By Megan Stubbs
While many of us understand the term of jealousy, it can difficult to pinpoint it to just one emotion. Jealousy can manifest in different ways, such as grief, rage or an expression of insecurity. It can show up in our lives when we see our former partner make a connection with someone new or everyone around you is getting engaged, and you’re still single. Unfortunately, jealously is something that never goes away, but that doesn’t mean you can’t change the way you experience it.
Envy is often a flag of where our insecurities lie, but much like an iceberg, that isn’t always easy to see the entire thing. Once jealousy comes into the picture, it can be difficult to dive down and see what the root of the problem is. For instance, when your ex-has someone new, cue the jealousy. Are you really jealous that they have someone new? Or is it a reflection of an insecurity with yourself? Maybe you feel like there is some inadequacy in you that they are with someone and you are flying solo.
It can be problematic to let jealously permeate and sour your life, so here are some tips to fight back.
“Why do we feel jealousy? Therapists often regard the demon as a scar of childhood trauma or a symptom of a psychological problem. And it’s true that people who feel inadequate, insecure, or overly dependent tend to be more jealous than others.”
—Helen Fisher, anthropologist, researcher, and self-help author
When you start to confront envy and how it manifests in your life, you can start to break it down and clearly define what it means to you. Yes, jealousy can hurt, but if you lean in and feel it, and resolve not to act on it, you can begin to lessen its power over you. During this time of introspection, it is essential to be kind to yourself. Journaling is a great way to list all of the ways jealously emerges in your life. Try to discern whether it is desperation, anxiety, feelings of being worthless, ugly or simply lost. Don’t feel like you have to traverse this landscape alone. Reach out to your tribe and talk about these concerns.
Try to learn what your triggers are, whether they are social media platforms or the comparison game (“So and so has it so easy! Why is my life so hard?”). Insecurity and jealousy often go hand in hand.
Once you start to do the work to lessen the power jealously holds over you, you will regain some serious personal power. Tapping into that power and learning to love yourself without the validation of another is a great attribute to add to your life and future relationships. Keep in mind that while you are traversing this space, you are bound to make mistakes. There is no one way to navigate unlearning jealousy; as your foundation gets stronger, the more self-reliant you will become and learn to have validation within yourself.
We all experience envy, but it doesn’t have to be a crippling feeling or perceived character flaw. Chances are that when you confront jealousy, it becomes a much more manageable emotion than you feared it to be.
Dr. Megan Stubbs is a Sexologist, the job you never saw on career day. For insightful tips or a good laugh, find her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and SexologistMegan.com