Jealousy is part of our human nature, and it can feel impossible to get rid of the annoying, nagging feeling.
It isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Jealousy can drive us to become a better version of ourselves, it can help us reach our goals and put things in perspective. But it becomes problematic when it takes over your life, it negatively affects your mood and makes you feel bad about yourself.
“It becomes problematic when we act out in jealousy or we wallow in it,” says clinical psychologist Christina Hibbert, PsyD.
We often feel jealous in romantic relationships, or when we look at other people’s successes, talents and strengths.
Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can also trigger jealousy. And with that, they can help you develop a negative (body) image (I talked about this in a recent video) and even depression. I wanted to share some general tips that have helped me deal with my jealousy in the past.
Asses your jealousy and learn from it
We can use our feelings of jealousy to help us grow. First, it’s important to recognize the jealous feeling – and that it’s just that, a feeling. Then, ask yourself when and why you get jealous. For example, you get jealous every time your friend plays the piano because she’s so good at it. Rather than wallowing in this jealousy, you sign up for piano lessons and start practicing.
Focus on your positive traits
Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and it’s important to recognize yours. The thing about jealousy is that you’ll often see all the amazing things about the person you’re jealous of, while you only see the negative things about yourself. The person you’re jealous of is not perfect, and there are things you’re good at that they’re are not so good at. Time to focus on what you’re good at! If that’s hard and you keep focusing on the things you’re not so great at, make a positive change that helps you become a better person, as described above.
Practice mindfulness to manage your emotions
Sounds a bit wishy-washy, I know, but it helps! Practicing meditation and mindfulness can help to calm your emotions and help you identify why you’re experiencing these feelings in the first place. If your jealousy involves a romantic relationship, don’t hesitate sharing those feelings with your parter after you calm down. It’s important to wait until you’re calm, so you can vocalize your emotions and avoid unnecessary arguments.
Let it go
After practicing mindfulness, letting go of emotions became a lot easier for me. I started telling myself I didn’t need these negative emotions in my life, and that I deserve better. If I need to, I close my eyes and literally imagine my emotions seeping out of me. Again, it sounds a bit wishy-washy, but it is something that has truly helped me to deal with jealousy.
Seek out support from others
Sometimes we can’t do things by ourselves, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. If you feel the need to talk about these emotions, seek out professional help or talk to a friend. It’s incredibly easy to use these conversations to ask people for confirmation (”I’m prettier than her, right?”) but try to refrain from that. It won’t help you in the long run.
Dealing with strong emotions like jealousy is tough and it can take quite a bit of work to get through them. These tips have helped me to deal with jealous feelings, and in the long run have helped me to think more positively about myself in general!