How To Handle Your Jealousy
We’ve all experienced being in the grips of the green-eyed monster. This little monster acts with lightning speed at the slightest provocation and doesn’t stop until it’s very nearly achieved total destruction. In this case, the destruction of your relationships. Jealousy is an instinctive feeling, so, is it possible to keep it on a leash? You bet it is and you’ve already taken the most important step, just by acknowledging it. Big props to you!
Now, let’s get down to business and rein that monster in.
What is Jealousy?
From an evolutionary point of view, jealousy is a response to perceived threats. For men, it’s more attuned with sexual infidelity, stemming from the need to ensure children are actually theirs. Emotional infidelity is more likely to affect women, due to the need for support and security for children. For both sexes, its purpose is to anticipate and avoid surprise and betrayal, gain back control and seek reassurance for the genetic future.
Just like anger or sadness, it’s totally normal to experience the feeling. The problem is, like a lot of evolutionary responses, jealousy doesn’t work so well in the modern world. In fact, the whole concept of jealousy has morphed into something so toxic that it’s often the motivating factor for serious crimes, let alone a catalyst for relationship breakdowns and an overused premise for reality TV shows.
Therefore, while it’s a normal feeling, it’s very important to know when, or if, it’s justified. Most importantly, you need to know how to control it.
Don’t Act on Feelings of Jealousy
When we’re in love, it’s pretty much impossible to avoid having jealous feelings. They plague everyone at some point because we can’t stand to think of our partner being with, or sometimes even just thinking about, anyone else romantically. It’s also very hard not to act on the way we’re feeling.
“While jealousy is a normal feeling, it’s very important to recognise when it’s actually justified, and you need to know how to control it.”
However, just like it’s important to control your anger so you don’t actually punch a seriously unreasonable boss or customer, feelings of jealousy shouldn’t be acted on. The key is to accept and acknowledge them, rather than let them consume you, then find out where they stem from. Know also, that the monster doesn’t have to unleash, even though it’s clawing at your mind with all-consuming thoughts that seem hell-bent on coming out.
You’re probably thinking that’s all well and good to say, but how do you actually stop it?
Examine the Thoughts Behind Your Jealousy
Next time you feel jealous, there’s just one question you need to ask yourself:
“What am I thinking right now?”
Unless you’re literally watching your man passionately kissing another woman, thereby catching him directly in the act of cheating, it’s a big possibility that your own thoughts are feeding that little green monster and encouraging it to grow at rapid speed. Let’s look at an example.
You’re out at the pub and see your man chatting to a hot girl beside him at the bar, as he orders drinks. They’re both laughing. Despite the fact that you have no idea what they’re talking or laughing about, or how the conversation started, you feel that pang of jealousy and these types of thoughts start attacking your mind:
“He’s going to like her better than me.”
“I hate that women hit on him.”
“I hate that he talks to other women.”
“I’m not good enough for him.”
“I have to stop this happening or else I’ll lose him.”
He comes back to the table and tells you that the bartender is a funny bloke and had everyone in hysterics with his jokes. Because you’ve already indulged in negative thoughts about the situation, you barely listen. Instead, you either sulk, spend the night snapping at him or outright accuse him of deliberately flirting. You can imagine how he feels, when all he’s done is share a laugh over a joke, with the person standing next to him.
No doubt you’ll agree, that in this case, the situation didn’t warrant the barrage of negative self-talk, despite the pang of jealousy that instigated it.
Ask Yourself if Your Jealousy is Justified in the Situation
It’s time for some brutal self-honesty, in order to figure out if your jealousy is warranted in any given situation. First up, is your partner actually untrustworthy? Has he cheated on you before? Does he disrespect you, by flirting with other women in order to get an ego hit or to deliberately make you feel bad about yourself? If you’re nodding your head, the solution is simple. High-value women don’t subject themselves to that kind of treatment. If he’s not making you feel good or benefitting your life, move on.
Other than that, a good chunk of the time, it’s your own insecurities causing the jealous reactions that ruin relationships. Jealousy is often a front for more serious issues, like feeling self-conscious about your looks, thinking you’re not good enough for your man or past hurts from dating ‘bad boys’.
When you recognise this, you’ll become aware of the negative thoughts you have, in order to see they’re most likely unjustified. You’ll be able to acknowledge that, while your man might be talking to a hot girl, he’s not actually doing anything wrong, or intentionally trying to hurt you. Your own insecurities are simply being triggered by the scenarios and the solution is to start adjusting your mindset.
Write down the most common thoughts you have, when you experience a feeling of jealousy. Then, come up with an antidote to practice every time you have one. For example, if you thought:
“He’s going to leave me for her.” Replace it with, “he can leave me for her, but he’d be an idiot to do so.”
“I hate that women hit on him.” Replace it with, “I love that he’s an attractive man and, if I’m honest, I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
“I’m not good enough for him.” Replace it with, “if he cheated, it would prove he’s not good enough for me.”
“I have to stop this happening or else I’ll lose him.” Replace it with, “if he’s silly enough to lose me, I’ll be fine.”
Do you see where this is going?
Use Jealousy as a Trigger to Work on Yourself
While it might not feel like it, having your insecurities triggered is one of the best things that can happen, in terms of working on being the best you. It helps you recognise negative self-talk, so you can replace it with the empowering statements that reinforce confidence and behaviours of high-value women.
Follow this through, by doing the things you love and that make you feel like the prize you are. For example, next time your man is going out with his friends and you know there’ll be girls hitting on him, don’t react to the pang of jealousy. Accept that it’s there, then organise a girl’s night, do your favourite hobby or dress up and take yourself off to that movie he’s not interested in. Do anything that makes you feel confident.
“While it might not feel like it, having your insecurities triggered is one of the best things that can happen, in terms of working on being the best you.”
When you see your guy talking to an attractive woman, recognise it for what it is – your guy talking to an attractive woman. That’s it. Then, reverse it. Chances are, you often find yourself talking to attractive men. Does it mean you’re going to leave your man every time you do?
If, in the worst case scenario, he did decide to leave you for that woman, you’d have no control over it anyway. Nor would you want a man who can’t help but cheat on you with every pretty face he sees. If you can’t, for some reason, choose to trust your man, what kind of a life are you subjecting yourself to with him and why would you do it?
The bottom line is, though the little green monster might always be there, the less you feed it, the quieter it’ll become. Feed the high-value woman instead – she’s perfectly capable of slaying monsters.