Jealousy is one of those icky emotions we all feel but hate admitting to. After all, we don’t call it the “green monster” for nothing. Jealousy causes tension in our relationships with others, unnecessary suffering for ourselves, and even disastrous consequences when we let it consume us.
Luckily, we can always build our emotional awareness. With this awareness, we can identify our emotions and use that knowledge to proceed mindfully in nearly any situation. In the case of jealousy, there are four great weapons we can wield to combat those monstrous, icky vibes and turn the tables in our favor.
1. Check The Facts
We often allow our emotions to consume us full force. However, emotions are merely a response, which can lead us into inaccurate thoughts. When jealousy starts bubbling up inside of you, take a moment to decompress. Then, go back and check the facts of the situation. Ask yourself if jealousy really fits the facts and list any evidence that supports your emotions. Not only will this provide you with a distraction that can calm you down, but it may also help you rationalize your way out of becoming that “green monster.”
2. Talk Out Your Feelings
Nobody teaches us to talk through feelings, especially when society views those feelings as negative. When we bottle up our emotions though, resentment and other poisonous feelings fester. If you start feeling jealous, talk to the anyone who’s involved in the situation. If this isn’t possible, talk through your feelings with another safe, trustworthy friend. Express your feelings using “I” statements and “when/then” sentences. You just may find that the other person understands exactly what you’re feeling, and together, you can work through your emotions healthily instead of diving into a massive fight later.
3. Practice Opposite Action
Sometimes we flat-out know that our jealousy isn’t justified, and that’s OK. In those moments, label your feelings. Say, “I feel jealous because…” then follow that with, “but there’s nothing to fear because…” After identifying those feelings, push yourself to act against your emotions. For example, if you feel like giving your friend the cold shoulder or downplaying your emotions, try forcing yourself to react in an energetic, positive way. If you fully commit to opposite action, you will not only save face for others, but you also just may turn your mind towards acceptance… and watch those jealous feelings fade away.
4. Motivate Yourself
Many people say that negative feelings, like anger and pain, can serve as the best motivators towards changing our own lives. When we feel jealous of others, we can also use those same thoughts and emotions to push ourselves towards new goals or aspirations. Are you envious of someone’s promotion? Start brushing up your résumé and get to networking! Do you feel jealous when your significant other talks to people who you think look more attractive than you? Use that motivation to make healthier choices or spend an extra few minutes getting ready in the morning. You never know what wonderful feelings may spring out of your newfound motivation.
As William Penn once said, “The jealous are troublesome to others, but a torment to themselves.” It’s important to remember that jealousy hurts us the most, not the people we feel jealousy towards. So the next time you feel that “green monster” working its way up your back, take a deep breath, center yourself, and work through your feelings with one of these combat weapons. You just may end up achieving far more and finding greater confidence in every aspect of your life.