Jealousy! You know that nagging and unpleasant feeling that you might get. Nobody likes to feel it, but how we interpret that feeling can matter in whether we feel defeated or determined.
I used to be terrified of the feeling of jealousy when I was younger. For some reason, I was caught up in a belief that it was not ok to feel jealous and that only ‘insecure, flawed and weak people’ felt that way.
Years later, looking back at this belief I can’t help, but smile at the absurdity and childless of my thoughts. Of course, experiencing this feeling is only natural and human. And if we step away from judging ourselves and instead approach this subjective experience of jealousy with curiosity, we might learn a great deal about ourselves, our affections and aspirations.
It’s important to distinguish two types of jealousy:
1. Jealousy we experience because we feel our partners or our crash is paying too much attention to someone else. Or our closest friend is starting to prefer a company of another.
2. Jealousy we experience when other people are doing better than us, achieve things we crave, enjoy better status or make more money.
It is important to be aware of the type of jealousy you are experiencing so that you understand and manage it skillfully. So begin by asking yourself what kind of jealousy am I feeling right now.
Once you know the type, follow up with these exploratory questions:
|It’s wrong to feel this way. There must be something really wrong with me.
|Wow, here is that feeling again. It’s trying to tell me something.|
|I must stop feeling this way; it is not ok.
|What was I thinking about when I got this feeling?|
|I should be feeling happy for this successful person…. Or I should not be bothered by my boyfriend talking to this other girl….
|What about this situation that is creating this feeling?|
|I am a bad person. I feel like I hate this successful person…. or I hate that girl talking to my boyfriend…
|What would need to happen for me to feel content again? E.g., get reassurance from my partner or achieve my career goal.|
|I must ignore this feeling and pretend like everything is ok.||What does that feeling is signaling about what is important to me at this time in my life? E.g., My relationship? My career aspirations?
|Even though I am trying hard to ignore this feeling, it keeps coming back stronger and stronger. I must try harder to distract myself with Facebook, chocolate, work, video games, drinks, etc.||What small achievable steps can I take towards addressing my current discomfort? E.g., hold hands with my partner or decide on my next possible career step.|
From my experience, once I break down the jealousy feeling using above questions, I have more insights into the importance of a relationship or into what I would like to achieve in life. And once my goals are clear, I can use strategic problem-solving, SMART strategy, to move towards my desired state.
In some cases, the state you want might not be an achievable option like when our crash prefers to date someone else. If this a case for you, check out my next blog – How to Face Rejection.
Your Global Therapist,