Jealousy - How To Deal With It

by Catherine Pratt

There’s a very good reason why jealousy is known as the green eyed monster.
It can cause perfectly rational people to suddenly turn into raging creatures of anger and hate. In seconds, it can destroy what should be a happy celebration as well as permanently destroy relationships between family, friends, co-workers and even your neighbours.

I had a good reminder of how quickly jealousy can rear it’s ugly head the other day when a friend called to tell me she’d gotten engaged. I could hear the happiness in her voice and I was thrilled for her. She’d been waiting for this for a long time. I knew it was a good match for her and it would bring great joy to her.

So, what does this have to do with jealousy? Well, I asked her two questions, “Did you get a nice ring?” and “Was it a romantic proposal?” The second I asked them I knew I was only hurting myself but her response made me just want to lash out at her. What was her answer? A very simple, “Of course”.

So, now you’re completely confused. How could that possibly set off an episode of jealousy in anyone? Well, jealousy is all about a deep internal hurt within the person feeling that emotion. And for me, the hurt has to do with the fact that I always wanted a romantic proposal and an engagement ring but I never got them when I got engaged. It just didn’t work out that way. So, until I figured out what was going on, whenever someone spoke about this subject, I sometimes got very jealous.

I'm very glad that I didn't lash out at my friend for if I had I would have ruined a very special time in her life as well as quite possibly a good friendship. And for what? Just because I was hurting? Definitely no need to hurt someone else because something wonderful has happened for them. And, I truly was happy for my friend. It just almost didn't come out that way initially. That is why jealousy is such a monster. Your own pain overwhelms you so much that you'll hurt even a good friend.

A far better solution than simply allowing the emotion of jealousy to overtake you is to realize:

It’s All About You
I once had a boss who would wear a t-shirt sometimes that said, “It’s all about me” which is absolutely true when it comes to jealousy. As soon as you feel the familiar emotion of jealousy, you know there’s something deep inside you that needs to be healed. It’s all about you, not the other person. They are just the emotional trigger. Take the time to figure out what it is about the situation that is causing you to react so violently.

You Need to Heal Yourself
With jealousy, the very first thing you want to do is to strike out in anger and to push away the person who has stirred up your emotions. If you hurt them back or belittle their accomplishment then you don't have to deal with your own pain and suffering. This is why some relationships are destroyed. People go with the initial feelings and don’t take it as a sign that something needs to be healed. Other times you might just stuff the emotion down. This isn’t good either. A part of you needs your attention and you need to free yourself from this negative emotion. If you don’t, you're going to find that it appears again and again until you take the time to figure it out.

It’s a very draining emotion and it’s also a tough one to let go once the anger has been stirred up. It's far better to face it head on and just deal with it. You'll be so glad you did.

The Other Person Doesn't Know
Usually, when you react with jealousy, the other person won't even know why you're behaving the way you are. They don't know what event has happened in your past to make you feel this way. All they know is that you're not being very nice with their happy news. It will cause confusion and hurt within the other person.

In my situation, it all comes down to the reason why I wanted the proposal so much which my friend had absolutely no way of knowing. I spent a huge chunk of my childhood dreaming about the day that the handsome prince was going to arrive on my doorstep, take my hands, look deep into my eyes and tell me how special I was and that he loved me truly, madly, deeply. Then he'd rescue me from all my current problems and we'd ride off into a gorgeous sunset to live happily ever after. Of course such a fairytale could never come true but I still wanted the romantic proposal when I got engaged. I would sometimes imagine what it would be like, how amazing it would be. To me, the proposal would symbolize that someone telling me how special I was. So, after all that dreaming, I was disappointed and frustrated that I didn't get one when my turn finally did come. It's just something that I needed to accept and then move on. Along with accepting this fact I needed to truly believe that I am special with or without that romantic proposal. The original hurt needed to be dealt with which I think it now has been.

By being aware of where your feelings are coming from will go a long way towards healing past events.

Use Jealousy To Your Advantage
It is possible to use jealousy to your advantage. Whenever you feel the emotion, take a look at what it is you're jealous over. Is this something you really want in your life? If it is, then be grateful for this experience because it has made you realize how much you do want something. Now, that you have a clearer idea of what you want, you can start to focus on the steps you need to take in order to achieve this goal. If you hadn't gone through this experience, you might not have been made aware of what you truly desire.

If what you're jealous over isn't something you really want then you know that you're dealing with more internal emotions like not feeling you're good enough or having limiting beliefs like nothing good ever happens to you. You can heal that aspect of yourself and become a much stronger and centered person for it.

Either way, you can use jealousy to your advantage.

It Just Is
Here's one more thought to consider about jealousy. You may feel like the "grass is greener" for everyone else but really the situation "just is". If you can learn not to compare yourself to others with what they have or what they're doing, but instead just look at things as "just is" without judgment, you'll never end up feeling like you're not good enough or that you don't have enough. Yes, they might have something you'd like and that's great for them. Be happy for them. Share in their joy. It doesn't change who you are though. Focus on what you want to achieve with your life and follow your own path.

The important thing to remember is to use jealousy as a sign to heal yourself or as a sign that you need to start working towards a certain goal.

Don't allow yourself to hurt other people simply because you have a wound that needs your attention and care. If you're still feeling jealous then you know you're focusing on the wrong thing. You just need to turn it around and start focusing on what you do want. Jealousy truly can be a valuable emotion if you let it.

To cure jealousy is to see it for what it is, a dissatisfaction with self
Joan Didion

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Additional Resources

You'll find my ebook, "3 Questions That Will Change Your Life" really helpful in being able to turn your focus around to what you do want.

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