William Shakespeare said it best in his notable play Othello, ““O, beware, my lord, of jealousy; It is the green-eyed monster, which doth mock the meat it feeds on.” This, and many other quotes about jealousy continually sum up the same thing—how destructive jealousy can be. Although many people do not like to admit it, jealousy is something that affects everyone in one way or another at some point in their life. Though jealousy may seem like a simple and small issue in the grand scheme of things, it can be a detrimental factor in any relationship, friendship or workplace.
What is Jealousy?
Many people may find themselves asking, “what is jealousy exactly?” This is a common question, and unfortunately, many individuals define jealousy differently, which makes it very difficult to pinpoint exactly what classifies as jealousy. The online dictionary gives the basic definition of jealousy as, “feeling resentment against someone because of that person’s rivalry, success, or advantage.” Another jealousy definition that it offers says, “Characterized by or proceeding from suspicious fears or envious resentment.”
Although jealousy is something that is most commonly associated with romantic relationships, it can affect so many other areas of life as well. Jealousy can infect friendships, family dynamics, the workplace, and even opinions about strangers when it is allowed to work at its full potential. Nobody and no relationship is exempt from it.
Why is Jealousy Bad?
When looking at jealousy quotes, it is easy to see exactly how damaging jealousy can be and how nobody has anything positive to say about it. Psychologist Dr. Robert L. Leahy says, “Jealousy is a killer. Relationships end because of jealous conflicts and people kill other people because they are jealous.” Jealousy, if left unattended can grow and evolve into sheer hate for a person and eventually reflect back to the ones you love. Jealousy has been a huge cause for breakups and divorces everywhere.
What is the Difference Between Jealousy and Envy?
Sometimes, people try to use the terms jealous and envious interchangeably, but there are actually differences between jealousy vs envy. When looking at envy vs jealousy there are a few things that separate them. Wise Geek describes envy as dealing with an actual act while jealousy deals more with a person.
- For example, if a person in a workplace begins to resent their coworker because the coworker is advancing to a higher position quicker then that is more envy because they desire the position. More than likely it is not the fault of the coworker, and so it reflects back to the actual act and circumstance instead of a person.
- If someone is resentful of a person, such as in the circumstance of a relationship where that person may be flirting with their significant other, this is more jealousy. Jealousy focuses more on the rival instead of the actions or circumstance.
- Envy can also be classified as desiring something that someone else has. It tends to be the root of most criminal thievery.
- Both feelings can be detrimental to any situation so it is important to be aware of your feelings and seek different ways for overcoming jealousy.
Dealing with The Green Eyed Monster
Jealousy is a normal feeling that everyone experiences, so it is important to know how to deal with jealousy. Sometimes it is difficult discovering exactly how to get over jealousy and what methods work the best for you, but it is vital to find ways that help with the problem. If you continue to allow jealousy to take over your thoughts, it can manifest into many more issues and potentially sap the happiness from your life. Simply feeling jealous for a moment is not a problem, but when you dwell on it, act on it, or allow it to escalate then it can become destructive.
1. Recognize the Problem
The first method on how to overcome jealousy is to realize that there is an actual problem. Jealousy can sometimes be hard to pinpoint, but as soon as you recognize that it has become an issue you should confront it. It is very easy to dismiss that there is even a problem, but this only causes a bigger problem.
- First, know the signs of jealousy. Jealousy is an internal problem that usually stems from some type of insecurity going on inside your own head. Some of the signs of jealousy are:
- You begin to obsess over your partner or the rival.
- You become controlling toward your partner, family or friends.
- You begin having anxiety toward situations at work that involve others or you begin experiencing a desire to be like others.
- You begin feeling insecure and becoming aggressive toward others because of that insecurity.
- If you feel you are experiencing feelings associated with jealousy, be attentive to them and if they continue to grow, you should consider getting help or trying methods of releasing those feelings.
- If you do not realize you have a problem, you will not take steps to fix the problem.
2. Talk About It
In order to manage your jealousy, it is absolutely vital for you to let it out. Jealousy is completely normal so the people you are experiencing it toward will probably understand that you are feeling that way, especially when they are your partner or friend.
- If you do not say it out loud, jealousy will continue to manifest and control your life. You will end up showing it instead which can cause all sorts of problems and even insecurities for those involved.
- If you are in a relationship, more than likely the person you’re with does not even realize that you are jealous. Talk about it with them.
- If an individual is triggering the jealousy in any way, or some specific situation is the cause, be sure to let them know. They will more than likely try to do things to calm your mind and insecurity.
- If you are in need of reassurance, let them know that too. The right individuals will not want to do anything to trigger jealousy.
- Overall, people cannot help you if they do not know the issue.
- If the case is extreme, it may be time to let it out to others rather than just the ones involved in order to get advice.
3. Get Extra Help
Sometimes, in different relationships, jealousy has already become an issue that has driven a wedge between two people. If this has become a problem it may be time to seek extra help.
- In romantic relationships, this is necessary in order to make your relationship continue to work.
- Do not be afraid to get couple counseling to help deal with your jealousy together, especially if you are both being affected by it.
- Form a support group. The people who love you want to see you happy, and jealousy is not something that fosters happiness. Having people you can go talk to can oftentimes help the venting process.
- Having others involve can also help you get more advice on how to deal with the problems. More than likely, those who know you may have experienced jealousy before as well and may have great advice on how to fix it.
4. Know the Triggers
Another great way to overcome jealousy and learn to deal with it is figuring out what triggers it for you. Is it seeing your spouse talk to people of the opposite sex? Is it having your coworker outdo you in a test or promotion? Is it when your best friend buys expensive clothing and you can’t? All of these things can be triggers.
- Figuring out what causes you to be jealous can better help you assess the problem, where it lies, and how to fix it.
- If you know what is causing the problem it will be much easier for you to stop the things that are causing it.
- Figure out the root of your jealousy. Is it because your parents never had enough money? Is it because you have been cheated on before? When the problem goes back this far to the root, it is vital to cut off everything at the root and regrow.
- Knowing this stuff as early as possible can help you on your journey to dealing with jealousy.
- It can also have people help you on your journey as well.
5. Work on Yourself
Essentially, jealousy stems back to you and only you. Although sometimes other people can intentionally do things to try and make you jealous, it will always go back to some issue you have on the inside. Whether it is insecurity or a bad experience, there is always something more you can do to help yourself.
- First, learn to manage your emotions. If you are overly emotional, unstable or struggle with anxiety, it is important to figure those things out early on.
- Seek help if you need it. There are oftentimes many prescribed medications that can help alleviate stress, anxiety and emotional outbursts.
- Find ways to de-stress and meditate. Stress is a great cause of some jealousy and being overly emotional.
- Focus on your positives. Learning to love yourself is one step toward not being jealous.
- Know yourself. Learning about yourself and what causes your feelings can help you better take control of them.
Jealousy is not something that will ever go away. It is something that has been here from the very beginning of time and something in our human nature that will always be around. Although it can never be eradicated, it can be managed. Learn what causes jealousy for you individually and practice these methods on controlling and managing it in your life. These things can help you live in harmony with the monster.