1. Accept and monitor your jealous thoughts and feelings.
People often associate jealousy with low self esteem and neuroticism. While that rings true for some circumstances, not all jealousy is linked to those attributes. In fact, according to psychologist Robert Leahy, jealousy is often a layered emotion that is rarely that black and white. In some cases, jealousy can reflect high self-esteem, because the individual refuses to be mistreated. Evolutionary psychologist David Buss states that jealousy has evolved as a mechanism to defend our interests. After all, it was our ancestors who drove off competitors that were more likely to use that adaptive emotion. Overall, jealousy is a way of survival because it means defending ourselves and the interests that serve us well.
Therefore, when experiencing thoughts and feelings of jealousy, it’s important to accept them, rather than dismiss them because they’re seen as “bad” or “wrong.” Understand that there’s a difference between feeling jealous and behaving jealously. It’s normal to have certain temptations, but learn not to act upon them. Recognize that your jealous thoughts aren’t the same as reality. Since perceptions have the power to dictate and distort truths, this is why it’s so important to monitor and keep your jealousy at bay. Using cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a great way to do just that.
2. Recognize that uncertainty is normal and part of life.
Feeling unsure at times is expected. After all, no one can predict the future. If that were the case, we wouldn’t have such high rates of anxiety, which is built upon the foundation of threat fueled by unfamiliarity. If you’re in a relationship and you’re worried about your partner potentially cheating on you or breaking up with you for someone else, realize that your uncertainty is valid. After all, you will never know whether or not your partner will reject you.
But, not knowing and the uncertainty that comes with it is a limitation that you should learn to accept. Because if you don’t, your obsessive thoughts and concerns will only consume you. This influences your mind to roam and you may end up creating a problem before it even exists. Instead of focusing on the what-if’s, learn to appreciate the present by practicing mindfulness.
3. Examine your assumptions about relationships.
Do you ever wonder where your jealousy stems from? One way to deal with jealousy is by understanding how it formed. Your childhood experiences can definitely play a part on what triggers you to feel anxiety and insecurity within your romantic relationships. For instance, if your parents divorced due to an extramarital affair or one of them left, you may believe that the same thing will happen to you. Or, if you experienced being cheated on in your past relationship, that can also affect the way you view your current relationship. It’s hard not to let the past color the way you view the present, but learn to differentiate between the two. It’s good practice to examine the evidence that you have, rather than making assumptions and relying on them as ultimate truths.
4. Ask yourself if the comparison is truly fair.
It may be tempting to compare yourself to others when there’s so many other people who live in the same world as you. But, comparing your own life to someone else’s can leave you blindsighted about your own strengths and talents. You might not think you’re attractive, smart, or creative enough when you think your role model seems perfect. Even the most well-accomplished people in this world have their own flaws and insecurities to work through. If you’re going to compare yourself to someone else, do it in a way that benefits your well-being, rather than tearing your own sense of self down.
5. Avoid situations that are likely to arouse false suspicions.
Researchers found that those who are jealous tend to monitor their romantic partner’s Facebook activity. The more they snooped, the more they would find reasons to worry about. Although social media makes it incredibly easy to look up information on people these days, try to refrain from overdoing it, especially if it’ll only make you feel worse. You can spend a limited amount of time on social media each day to decrease your chances of being triggered.
6. Ask yourself if you’re looking at yourself through your own eyes or someone else’s.
If you grew up with critical parents or people who made you feel unimportant in general, you may have grown accustomed to seeing who you are through their own toxic lenses. Be aware that they only have as much power as you give them. Understand that their own reality isn’t the ultimate truth, and that you are more than the ways in which they’ve put you down. It may be hard to find that on your own, so find a good support system to lean on and people who do believe in your potential. They exist, I promise.
7. Look at how far you’ve come.
It’s so easy to take ourselves for granted, especially if you have perfectionistic tendencies. When you’re your own worst critic and only reward yourself for major accomplishments, it makes it rather difficult to accept who you are. As a result, you end up averting your attention to the people you want to be. Take a look at how far you’ve come instead. Who you are today is not who you were ten years ago. Just because you still have a lot of goals and dreams you want to achieve, doesn’t mean there wasn’t any substantial progress made. Give yourself the credit you deserve. Celebrate the good moments, even the small ones.