Meaningful Paths

What jealousy really means & how to stop feeling jealous

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Jealousy is a normal feeling, do not feel any shame around this feeling. It is what you do next that is important, and your actions that define you, not your feelings. Jealousy often arises due to a fear of losing something or in comparing yourself to others. Focus on becoming your best self, focus on creating deep meaningful relationships (friendship, romantic, family), and give people space to create strong social bonds with others without it challenging your own unique connections. If someone you care about is laughing with others, allow them this freedom and look at this person through a lens of optimism and strength. Be grateful that they are social and have many warm character traits. Focus on being the best version of you and do not try to emulate others. By focussing your attention and energies on this it will help you on how to stop feeling jealous.

This will also help you on how to deal with jealousy in a relationship. Of course there are boundaries. For example, if your partner is openly flirting with someone in front of you, then naturally this is something for you both to discuss and to work on. However, if you ensure that you focus on being the best version of you, you understand your emotions with clarity, you understand emotional regulation, and you learn to feel comfortable with your partner being social with others; you will then have a much clearer notion on the division between feeling jealous often, compared to the situation where your partner has actually acted in a disrespectful way. Sometimes jealousy is purely on our shoulders and something for us to work on, at other times people act in an unkind manner and we have a right to feel upset. First we must begin with more detail on what causes jealousy, and then we can explore how to stop feeling jealous in a mature way.

What causes you to feel jealous?

What causes jealousy?

Emotions are neither good nor bad, they are signals to tell us something and are their to help us. Once we begin to understand our emotions with more clarity, we can understand such signals and act in a way that is healthy for us. The challenge is many of our emotions become mixed up with certain challenges that do not us us in danger. Think about anxiety that could help us to flee from a dangerous animal. In modern times we can become anxious about social situations which is very understandable and normal, albeit it will unlikely present a real threat to our lives.

Jealousy is a very unpleasant feeling and can result in anxiety and anger to ensue. Like any other emotion, the feelings that we get under the umbrella term jealousy are ultimately their to help signal to us that something is happening to protect us. The feelings of fear and shame can be foundational in the feeling of jealousy. The feeling of pride may then overcompensate and result in you acting in a protective manner. The more we understand these processes the better we can become at pausing, taking a breath and looking at things logically. From this we can make choices that are mature and choose the best action to take in a given situation. Your jealousy may be founded on false information and anxiety, or your worries may be founded on very real facts. Having said this, once you begin to understand your emotions with more clarity you can at least choose one of several actions to take even if your concerns are founded on very solid facts.

What causes jealousy? How to stop overthinking in a relationship?

  • Fear – we fear losing something, a person in our life, a position in a company, a standing in a sport.
  • Needs – certain needs are not being met and we can feel jealous of others.
  • Values – core values can be hurt and result in us feeling jealous. Perhaps a core value of trust has been damaged and this leads to the feelings of jealousy in future scenarios.
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Jealousy can control your life

How much more harmful are the consequences of anger…than the circumstances that aroused them in us.” 

Marcus Aurelius

We will explore tips and strategies on how to stop feeling jealous and also how to deal with jealousy in a relationship; but first it is important to understand anger at a deeper level. The emotion anger is very natural, but if if is allowed to take control it can be very destructive. If you understand anger in more detail and understand how to calmly dissipate this emotion before it grows, then you will have the ability to handle life’s challenges whether it is a situation on how to stop feeling jealous, how to stop overthinking in a relationship, and many other life events.

Stoicism is an admixture of ancient wisdom from Greek and Roman Philosophers, and this practice is excellent for understanding anger and how to train yourself to be a calm individual.

Circumstances versus the aftermath of anger

Ask yourself what would the best version of myself do? What do I want to be remembered for? What would I want my children or future family think if they saw me now?

Compare the circumstances you face right now compared to the scenario that will arise if you act with anger. You may think that you will feel better by acting in anger, but in truth you will pour fuel onto the fire. Once the anger dissipates and you awaken again, the real world situation will be much worse and you will likely then fall into a stage of shame, increased fear and anxiety. Those who support you now may no longer support you if you act in anger. The person who may have wronged you will look like the good person if you act in anger.

Tell someone how you feel, take up some exercise with a partner and channel this anger until you feel more calm.

Controllability

Anger often arises because we lack control of of things that we wish to have a handle on. Self-efficacy is a key foundation in human health and psychology. This is the feeling that we have the ability to achieve something and we have the skills to accomplish such tasks.

