Anyone who has experienced jealousy knows well how intense and devouring it can be. In Othello, Shakespeare famously described it as “the green-eyed monster” because it can be both painful and embarrassing and because it has the power to make us do things that we know to be ridiculous and sometimes even crazy.
In romantic relationships, jealousy often occurs when one person suspects their union to be in jeopardy. Jealousy can be caused by a lover’s job or even a hobby taking up too much time, but most often the cause is attributed to someone outside of the relationship – with the suspicion or fear that another person will take the beloved away.
Don’t hide feelings
The best method for getting a handle on jealousy is being honest and open about it – first with yourself, then with others involved (if appropriate). In love and friendship, it’s important to use the “I feel” approach to communicate what you are experiencing. If you can express yourself in this gentle manner, your partner or friend is more likely to respond with honesty and sympathy.
Together you may be able to work through and get rid of any jealous feelings. Talking about it also gives others some insight into how their behavior may impact you. Especially in a romantic relationship, your partner will then have the opportunity to change their behavior – or to reassure you in other ways.
But even with logic, communication and reassurances, jelousy can continue to grow in your relationships at home, at work and between friends, leading to resentment, grudges, rivalry and insecurity.
Look at these painful examples:
1) Say your partner flirts whenever you go to your favorite sports bar, yet you know they’re just having some innocent fun. You just can’t help it, you always end up going off and brooding by yourself instead of enjoying the game and the crowd and your partner’s company.
2) You and your spouse are out with your best couple friends and they announce that they’re having twins. You’ve been trying to have a baby secretly for awhile now, and you both know it’s ridiculous and selfish, but you find it hard to be happy for your dearest friends.
3) You’ve been interviewing for a managerial position in your company, but the HR department decides to hire someone from the outside and they become your boss. You thought you were open to working for this person until you find out that they’re making twice the salary that you’re making.
What can you do with your uncomfortable feelings?
Try toughing it out with the constructive techniques below for dealing with those destructive “green-eyed” emotions.
1) Keep building your self-esteem. Part of good self-esteem is having a firm belief in your future working out. This won’t shield you from jealousy, but it will help you find the fortitude to
get through it.
2) You may not be able to stop being jealous, but you can exercise some control over your emotions. When jealous thoughts associated with anger, fear, despair or anxiety strike, you
can create an interruption in these negative thoughts by saying something like, “Stop! I know these thoughts are bad for me.” Try replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. This may
be enough to give you some temporary relief.
3) Counterattack irrational thoughts with rational ones. When irrational thoughts arise tell yourself what you know to be rational – even if emotionally you don’t believe it.
4) Keep yourself busy with work, hobbies or self-improvement such as staying active, making plans with friends and just plain having fun. Distraction can provide enough comfort to help you get through some of your feelings, even if it isn’t the total solution.
5) Go ahead and vent. Seek the support of friends and loved ones, and tell them what you’re going through. This will help relieve some of the hurt and anger.
Remember, jealousy is a common human experience. Your experience of jealousy doesn’t make you a bad or weak person – it is the result of a situation that will eventually be resolved. Just remember, all things must pass.
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