Once upon a time, I was an incredibly jealous creature. I didn’t like it when people looked at my partner, nor did I praise my friends. Their achievements were a painful thorn in my side. The feeling of being inadequate tore me apart from the inside, the inner critic reveling in the devastation. So how did I tackle it?
Why Are We Jealous?
Usually, we start feeling jealous because we are insecure about something. The thought of being outshined is just too much to handle. Furthermore, the side eyes the women of the streets give to our amazing husbands make our blood boil. What if we are not enough? Could it be that he would prefer someone slimmer? Someone with longer hair or a job?
After the feelings of fear, and never being enough, settle in, the inner critic comes out to feast. Our inner voices tell us stories of terror, shattering our confidence little by little. Eventually, the pressure becomes too much, and we end up snapping at our loved ones. Or the alternative, munching on the comforting pint of Ben’n’Jerrys.
Something has to be said about healthy jealousy, though. I know, I know. It seems impossible. Yet I truly think there is such a thing, and it should not come as a surprise when I say it relates to marriage.
You see, my friends, when you love someone, you will fear losing them. The unsettling feeling of something better swooping in and taking your man/woman from you can be difficult to handle. Nevertheless, you must persist. While the feeling itself is fine, going borderline crazy is not. Talk it out with your partner, and find ways to tackle your insecurities.
#1 Master Your Inner Storms…
As mentioned before, it’s usually our insecurity that triggers this bothersome emotion. It follows, that it is your job to figure out what did you in. In this task, doing a self-inventory can help identify your shortcomings, and how to improve on them.
The most important mission you have in life is to figure yourself out. Only you can accomplish this task, so take it with all due seriousness. You need to take a deep look at yourself and ask yourself the necessary questions. Why does this bother me? Is there a legitimate reason I can’t be happy about their success? Am I feeling like something is being taken away and if so, what is it?
Once you start thinking in a way that looks in, rather than out, you’ll find that tolerance comes easier. Perhaps it wasn’t your neighbor that was annoying. Maybe it was you all along, being intolerant! Find your center, and be kind in the process. There is no point in giving your inner demons more room than they already have. Radical acceptance can truly help in this task.
#2 And Then Work on the Outer Storms
After you have your own boat in order, it’s time to take to the wilds.
As an empathetic woman, this part comes easy for me. I can put myself in others’ shoes quite effortlessly. Understanding your friends or family members struggles might help ease the bitterness. After all, it’s very rare that life just hands over the blessings to someone without making a trade of it. Try to get to know the person and their story. Perhaps you’ll be inspired by them, instead of feeling the seething bitterness for not having what they have.
Something else to think about are Soft Skills. Oh boy, I can’t even begin to explain how hard said skills are for me to master! As a Borderline, this is one of my weakest areas. Sure, I know how to manipulate people, but that’s hardly ideal for how I want to live my life. Persuasion, on the other hand, could often come in handy!
In the same vein, I am practicing my flexibility, conflict-resolution skills, and teamwork. This is such a mountain to climb, as I’m terrible with change, blow my temper easily, and tend to be a lone wolf. However, now that I am married, the importance of these skills is more important than ever before.
#3 Importance of Communication
Communication deserves its own segment on the list. I might as well call it an art since it combines non-verbal with verbal in a dance of effectiveness. Knowing when to be gentle, and when to stay stern are problems I still haven’t resolved in their entirety. Thankfully, I’m a natural listener and love learning about people. Humanity is just too fascinating to pass up!
Giving and receiving feedback took me a while to learn, and I’m far from mastering it. The prick of jealousy still nibs at me whenever I feel I’ve not performed perfectly. Being kind and graceful instead of bitter and vitriolic takes a long while to achieve. Especially, if the latter had been ingrained into you as a primary coping mechanism.
Other than that, my tendency to dissociate on the spot makes it difficult. Try to keep yourself engaged, even if it’s difficult. Show the one you are communicating with that you also care for their view and feelings. Usually, the conflict fizzles out when mutual respect is in place. Doing this will also bolster your confidence because you are handling the situation with class instead of letting the banshee rip.
Also, don’t forget about your strengths! I found out that my communication skills improved due to my writing so much and being good at it. I often sort out issues on paper, so, I could transfer this skill to spoken word as well. Think about where you shine, and let it work for you to help you improve all areas of your life.
#4 Remember What You Have
Gratitude is such a used-up word in our current era, but it’s so important. How often have you forgotten all about that amazing job you did, just because something was ‘better’ in your eyes? It is such a shame that this happens, but sometimes it can’t be avoided. Brighter things tend to outshine the things we deem dimmer.
Once again, it’s up to you to make those dim things glimmer. Think about why you don’t appreciate your own efforts as much as the next person. Could it be that you’re not angry at them, but instead at yourself? Have you indulged in laziness? Perhaps there are things you can fix within your life to not feel so inadequate.
Remember, though, that despite your shortcomings, you are just as amazing as everyone else. You have plenty to be thankful for, starting from your breath. If it suits you, make a list of things that you have that are well and good. Remind yourself of your strengths, and shine a light on the parts that need it. You are more than your flaws and frustrations, after all.
Life is hard, and jealousy can make it harder. To combat the growing anxiety, do your best to master your Storms, both the inner and outer ones. Learn to communicate and brush up on your DBT and Soft Skills. These should be taught in schools if I’m honest. Especially with the youth and population as a whole feeling worse by the year.
And lastly, remember what you have. Focus on the positive, and refuse to give the b**ch inside too much footing. Acknowledge it, but let it know the time has come for you to mature. This little devil can help you recognize the things that need improvement, but if it gets too rowdy, you have to be able to get it under control.
If you worry about losing your spouse, talk about it. Life is too short to waste on bitterness and all the other hindrances. I’m sure that you, as much as I want a life of harmony. A life of fulfillment by the side of those who you love, and who love you back. No way we will let a little jealousy take it away!