Jealousy is a feeling that most of us will have experienced at some point in our lives. For the majority of us, these feelings will pass quickly and without any real harm. Sometimes, though jealousy can get out of hand and destroy relationships.
Think back, there may have been a time as a child when you felt jealous because you thought your best friend wanted to spend more time with someone else, or you imagined your mother was giving your siblings more love and attention than she was giving you.
Then in later life maybe you experienced a pang of jealousy when your friend seemed to want to spend more time with her boyfriend/girlfriend than with you.
You may even have felt a little jealous when your friends’ had children and you felt they had less time for you. It is also a common phenomenon for men to feel jealous of their own children; they sometimes feel they are coming second best in their partner’s emotions.
Jealousy, like envy, can also refer to a desire for someone else’s status, attention or possessions. Yes – we can be jealous of what people have as much as with the people in our life.
In a relationship jealousy causes someone to be doubtful of their partner by feeling threatened by their relationship with others. This then has a knock on effect on your relationship as it detracts from your time together as you are likely to have fights because you spend your time thinking up negative situations and before you know it, much of your relationship is spent dwelling on what might be going on rather than what is really happening.
Own your feelings
For the most part, jealousy is all about our own issues with self confidence. You may feel that you’re not good enough and that your partner will soon leave as you believe that other people are better looking, nicer, kinder etc than you.
Accept that your feelings of insecurity will not go away overnight – you have to work at stopping them.
One way to start the process is to write out a list of all the reasons why someone likes you. List all your qualities – the harder you find this exercise the more likely you are to be lacking in confidence – and a lack of confidence is an excellent breeding ground for jealous feelings.
Stop Blaming other People
It’s not the fault of your partner, or the girl who smiled at him at your friend’s party or the guy that asked her directions. When you feel jealous it is all down to YOU. No one can make you feel jealous apart from yourself.
Avoid intoxicants like alcohol
These dull your perception, which will make you jump to conclusions and amplify your anger, jealousy and insecurity. Alcohol is also a depressant, so you will feel even less secure the following morning.
Learn from the past
Look at how your behaviour has affected past relationships negatively and use that information to help you behave better. You may soon discover that your jealous outbursts are the real cause of your troubled love life. Realise that getting upset for no reason won’t help your situation. Focus on what is happening, not what you think is happening, otherwise you may end up having difficulty separating fact from fiction.
Sunlight and Exercise
Both have been shown to be as effective as many forms of therapy at treating stress. Endorphin releases will make you feel happier, which will in turn make you feel more confident, which will in turn make you less prone to jealousy and anger.
Spend Time with Positive People
Negative people tend to bring one another down; if you are around negative people, talking constantly about how terrible things are, you will feel less happy and less confident. This feeling will manifest itself in anger and jealousy.
Count to 10
If you feel jealous, and are angry or upset at somebody, remove yourself from the situation for 10 seconds. These 10 seconds will make you feel better as they will give you the valuable perspective you need to eliminate irrational jealousy.
Practice Deep Breathing
Find a safe, calm place, sit comfortably, and take deep slow breaths. Try to concentrate on the sensation of breathing in your nose, chest or belly. You will soon find yourself lost in thoughts and worries, and when you do, congratulate yourself for having noticed that your mind wandered. Then go back to the breathing. Do this for 10-20 minutes each day.
Get Help from your Partner and Friends
If you have explained your feelings to your partner you can ask them to help you. If they say they won’t then maybe they’re not the catch you think they are. For example, devise a simple code between you for when you are feeling low. Agree with your partner that when you say a certain word or make a certain movement this means you need some emotional support. It may only mean your partner putting an arm round you. Remember that your partner can only help you. He/she can only reassure you up to a point. You are the one that has to learn to deal with your feelings. You may also find it helpful to talk to a close friend and get support in the changes you need to make from them.
Challenge your Thoughts
When you start talking yourself into a jealous rage, stand back,
take a deep breath and ask yourself what evidence you have for your thoughts. A jealous partner tends to spin events in the worst way possible. If his/her partner doesn’t return her call, for instance, they may think of them as being with another woman/man instead of thinking that the battery has died and needs to be recharged.
Realise that in any relationship, a lot of things that happen are ambiguous and can be interpreted in many ways. Instead of sticking on the worst case scenario, try to think on other more positive ones and hold on to them.
You need to challenge your thoughts regularly and if you do you will learn to talk yourself out of the thoughts that trigger your jealous feelings, which are really insecure feelings you have about yourself.
Controlling jealousy requires you to discipline your mind to think in a more positive and optimistic way. Just keep on raising your own self-esteem and you will find your thoughts and feelings becoming less negative.
“The most powerful and profound aspect of relationship is emotion.
If we learn to shift emotions we can change all of our relationships”