3 Ways To Battle Jealousy
Ahh jealousy, something that seems to grasp everyone at different levels in different moments. Whether you're the one dealing with personal jealously or experiencing it from your friends, family or significant other, jealousy has been misunderstood for such a while so I think it's time to address it.
For sometime I've heard the phrase "You're making me jealous!" or "Why did you look at her like that?" or even "What do they have that I don't?" The list can go on and on, but let's face it, jealousy has become a silent culture because most of us don't want to come off jealous and many of us don't want to hear that we're the ones causing the jealousy to happen. It's a lose lose.
So now what? Where does this leave me as a reader? How can I work with my jealousy or handle my friend's or boyfriend's or (insert name here) envious thoughts? The answer: why just accept jealousy when you can use three tips on how to battle against it, in a healthy way.
1. It's not you, it's me.
Have you ever heard "It's not you, it's me." In other words, the person is trying to avoid conflict and get out of a bad breakup by telling the other person that they aren't the issue. Well, surprisingly, this works well with jealousy. This movie quote has much truth because it enhances the one thing most of us refuse to pay attention to: ourselves. Whenever jealousy happens, it usually doesn't involve the person we like/love, it mainly involves what we think about ourselves.
Let's say you and your girlfriend head to the movies to catch the latest blockbuster. You walk in and are both greeted by a theater associate who then checks your tickets and tells you where your movie room is. As you both enter the lobby your stomach tells you that you've gotta use the restroom so you tell your girlfriend to check out the snack bar as you handle your business.
As soon as you dry your hands off, you step into the lobby and notice your girlfriend laughing hard with the snack bar associate. You become flustered, warm in the face and your heart begins to palpitate because your mind is telling you that she likes this random person's jokes rather than your own. You self consciously stomp over only to passive aggressively tell your girlfriend to hurry up with her snack order. She gets annoyed because all she sees is a pushy boyfriend and thinks something may have happened in the restroom. The boyfriend sees that she enjoys her time without him whenever he leaves to the restroom. They never speak about it and neither of them laugh during the comedy film. Any of this relate? Ring a bell?
Clearly this scenario can be applicable to many situations, but one important takeaway is that jealousy usually comes from within. Don't get me wrong, there are times when others are purposely trying to push your jealousy buttons, but that's not the topic of discussion here. If you ever catch your mind creating bad scenarios based on what you see from afar without knowing the full truth, chances are you might be dealing with some jealousy. Let me be clear, it's a normal phenomenon to experience this. Completely and utterly normal.
Right now is a good time to ask yourself if it's really you struggling with this problem and not other people causing it. There is nothing wrong with saying that you struggle with jealousy. It's pretty admirable when you take responsibility for it. Your body may be telling you all sorts of things because of what your eyes saw, but if you're in a healthy relationship, just remind yourself that your partner is not purposely doing this to you. We will talk about how to address these feelings later.
2. Ask yourself this one question.
Just as you monitored yourself or shared this article with someone you know who is struggling with jealousy, there is something you can ask yourself in order to understand this jealously stuff a little better. Before I get to it, go ahead and ask yourself where your jealousy could come from? Usually, we may tell ourselves that we're jealous out of love. It's not that bad of an argument, but there is a slight flaw in this design.
Don't get me wrong, it is possible to feel love, but there is another contender alongside this love stuff when mixing jealousy: it's fear. Fear and jealousy go together quite nicely and yet they give us some of the most terrible thoughts and feelings don't they? Jealous as we may get, sometimes we say we're angry, mad or some other word that gives off a fiery tone of love. But when it comes down to it, fear and worry may be the main ingredient to these jealous thoughts.
Now is the time to ask yourself the golden question: "What am I afraid of or worried about when I get jealous?" Believe it or not, jealousy has to do with fear because some of us are afraid of losing our friends or significant other. Some of us question if we are good enough for our partner, while others question if our significant other is cheating on us. Many of us quite frankly just don't want to be alone. As previously mentioned, our mind creates scenarios that wrap our heart with fear of loss.
Something you can do right now is ask yourself the golden question. Once you answer it, then you're ready to move on to the final step in battling jealousy.
3. Be Honest, Be Bold and Be Brave.
Congratulations, you've taken on a heavy load by monitoring your thoughts of jealousy and asked yourself one of the deepest questions of where it may come from. Step three always seems like the hardest part because it involves the person you care about. You guessed it, it's time to communicate with this person that you're angry, jealous, envious, annoyed and other things because of fear or worry, or perhaps something not mentioned.
Perhaps you're thinking you've had this conversation once before with them and you're tired of bringing it up. You may also be thinking that they won't listen because they won't understand. Maybe you're thinking of not telling them because you're embarrassed. Now all of these could very well be true, but to make the process a little easier, I thought it would be helpful to give you a short formula to help you succeed with this. Below I've created a short script in explaining your jealousy to whoever needs to hear it. Fill free to customize it.
Here it goes:
"Hey (insert name), there's something that's been on my mind and I wanted to share it with you. Lately, I've been feeling (insert feeling, Ex. jealous, angry, etc.) whenever I see (insert scenario), and to be quite honest I struggle with this because Iworry about (insert worry or fear, Ex. losing you, that I'm not good enough, etc.)."
Now I'm going to pause right here because I need to say something that is crucial to this process. Make sure not to get too caught up in your emotions when you are explaining this to your partner. No, I am not saying that emotions aren't important, I am saying that too much emotion might block your mind from saying what you are really trying to say. The more calm you explain your thoughts and emotions, the more likely they will respond calmly in return. Heightened emotions may get a heightened response, and at that level it's very hard to hear anything at all.
"I want to be honest with you, I really struggle with this and would like to (insert plan, Ex. work on this, go to therapy, communicate more, etc.) to better myself and better our relationship."
The last part is definitely optional but it gives your significant other an idea of what you'd like to do from here on out.
Like I said, part three can be hard, but hopefully this template will help make it more doable. Being honest, bold and brave about jealousy is difficult, but once it's over with it will get easier. Practice communication even if it's uncomfortable. If it's very uncomfortable then take baby steps until you become a pro!
Give it a shot! Learn, live and thrive.