How to Overcome Jealousy
|Bethany Heinesh • 6/26/12|
Jealousy can be a terribly destructive force in a relationship. My favorite definition of jealousy comes from Wikipedia. “Jealousy is an emotion and typically refers to the negative thoughts and feelings of insecurity, fear, and anxiety over an anticipated loss of something that the person values, particularly in reference to a human connection.” Yep, that about sums it up.
Here’s the thing about jealousy — when experienced in its appropriate context, it can be a healthy emotion. Believing someone or something you wish to “possess” is in jeopardy of being taken from you can bring about a positive change in behavior. For instance, if someone you work with has the potential to get the promotion you’re after, you will likely work harder to get it. If you see your sister accomplishing more than you, sibling rivalry will push you to excel and perform better in your own life.
However, jealousy usually manifests as a misguided effort to control a situation in an attempt to avoid abandonment. This is caused by “the anxiety over an anticipated loss,” not an actual loss itself. Jealousy can drive you mad because you cannot seem to escape the dreaded feeling that your partner will be unfaithful to you. Yet when the infidelity doesn’t occur, the feelings perpetuate.
While some level of jealousy is to be expected in a relationship, often perceived as a form of flattery, it can dominate your life if you allow it to get the best of you. If you’re struggling with jealousy, you’re not alone. Many women experience these obsessively insidious feelings.
If you feel powerless over your own jealous thoughts and actions, there are a number of things you can do to help your situation.
1. Do some inner work.
This may require the services of a counselor who can help you navigate feelings and thoughts you don’t understand. There is no shame in seeking help. It requires true courage. Admitting you have a problem is the first step to healing.
“Remember, your man didn’t hang
the moon. He is an imperfect human.”
2. Seek professional help.
If you cannot afford therapy or simply don’t feel comfortable seeking professional help, read books written by relationship experts about jealousy. Knowledge is power. Understanding your condition will make it easier to manage.
3. Start a journal.
When you feel like acting out or are consumed by feelings of jealousy, write them down. Keeping a journal is a therapeutic process and will provide insight into your behavior.
4. Learn to love yourself.
This is difficult for many women because we simply don’t know how, due to self-esteem and self-image issues. “If I wasn’t so fat…..if my nose wasn’t so big…..if only I were taller……” When you realize you are a beautiful woman with value and worth, you won’t feel so insecure and your jealousy will subside.
5. Live in the now.
The most significant way to overcome jealousy is to live in the now. Stop worrying about what might happen and focus on what is happening. Enjoy every moment you share with your partner until he actually does something to violate your trust.
Remember, your man didn’t hang the moon. He is an imperfect human. By accepting that he might cheat, but trusting him not to, you truly embrace the risk that accompanies any relationship and you experience freedom. You need to be ever mindful that if your beloved does commit an act of betrayal, you will not only survive, but you will meet someone else to fall in love with. No matter how great your pain, the world will not stop spinning on its axis and life will go on.