Focus your energy on what you can control emotionally and physically. Let go of the things you cannot control. You can only control your actions and not the actions of others. Take responsibility for your feelings and take action on them in a mature way that is healthy for you and for others. The more you do this the happier and healthier you will become and also the more attractive you will become to others; people resonate with calm heads and positive people.

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How to stop feeling jealous

What further measures can we take on how to stop feeling jealous? How to stop overthinking in a relationship?

Think positively

If your partner is laughing with another person, it could simply be laughter. You are with a very likeable person that you love, learn to focus on their positive traits. When we look at our partners through the lens of strengths we can see what is best about them rather than being frustrated with them. Explore our page strengths spotting to learn more about strengths.

If someone is better than you ate something, learn to look at the positives; you can learn from them and push your boundaries. Learn to enter the room with curiosity and humour rather than jealousy or shame. Overthinking quotes and anxiety worksheets pages at Meaningful Paths can help you put things into perspective.

Explore mindfulness & self-worth

Part of feeling jealous involves lacking self-belief; we either believe we are not as good as someone else or we can believe we are not good enough for someone else. When we learn to love ourselves, continually grow as a person and push our boundaries, we can let trivial matters go.

Here are some helpful Meaningful Paths resources:

Think about the true case of your jealousy

Has your partner done something wrong? Are they flirting with someone, touching someone elses arm, laughing at all of their jokes, gazing at the other person? Or is your partner simply chatting and being nice to another human being?

Is someone in a sport being arrogant towards you? Or are they confident and being playful and perhaps they want to help you?

Only you can make these realisations, and in life for some people one scenario is true and for someone else another scenario is the true.

The best starting place with a negative emotion is to not fear the emotion and to enter this emotion with curiosity.

  • Where in my body do I feel – my stomach? Is my heart racing?
  • What deeper layer is this feeling founded on? Think of this feeling like an iceberg; what needs are not being met? What past traumas or life events have perhaps made me feel this way? Am I lacking in self-worth or confidence in this area? Be open and honest with yourself and then make an action plan for the happiest, healthiest and best version of you.

Our emotional intelligence course can help you with this.

Talk about it

Confide in a best friend, and tell them about a situation that occurred that made you feel this way. Ensure that this friend has a calm head and is often balanced in life as this will help you gain a broader perspective.

If you partner has done something; by telling a friend about this in confidence, your friend may help you to realise that our partner may have done nothing wrong, you may have a lot of pressure on at work and your friend may help share with you hat they have noticed you have had a lot of anxiety of late. Alternatively your friend may share a personal story with you and may help you see the situation with more clarity.

Gain perspective

When we dream big, when we volunteer for charity projects, when we try new hobbies and push our boundaries, when we read books with varied conflicting opinions, when we make new friends in new social circles and when we explore life itself; we will gain a bigger perspective on life.

Is this matter trivial and is it worth ending a relationship over? Or has this situation deeply hurt one of your core values? Is this situation causing you to retreat or is this situation causing you to grow? Is this life event making you act in anger or is this life event making you act with curiosity?

The best plan is to reject straightway the first incentives to anger, to resist its very beginnings, and to take care not to be betrayed into it: for if once it begins to carry us away, it is hard to get back again into a healthy condition, because reason goes for nothing when once passion has been admitted to the mind, and has by our own free will been given a certain authority, it will for the future do as much as it chooses, not only as much as you will allow it. The enemy, I repeat, must be met and driven back at the outermost frontier-line: for when he has once entered the city and passed its gates, he will not allow his prisoners to set bounds to his victory.”

Seneca

Jealousy quotes and ancient wisdom can help us to pause and reflect.

Concluding thoughts

We have explored what causes jealousy, we have explored how to stop feeling jealous and we have explored what causes jealousy and how to deal with jealousy in a relationship. As we have seen these areas overlap into different domains in life from romantic relationships to friendships and also in areas of competition. Focus on controlling anger, focus your attention of the positives and strengths of others, push your boundaries, look at the bigger picture in life, and learn to understand your emotions with more clarity; from here you will make mature choices that are best for your health and your growth and understand more clearly why you feel jealous.

Thanks for listening.

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References

Anger Management: 8 Strategies Backed By Two Thousand Years of Practice (dailystoic.com)

A Stoic Response to Anger (dailystoic.com)

What Jealousy Is Trying to Tell You | Psychology Today United Kingdom

Image References

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