.
The question is, how is that acceptable? You claim to want to get into the Garden of Eternity with your partner, yet you are not sincerely happy when she excels in her career.
That, for me at least, reveals the subtle hypocrisy that lays hidden within me, longing to be expressed.
Why do we feel inferior over our life partner’s accomplishments?
Take a situation that is fairly common in today’s age: a man sees his partner excelling linearly in her career. She naturally develops numerous chains of connection that allows her to excel way more. This results in her getting frequent calls, new job offers, and other opportunities ahead of her.
When this happens, the men naturally have a strong tendency to stop their partner from growing even more. Instead of showing support, they would use any means possible to justify constrictions — such as religion and family.
One might say “Accepting the role would mean too much interaction with other men” and “You won’t have time to do house chores for the family”. Furthermore, one might emphasize the emotional damage that the partner will cause not only to him/her but also the children as a result of their commitment to the job.
In essence, every word you tend to speak sounds justifiable and pure — as though it came from a place of love and concern. However, had only you have been more honest to your own self, you would have caught earlier that that is not the case. Your command was in fact spoken out of the feeling of inferiority towards your partner’s excellence.
What are the two ROOTs of inferiority towards your partner’s accomplishment?
1) You are AFRAID that your partner will be independent of you
We, humans, NEED not only to be loved but also to love. The former is passive and the latter is active. One of the pleasures of being in a relationship is having someone who’s life is dependent upon you. Imagine living with a human being, whom survival depends completely on you — your day-to-day life would be very purposeful, wouldn’t it? That’s why people’s life changes drastically the second they have a child.
As your life partner becomes more accomplished in her career, she will naturally develop more self-confidence. This would mean that she would need less of you in her life. Maybe she used to ask for gratification and motivation from you, but now she can achieve all of that on her own.
At the back of your head, allowing her to continue blooming would be detrimental, as she would require less of your presence. Imagine living with a person, in which your presence or absence means no difference at all to them — how depressing is that?
2) You are no longer the object of DESIRE
The moment your partner blooms in his profession, it means he would have a drastic change of focus in his life. This would cause you, as a partner, to have a lower rank of a priority compared to his career.
Nobody likes the thought of being the main prize for one day and being a consolation prize the next day. When you are no longer the object of desire, your self-esteem starts deteriorating.
You start questioning your role in the relationship — “Does he even need me?” “What am I even doing in here?” — which leads the relationship-killer thoughts: “ahh… He’s too good for me” or “ahh… I’m not good enough for him” etc.
The most lethal of all these pools of thoughts is you start doubting the feeling your loved one had towards you. It feels like a one-sided love. This feeling alone would unveil the deepest insecurities one could have as a person.
To put it into a summary, we tend to feel inferior over our partner’s achievements and accomplishments, despite loving them with all our heart, because we are afraid of losing their dependency on us, and attention to us.
What I really want to stress in this entry is for you to understand that these are all nothing but your assumptions! The truth is, in fact, the opposite of what you may be stressing yourself into.
Your life partner’s love towards you does NOT deteriorate when her career blooms.
Your soulmate NEEDS your support way more than ever when he gets his dream job.
Your loved one sincerely wishes MORE success for you in your life and career.
Celebrate and enjoy your loved one’s achievement in his/her life. It’s normal to have the twinge of jealousy and inferiority towards their accomplishment every now and then — but understand its root.
For those of you who are in a relationship, do your utmost best to actively appreciate and celebrate one another’s accomplishments. May the All-Loving bless the effort of both of you, and may the Appreciative grant you the gift of gratefulness.
To wrap this one up, let us reflect upon a verse from the Holy Quran: