Do you remember a time when you felt jealous?
Jealousy is a complex emotion.
It is both human and animal and is directly related to self-esteem. When self-esteem is threatened, we become jealous. The more fragile our self-esteem the more likely we will be jealous of something or someone.
We usually think about jealousy in a romantic sense. But there are different kinds of jealousy.
There is sibling jealousy-when one sibling thinks the other is getting more than they are. There is co-worker jealousy and friend jealousy.
Once a relationship starts to become permanent, ongoing, or one that we count on, there’s a dependence that occurs. If both people are committed, there is an interdependence that occurs-that the other person is going to be available. Sometimes things get in the way and that person isn’t available and we feel jealous. Maybe they are on a trip without you, or out to lunch with another friend. It’s really just fear.
I’m sometimes jealous of my husband’s job when he is paying more attention to it than me. That’s another kind of jealousy.
Then there’s this thing called envy. Envy looks like jealousy, but they aren’t the same. Jealousy requires a 3rd party-person, job, sport, etc.
Envy is when you want what someone else has-wealth, status, opportunity, etc.
Are we envious or jealous?
You can be both, but you can be envious without being jealous. Envy helps us realize what we really want.
Who is more jealous-men or women? Men feel jealousy in greater numbers than women. It depends on the circumstances. Men feel greater jealousy when there is a sexual infidelity. Women feel more jealous when there is an emotional infidelity-an emotional connection with someone else- because intimacy for women is more than the physical. It’s also emotional.
What creates jealousy?
It comes from insecurity. Fear of abandonment. The fear they may leave you. It’s traumatic. That feeling of abandonment is innate in all of us. Like feeling we aren’t good enough. When we don’t feel valued or important to a love interest or friend. It stems from low self- esteem.
Mistrust and deception also create jealousy.
General anxiety creates jealousy. We all have it and it changes daily depending on what’s going on in our lives-trying to control things so that bad things don’t happen.
Social Media creates jealousy-FOMO-Fear of Missing Out-It can be devastating. We spend so much time watching other people’s lives and thinking they are wonderful and exciting and we compare our lives with theirs. In reality we are only getting a snippet of their life and only what they want us to see. Then you feel, I don’t measure up, and have a false perception. The reality of what you are seeing doesn’t show the background of fighting siblings and family arguments.
I think it’s fascinating that jealousy has a purpose. It’s important. An emotion you don’t want to ignore or suppress. It is an emotion to be heeded and paid attention to. It signals that a relationship is in jeopardy and needs awareness and attention around it. It signals you aren’t paying attention to the relationship.
Maybe your significant other is having a distant reaction, doing things without you and you wonder, what’s going on here. Jealousy surfaces and you feel insecure. That’s telling you that you need to reconnect and reassociate with that person.
The biochemistry of jealousy- Within your body, a chemical reaction takes places when you feel jealous. We have hormones, cells and receptors. Jealousy releases hormones. These hormones race through the body to look for cells to bond to and they together look for a receptor. Once they hook up, another chemical is released. This causes additional feelings and reactions. The result is much lower vibrational emotions-hurt, fear, worry etc. Then you start to make more stuff up in your mind to make it all make sense. The chemical reactions are unfortunately furthering you down the road of jealousy, not taking you away from it.
What can we do?
- Take a time out. Ask-what is really going on here? If I know it’s insecurity, what am I feeling insecure about?
Almost always there is a fear of abandonment from a friend, job, partner, etc. You need to reassure yourself that you are ok. And see what’s underneath the surface
- Accept how you are feeling. Don’t feel shame. Don’t make yourself wrong or judge yourself. It is a human condition. It doesn’t mean you have to live with it because you can make changes.
Take action to reinforce self-confidence.
Make a list of all your abilities, talents skills-like a resume. What are you great at? What are you pretty good at? What are you moderately good at? Review that list morning and night for two weeks. You will begin to feel good about yourself. You will start noticing a change within you. You will feel it on the inside.
- Learn a new skill. Take a class. When you engage in education and high level conversations and really take it in, you raise your awareness, which raises your self-esteem.
- Re-write your story. Reflect on the past relationship or the story you have around your jealousy and re-write it from a much more positive experience, as if you are talking to your younger self. Your story can now include how you are overcoming your emotion of jealousy around this experience.
- Be mindful. Pay attention to what your mind tells you. Challenge your own assumptions. Catch yourself when your mind is reeling towards jealousy.
- Have open honest communication with the other person-partner, friend, boss-just say what’s true for you. It brings awareness to them and opens the door for them to express themselves-open dialogue.
- Practice gratitude-what are you grateful for, what do you have? House, transportation, food. Be aware and be thankful.
You can regain your personal power, self-confidence and inner peace. It has always been within you.
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Cheryl C Jones is a facilitator, author, mind-set coach and podcast host who works with individuals and corporate work teams to quickly get to the issues inhibiting them from reaching their goals, overcome the issues and achieve real success.
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Kathi Holzschuher is a marketing strategist, content writer and podcast producer.
She works with Cheryl C Jones as marketing manager and podcast producer.
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