John is 25 and has just started his own development company … He is ambitious and has just built a large designer home. It is magnificent with all the luxuries you can imagine in a modern home … Pool with built in bar, cinema room, wine cellar … You name it and this house has it.
As John talks about his home, feelings of inadequacy surge through my mind as I think about what I don't have and why I was not able to build my own designer home. As these feelings swell inside me, I start to question why I feel so down and where these feelings are coming from.
Afterwards as I sit and contemplate why I was feeling so down, it hits me like a tonne of bricks; It is the green-eyed monster raising its ugly head. I am feeling down because I have discovered that John who is younger than me is achieving more than I have achieved and this is why I have inadequate feelings inside me. It is Jealousy and it is a curse eating at my insides, devouring my self-worth and challenging my self-esteem.
Why am I feeling so jealous?
Jealousy is a complex set of feeling and emotions that are instinctive within everyone. The feelings of jealousy creates doubt and insecurities that pose questions that challenge your personal worth against particular situations or events. For example, you may experience feelings of paranoia when you notice your partner showing interest in the opposite sex. Your rational perspective on things goes out the door and you start to question your own self-worth and beliefs with statements like "Why does he want to talk to her? What does he offer?" These questions raise doubt and challenge your worthiness of being with your partner.
The issue with jealousy is that it masks deep seeded feelings of possessiveness, insecurities and shame that are carried around from childhood. At some point in your childhood you may have witnessed relationships that were destructive or experienced a parent who criticized you about your looks, your weight or your abilities. These comments and experiences from your childhood are memorized and internalized and manifest themselves when you encounter similar feelings in your life. For example if you were criticized and put down when you were younger for being overweight then you will carry those feelings into romantic relationships you may have in your life. As soon as your partner acknowledges someone else's looks, or looks at the opposite sex you begin to feel jealousy creeping up inside you as you internally confront these demons.
Three simple ways to rid yourself of jealous feelings
Try not to compare yourself to others. This may be easier said than done however it is important to realise that everyone has a different beginning with different support mechanisms and different reference points in their life to call on. In the example above, it is naive to think that my personal situation and experiences in life is exactly the same as John's and thus I should compare my circumstances and experiences to John's circumstances and experiences. John may have received family assistance that has provided him with the platform for him to start his own company. John may have won money or received an inheritance that gave him the financial backing for him to build his home. You just don't know what someone else's situation is and to compare yourself and your worth against someone else's life is totally unrealistic.
To overcompensate the feelings of low self-worth, some people use jealousy as a game to build their own self-esteem and self-worth. Jealousy is not a game and should not be used for personal benefit. This tends to manifest itself in relationships where one partner may flirt constantly with the opposite sex to obtain attention. This is usually done when the partner comments on another person's appearance, their wit or their personality in front of their partner. This can be demeaning and can drive a huge wedge in the relationship. Using jealousy games in the hope of receiving attention from your partner is a dangerous game that can end very badly.
The last tip that I can over to assist with jealousy is to breathe and calm your mind. Find a cool quiet place where you can close your eyes and relax. Breathe deeply and focus your mind on different parts of your body. Shake the tension out of each part of your body until your muscles start to relax. This process allows you to concentrate on your body and removes the focus away from those feelings of low self-worth. Once you have mastered this process, you can then work through your feelings and emotions that have caused your jealousy. For example you could visualize your partner flirting with others and see yourself not reacting or responding in a jealous way. Instead you visualize yourself being calm and detached from the situation. At first this may seem strange but the more you practice with visualization techniques the more easily it will come to you to the point where jealousy will no longer cause feelings of low self-worth.