Monday, March 10, 2008

How to Handle Jealousy

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Everyone feels jealous from time to time. Jealousy is easy to deal with, once you understand what it's teaching you. Here are some pointers on working through your emotions and feelings of jealousy.

1. Understand the emotion. Jealousy is usually a combination of fear and anger; a fear of losing something, and anger that someone is "moving in on" something that you feel belongs only to you. Be aware of the distinction between jealousy and envy: Jealousy involves wanting to keep something which you already have, whereas envy involves wanting something that you don't have.

2. If envy: do not envy. You have control over envy, so stop looking at what is not yours. Some people find it helpful to count their blessings or ask for help (see end section). If jealousy: Allow yourself to actually 'feel' the emotion in a healthy way. When you start feeling jealous, ask yourself: is it more fear based, or more anger based? Recognize which part of your body is being affected. If you feel a dropping or clutching sensation in your stomach, it’s probably fear. If you feel a burning, tight sensation in your shoulders and jaw, then you’re likely feeling anger. You might also feel a combination of those sensations.

3. Communicate your feelings. Sharing your true feelings with someone without blaming them can create a deep sense of connection between the two of you and open up a dialogue about the path of your relationship. Instead of saying, "you shouldn't have done that", say, "I felt terrible when you did that." Use "I" instead of "You".

4. Identify what your jealousy is teaching you. Jealousy can alert you to what you want, and what is important to you. If you’re jealous of someone talking to a friend of yours, personal relationships may be important to you. If you’re jealous about money, you may have an underlying need for security or freedom. Ask yourself, "Why am I jealous over this? What is making me jealous? What am I trying to keep? Why do I feel threatened?" When you begin to understand what makes you jealous, you can begin to take positive steps to maintain those things, without the cloud of negative emotion that accompanies jealousy.

5. Change any false beliefs that might cause jealousy. There are often false beliefs that underlie jealousy and fuel emotion. If you examine the belief, many times, you can eliminate the jealousy. Some common underlying beliefs are “Everyone is out to get my money.” or “If this person leaves me, I won't have any friends.” Beliefs are changeable. If you change your belief, you change the way you feel. Choose to tell yourself a belief that is nurturing and supportive, and you’ll feel better. When you begin taking steps to creating a happy and fulfilling life for yourself, you will find the anger, the jealousy and the fear will disappear. Don't listen to people who make you jealous.

* Jealousy is not the same thing as love. Sometimes, people think that by feeling jealous about someone, they are loving them. Jealousy is not love, it’s the fear and anger of losing love. Jealousy disappears when you are truly loving yourself and others for whatever experience you’re having.

* Learn to be happy with yourself and what you have. Everyone is different and each person has their good and bad qualities. Realize that you have the potential to create a better future.

* Try to talk about your problems with someone. Perhaps you feel that these jealous tendencies are a private matter; then, you ought to anonymously ask an advice column or similar construct about your problem.

* Irrational jealousy usually stems from your own insecurities and low self-esteem. Address these issues first.

* Be happy for the other person. Jealousy can represent that "I like that, it would be nice to have that thing or experience". When you can be happy for another person's success and happiness, you are allowing positive feelings to flow into your life. Instead of being angry, congratulate the other person.

* If jealousy in your relationship is leading to control or power struggles, it's a sign that there is an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.

* If you have a boyfriend, and he is talking to a girl, don't be mad at him. Just be glad that he does flirt because if he's faithful enough, he shouldn't cheat on you or do anything to hurt you.

* He is allowed to flirt but not touch.

* If you feel like he's flirting with too many girls, maybe you should address it with him instead of thinking about how mad at him you are and how you can get back at the girls.

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