Jealousy’s no fun. Jealousy in relationship is often an indication of insecurity.
It tends to lead to bruised feelings at best, and shattered relationships at worst, when it’s allowed to rule one’s mind.
The thing is, though, that it is a perfectly natural human emotion that arises in response to a number of things.
It can spring up in all kinds of relationships; romantic relationships, familial relationships, platonic relationships with your friends, professional relationships with co-workers, etc.
So what do you do about it?
Like we said, it’s a natural emotion, so you shouldn’t pretend it’s not there or try to bottle it up or suppress it; that tends to lead to discomfort, and eventually, an explosion.
You also don’t want to act on jealous feelings or wallow in them—that never leads to good places.
So what is a jealous person to do?
Well, we have a number of suggestions that may help you control and manage your jealousy; not suppressing or bottling it up, but dealing with and working through it.
1. Examine Your Relationship
If you’re feeling jealous, there’s usually a reason or cause for it.
It may not be obvious at first. But if you pause and look closely at the relationship wherein jealousy is arising, and—this part is important—be brutally honest with yourself, even if it hurts, you might be able to get a clearer idea of exactly why you’re jealous in the first place.
This can help you figure out what, if anything, to do about the situation, and help you control yourself and prevent taking actions you’ll regret because of the jealousy.
For example, maybe you’re jealous of a close friend of your partner’s for apparently no reason, but when you think closely about your relationship with your partner, you might realize that you’re hurt that they don’t spend very much time with you, and they spend it with their friend instead.
This knowledge can give you a concrete issue to speak with your partner about.
These things may seem obvious in hindsight, but in the moment they can be anything but, so do yourself a favor and sit down, take a deep breath, and reflect on your relationship a bit.
2. Examine Yourself
Relatedly, sometimes you also need to examine yourself when dealing with jealousy.
In the same way that thinking carefully about the relationship that the jealousy is rooted in, it’s also very important to think about yourself, and especially your own insecurities.
Sometimes, you might be able to do this on your own, but sometimes you might benefit form seeing a therapist who can guide you through the process of deep introspection.
You have to be ready to face ugly truths about yourself; nobody’s perfect, much as some people try to pretend they are, and it can be hard to contemplate the darker, uglier parts of your personality, but it’s sometimes necessary if you want healing to happen.
You might discover that your jealousy has more to do about your own fear of loosing people than it does with anyone else’s actions.
Or perhaps you will find that your jealousy comes form a painful, but ultimately justified place, and you’ll be needing to have a long, hard talk with someone close to you in order to deal with it.
Whatever happens, you’ll come out the other side with a deeper understanding of yourself, which is always useful, and can help you become a better person.
3. Talk to Friends
Friendship is one of the most wonderful things in life, so don’t forget to consult your trusted friends when you’re dealing with a case of painful jealousy.
You may find that talking about it to someone who has nothing to do with the situation at hand is relatively easy to do, and it may help you get some clarity.
Alternately, it may simply be cathartic to vent your frustrations and hang out with someone who cares about you and de-stress a little.
You’re still going to have to deal with the root issue, but resting and recharging with a friend can be invaluable in giving you the strength to face the situation, whatever it may be.
4. Be Kinder to Yourself
Jealousy stems—at least in part—from one’s own insecurities and fears.
There may be events or problems in one’s life that act as a catalyst for creating jealousy, but the emotion itself can be traced back to what you’re afraid to lose, or what you’re afraid you’ll never have.
So be nice to yourself. Relax. Do something fun.
Talk to a counselor, or have a chat about your insecurities with a friend who you know will build you up and reinforce your frayed nerves.
5. Identify Your Jealousy Triggers
Try and think about what has caused you to feel jealous in the past; this can give you a big clue as to what might be causing it to manifest right now.
Perhaps you’re typically jealous of people who have more than you, or perhaps you’re more commonly jealous when it seems like someone may take something away from you, as just a couple examples.
6. Practice Self-Control
And realize you have a choice; you may not choose to be jealous, that’s just a feeling inside you that appears without asking you first, but you can choose whether or not to act on it.
This can be incredibly difficult, and don’t be upset if you mess up a few times.
Just apologize to anyone you’ve hurt, resolve yourself to do everything in your power not to let it happen again, and move on.
7. Face it, Don’t Ignore it
Just about the absolute worst thing you can do when dealing with jealousy is to pretend it’s not there.
Because when you do that, it doesn’t actually go anywhere, you just stop consciously noticing it.
But because it’s still there in the background, it’ll still affect your actions without you even realizing it.
Pretend jealousy doesn’t exist and you make yourself a slave to its influence. Face the fact that you, like every other human being on the planet, sometimes feel jealousy, and that’s okay.
Then, resolve yourself to do something about it if necessary, or simply practice self-control as described above. But absolutely do not just pretend it’s not there.
8. Recognize What it Really Is
When it comes down to it, jealousy is actually a kind of worry, compounded with anger and agitation.
Think about it; when you’re jealous of someone, you tend to worry a lot. If you’re jealous of a coworker who just got a promotion, you worry that you’ll never get one.
If there’s jealousy in your romantic relationship, you’re probably worried about loosing your partner.
If you’re jealous of, say, your sister’s relationship with your mother, you worry that you’ll never be close to your mom like she is.
If you’re jealous of your friend’s attractive body, you’re worried you’ll never be in that good of shape. And so on, and so forth, ad nauseum.
The point is, in the end, jealousy is just a kind of worry, and you need to understand that before you can properly deal with it.
9. Accept Uncertainty
Jealousy and uncertainty go hand in hand.
Consider that if jealousy is a kind of worry, and worry is created by uncertainty, jealousy exists because uncertainty is an inherent fact of life.
If we were certain about everything, knew exactly how things were going to go before they did, there would be no reason for worry, no cause to be jealous.
But uncertainty does exist, and you’ll never grow past your base jealousy until you acknowledge and accept that uncertainty is inevitable.
Simply accepting, I mean really accepting, deep down, that uncertainty will be in your life no matter what you do, can be strangely calming.
This doesn’t mean to never try to prevent or change anything, it just means to accept that once you’ve done everything you can to effect a desired outcome, you then need to simply accept that you’ve done all you can, and to worry further is pointless.
It sounds very simple in theory, but in practice it’s anything but. However, reminding yourself of this reality can be a very powerful tool.
10. Let it Go
And finally, the logical conclusion of accepting uncertainty, is letting go.
Again, we must stress this doesn’t mean you should do nothing. If someone has wronged you, by all means, face the, explain how you feel.
But if they still don’t listen, no matter how much it hurts, try to remind yourself that it’s not your fault.
You can’t control other peoples’ actions (and to try would be not only unethical and manipulative, but unhealthy for yourself too).
So examine yourself. Examine the situation. Try to figure out why you’re jealous or what’s the root cause of jealousy in your relationship.
If necessary, take action; confront those who’ve wronged you.
Then, no matter what happens, take care of yourself, be kind to yourself and others, accept uncertainty, and let go.