Jealousy & Suffering

Most of us deal with jealousy in some form, and when it comes up, it’s never pretty.

It might be jealousy when your boyfriend seems interested in someone else, or when one of your best friends becomes close with someone else, or when your parents give a lot of attention to your sibling, or when other people are having more fun than you.

Why do we get jealous? What harm does it do us? How do we overcome it?

I’ll admit that I get jealous, and the me that gets jealous is not my favorite self. I don’t like myself when I get jealous.

So what do I do? I watch myself. I see it happening. I acknowledge it. And then I give myself a hug.

Let’s look at little deeper at jealousy first, and then go over what we can do about it.

What is Jealousy?

Jealousy is simply an emotional reaction to a past wound.

It gets triggered when something in the present reminds us of what hurt us before.

We fear abandonment. Our parents get divorced, our spouse cheats on us, our best friend leaves us. And so, because this hurt us so much, we remember it in our hearts, and it becomes incredibly difficult to forget it.

It becomes a part of us, this wound, this fear. It surfaces at times when it’s not helpful. It starts to control us.

And so this wound becomes a controlling factor in our lives, and we become the worst selves that we can be.

We don’t want that. Let’s learn to be our better selves.

How to Heal the Wounds and Overcome Jealousy

Jealousy works because it happens without us realizing it’s happening, or without looking deeper into what’s happening. It has an unseen power over us, because it’s unseen.

So first we have to see it. Recognize when you’re jealous. Don’t look away. We don’t like to acknowledge the bad parts of us, because then we’re admitting we’re not always great. But it’s important, because if we don’t, it has more power over us.

So recognize it, acknowledge it.

Then realize that it’s an old wound from the past. This is your old self that’s gotten hurt, and because of this, your old self is scared, angry, anxious. Afraid of abandonment. Angry at others for threatening to abandon you.

This is perfectly OK. It’s completely understandable to be hurt when someone violates your trust. Your old self is justified. But that’s in the past. You need to give your old self a hug, and say that it’s OK to grieve, but also acknowledge that you need to let go and move on and grow.

It also helps to realize that the past wound only happened because you had a self-centered view of the universe. You took your parents’ divorce, or your spouse cheating on you, as a judgment of you as a person, as an abandonment of you after they judged you and found you lacking. That’s not true, though. They left for reasons of their own — they were afraid, they were dealing with their own issues of abandonment and jealousy, they weren’t mature enough to commit, and so on. The reasons they left had nothing to do with you, and if you realize that, it might hurt less.

Heal the wounds with compassion. Then grow.

How to Grow

Let’s heal the wounds and then become our better selves:

  1. Don’t act on jealousy. When you recognize it, pause, watch the fear and the urges to act jealously, and just sit and watch it. Don’t let jealousy rule your actions. Take some time away from the action if needed.
  2. Imagine your better self. What’s the person you want to be? Do you want to be jealous, or would you rather be secure in yourself, confident, happy, and happy for others? Imagine this better self, then act consistently with that self.
  3. Relieve your suffering. When you act in jealousy, it hurts others. It hurts you. This doesn’t feel good. Learn to see the suffering you’re causing, in others and in yourself. And realize that’s not how you want to live. This suffering is entirely caused by acting out of fear. Instead, act compassionately — with compassion for others but also yourself, by letting the fear go.
  4. Let go of your attachment. You are holding onto a past hurt, and are hurting your current self because of it. Learn to let go. Practice letting go. It gets easier as you practice.
  5. Be less self-centered. When we are jealous, we think the world revolves around us. My friend shouldn’t be getting so close to that person — doesn’t she know that I’m more important? My spouse shouldn’t have fun without me — don’t they know that I’m the only one they should care about and have fun with? No one should go on amazing trips and go to fun parties without including me. And so on. Of course, the world doesn’t revolve around you (or me), and so once we remove ourselves from the center of everything, we can expand our heart to include everyone, not just us. Be happy for others. Feel their pain and fear and anger and jealousy too.

Jealousy isn’t something you can just get rid of immediately, like an old coat you don’t want anymore. It’s a wound that needs healing, a hurt that needs compassion. Moving beyond jealousy is a set of skills you need to learn with practice, and a trust that needs to be earned with time.

 

Time to focus on a new you 🙂

A, x (1)

Self Care Challenge Day 1: Keep A Journal

21 Day Self Care Challenge - Day One

Hey lovely person!

Welcome to the very first day of this 21 day self care challenge, and I’m delighted both that you have decided to increase your self care, and that you’re here.

The first thing you’re going to do is look at one of the simplest and most effective activities you can do to care for yourself – journaling.

Have you ever noticed that running commentary in your head?

You know, the one that keeps you awake at night exploring ‘what if’s’ and ‘why did I’s?’ and ‘I can’t believe I said’s’?

It’s maddening – Especially that 3am ‘wide awake and can’t get back to sleep’ one that replays every little thing you ever did wrong, or every little thing you said that you regret, or reminds you of every niggle and worry about the future. Wouldn’t it be amazing if there was a way of just shutting the damn thing up?

Journaling is the way – Journaling takes all the confusion from your head and gets it down on paper. That fog of words and confusion that’s so exhausting yet robs you of sleep can be tamed and quietened by the simple act of writing, helping you to get a good nights sleep.

Firstly, it means you no longer have to hold on to it yourself. It’s written down, so you can delete it from your mind, like clearing your cache or deleting cookies: it frees up space. Imagine how brilliant THAT would feel! Like taking off a heavy backpack!

Also, there’s something about finding the right word to exactly describe the feeling that’s fogging up your thoughts that really brings you clarity – ‘no, it wasn’t irritation I felt, it was exasperation’. See – slight difference, but big change in meaning.

And once you understand more about how you’re feeling, you can go about making changes.

Writing is the perfect release valve for the stresses of everyday life. It’s a place to process events safely, to acknowledge accomplishments and reduce stress, and the therapeutic effects of journaling are widely documented.

By increasing your self knowledge you learn about what you want, like, need and desire, making it more likely that you’ll achieve these.

It also provides a great place to safely express frustration or anger, and a damn good vent and rant can really help to recognize what the real problem is and decide if and how you want to tackle it.

So, todays self care task is to set up a journal, and your first entry will be ‘how does it feel to be embarking on this self care journey’.

You’ll use this journal throughout this challenge as a way of learning about yourself – what you enjoyed, found difficult, didn’t like, found surprising, so don’t skip this step.

Although I recommend using a paper journal, if you live with others and are worried about confidentiality, you may prefer something online that you can password protect.

I recommend Evernote: It’s a free app, and syncs between all devices so you can use anywhere, but what I like most is the organisational side of it: It’s set up as notepads, so perfect to use as a diary and you can add photos, blogs, videos – pretty much anything!

So jump in, get started and reap the benefits!

Don’t be fooled by it’s apparent simplicity, journaling is an incredibly powerful tool.

Stay tuned for Day 2.

Wherever you are in the world, have a lovely day ❤

A, x (1)