THERE IS no doubt that everyone experiences some level of jealousy at some point in their lives. It is a negative emotion that tends to bring out the worst in us, even at times when we should know better.
A popular misconception about jealousy is that it is the same as envy. In fact, the feeling of envy refers to wanting something that someone else has, such as a fast car or a bigger house in a nicer road. Jealousy, however, is more aptly described as the fear of losing something (a partner, promotion, friend, etc.) to someone else.
Jealously is often a mask for other issues and for the most part, the problem lies within the person experiencing the jealously not the person you are jealous of. The following are some possible root causes of jealously:
Lack of self-confidence
Probably the main cause are your doubts about your skills or abilities. If you were confident and sure of yourself, you would not experience jealous feelings.
If you believe you are not as good looking as your peers, then chances are you’ll experience jealousy whenever you meet someone whom, you feel, looks better than you.
Being afraid can be a fear of ending up alone, a fear of being rejected or a fear of losing the love of your partner.
Feelings of insecurity are the result of the two previously mentioned causes. A poor self-image and lack of self-confidence can result in making you feel insecure in a situation or about a relationship and this can be a strong reason that can make you jealous.
We’ve all heard stories of jealousy ranging from the mild – a competitive comment from one partner to another about an attractive person, to the extreme – a stalker-like attempt to control a partner’s every move. While some jealousy may be a natural or instinctive reaction to the threat of losing a loved one, it is when jealousy takes over or appears in non-threatening circumstances, it can have a very destructive influence on our relationships.
It can cause us to limit each other’s independence and when this occurs, people can lose the individuality and strength that was once attractive.
The late Maya Angelou once said: “Jealousy in romance is like salt in food. A little can enhance the savour, but too much can spoil the pleasure and, under certain circumstances, can be life-threatening.”
Some psychologists would say that jealousy exists because it is a good retention strategy helping us keep our partners. A partner’s jealousy can be seen as a sign of love or affirmation of commitment. Although a little jealousy might remind our partner that they don’t want to lose us, in general jealousy seems to be bad for relationships.
Jealousy is more often associated with arguments, breakups, and aggressive behaviour and when we feel jealous we find ourselves questioning the level of commitment in our relationship.
So how do we abate the green-eyed monster and decrease jealousy’s negative effects?
1. Identify the Issue:
What are you jealous about? Take the time to understand and get to the root cause of what’s triggering the issue.
This can be done solely within you, without involving anyone else, especially the person you’re feeling jealous over. By forgiving yourself—you allow the issue to become a non-issue and something you can move past.
3. Make Changes:
By simply making an effort to feel better about ourselves, we can replace that jealousy with pride and confidence.
4. Don’t Take it Personally:
Most things that happen to us aren’t actually about us. When we learn how not to take these things personally, we free ourselves from the reactions and the judgments.
5. Seek Support:
Emotions can often be overwhelming. They may be related to current issues, or they can often be connected to things of the past we’re still processing. If feelings like jealousy seem to consume you no matter what you try, seeking the assistance of a professional can help you learn how to deal with them.