At some point in our lives, we’ve all been jealous about someone or something. Whether it feels like a gnawing sensation in the pit of the stomach, a sense of frustration, or pure rage, it is usually easy to identify when we’re experiencing this particular state.
Jealousy occurs when we believe something we desire or posess is being threatened by a third party. For example, we can be jealous of the attention our parents give to a sibling or we can be jealous of the compliment our partner made about their attractive yoga instructor.
Jealousy is different from envy, which is the perceived lack of something that is enjoyed by another or the pining desire for something we don’t have. Often people use the term jealousy to describe what is actually an envious feeling, such as “I’m so jealous of her vacation to the Bahamas.”
Sadly, simply defining jealousy doesn’t help it go away. Feelings of jealousy can last for days, weeks, or even years if left unchecked. If you’re being tormented by the “green eyed monster” of jealousy, here is a 5-step strategy to help relieve your suffering.
- . Name your jealousy. Jealousy is stronger when it is hidden. Name out loud that you are feeling jealous and perhaps even tell the people who are part of the situation causing the jealousy.
- Take responsibility for your jealousy. Your jealousy is your responsibility and no one else’s. It isn’t up to your partner, family member, friend, boss, or hairdresser to make you feel less jealous.
- Identify what feels threatened. Try to pinpoint the fear at the center of your jealousy. Are you afraid that your spouse will leave you? That you won’t get the support you need from a friend? That you don’t have value to bring to the table?
- Be compassionate. Jealousy is a common experience. If you’re feeling jealous about someone or something, go easy on yourself. Give yourself reassurance and remind yourself that it is normal to feel this way.
- Invest in yourself. You can address your jealousy without changing anything about the situation that caused it. By doing something you love, investing in yourself and getting your needs met in other ways, you take the pressure off the situation stirring up jealousy and release some of your attachment.
VentSpace is a free online platform where users can share their life experiences anonymously and get support from others.