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Overcoming Jealousy

June 29, 2009
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overcoming-jealousy

Overcoming jealousy is an obstacle many individuals and couples will face from time to time. Many people experience this emotion without even realizing it, or they will know they feel that way but not sure how to get past their feelings. In relationships, jealousy can mean disaster. It can amplify feelings of suspicion, insecurity, and cause arguments between couples. It can also cause problems in job performance or other situations in life.

What is Jealousy?

Jealousy is defined as “a feeling of grudging admiration and desire to have something that is possessed by another”, which means when you feel jealous, you want what someone else has. It can be more complicated than that, since you can also feel jealous about things that are intangible. You may for example, feel jealous when your partner talks to another person of the opposite sex. In that situation, the jealousy might be of the attention that your partner is giving the other person, or you feel jealous that you don’t have what that other person has. Jealousy is not just feeling these feelings of envy, but also the resentment that comes along with it. You may get angry at yourself, your partner, or another person because of your jealous feelings.

What Causes Jealousy?

Jealousy can stem from many different reasons. Below are some of the most common reasons we feel jealous:

Competitive Nature: Many of us are naturally competitive. We want to be the best and to have the best. When we don’t have what others have or we don’t feel like we are ahead, it is easy to feel envious of what they have. There is nothing wrong with being competitive, and part of it is our natural survival instincts. However, when this competitive nature consumes you, and you feel everything and everyone is in direct competition with you, even if they may be non-threatening or unrelated, it can become a
problem.

Insecurity: Insecurity can also cause us to feel jealous from time to time. We may feel like we are inadequate or undeserving. When we doubt ourselves, it is easy to feel like others are better or superior and be naturally envious of what they want. Often the deeper the sense of insecurity, the more resentful we feel towards others who have what we don’t.

Fear: Fear can trigger a lot of different emotions. Even when you have everything you may think you want or need, you may be afraid that you could possibly lose it. Fear is a very powerful, negative emotion, and if you are afraid of your partner leaving you for example, you may become extremely jealous any time you see him or her talking to someone else.

Selfishness: We are instinctively born to think only of ourselves as part of our natural survival. Think of a newborn baby who has no regard for the people or things going on around it – they care only about their immediate needs. It is not surprising then that selfishness can carry on throughout our entire lives unless we have had an experience to make us have more concern for others. When you think of yourself constantly and what you need and want, you set yourself up for knowing all the things you do not have – and wishing that you did have the things others did. When you put others ahead of yourself, you are much less likely to be thinking about things that would cause you to become jealous.

How do You Overcome Jealousy?

If you want to overcome jealousy, these steps will help you:

1. Identify the Cause: You must first decide which of the possible reasons above may be causing your feelings. Do you feel like you are in direct competition with others? Do you feel insecure about yourself? Are you afraid of losing what you have? Do you always put yourself first and not regard the needs of others? Once you have identified the cause you can then move on to the next step.

2. Identify Triggers: If you’ve had problems finding the cause, or even if you’re pretty sure what causes these feelings, then finding triggers will help you even more. A trigger could be something such as a friend who constantly brags about their vacation plans, their fancy expensive car, their this and their that. A trigger could also be feeling jealous anytime you see your girlfriend speaking to another guy, even if it completely innocent and harmless. (IE: speaking to the librarian to try and find a book she needs) Having a list of triggers will help you further understand the cause and how to deal with it. You will be able to look past the trigger and understand the deeper underlying feelings behind it.

3. Change Your Thinking: Changing the way you think and feel is a lot easier to say than do. However, it truly is the only way replace your negative feelings with positive ones. This can be done through various ways. Self help methods would include learning about how to change your way of thinking, meditation, and reading various books that will help you get over and deal with your emotions effectively. In other cases, counseling may be of benefit, especially if resentment and jealousy issues are impacting other things going on in your life. Depending on what your triggers and causes are, you will want to address those individual issues. For example. If self esteem and insecurity issues are causing you to be jealous, then working on ways to feel better and more confident will help.

4. Talk to Your Partner: If your behavior has led to accusing your partner and a lot of arguments, it’s important to talk to your partner if you want the relationship to get back on track and repair any damage. Apologizing, explaining the reasons you feel the way you feel, and even asking for suggestions on what you could do or what they could do may help you get back on track.

Below are some additional resources available that may help with overcoming jealousy:

Do you have any thoughts or methods for overcoming jealousy? Share them in the comments below.

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