Jealousy: Getting to Know Yourself
O’ beware, my lord of jealousy; it is the green-ey’d monster, which
does mock the meat it feeds on. (Othello Act 3 Scene 3)
Emotions, unlike behaviors, are not good or bad. They are not positive
or negative, nor are they right or wrong. Emotions are simply
feedback– information telling us what we like, and what we don’t
like. Emotions alert us to how we are experiencing our environment.
Every emotion we experience offers us important information, which can
help us make critical decisions in our lives. Experiencing jealousy
from time to time is normal, although most of us are uncomfortable
acknowledging it; we feel ashamed, believing it is “wrong” to feel as
we do. We do not enjoy the feeling of jealousy, and we wish it would
just go away.
Part of why jealousy can be so overwhelming is because it is not just
one emotion. It is often a complex bundle of emotions; including, but
not limited to, fear, insecurity, anger, envy, and anxiety.
Unfortunately, like many unpleasant emotions, the more we try to
ignore jealousy the worse our experience of it becomes. Jealously, in
particular, can really take hold and fester if it isn’t addressed
openly. (And rejecting our experience only makes us feel worse).
So what do we need to do? How can we transform jealousy into a
positive experience? The answer is actually much simpler than you
might expect; we must pay attention to our experience of jealousy, and
discover what it is trying to reveal to us.
To begin, examine the feelings contained in your experience of
jealousy. Do you feel fearful? Envious? Angry? The first step is
identifying the various components of your jealousy, so that you can
determine what the issues are and how they need to be addressed.
This weeks challenge is intended to encourage you to pay more
attention to your feelings in order to learn from them. I would
suggest that you start with the more pleasurable feelings, and work
your way up to the harder ones over the course of the week.
Step One: When you experience a strong positive emotional response,
try to give yourself a few moments to notice it before you respond.
How does it feel in your body? What are the thoughts that accompany
these emotions? How is noticing your feelings different than simply
acting on them?
Step Two: When you feel comfortable with step one, try applying this
technique to more challenging emotions (ie jealousy).
Step Three: Notice, and record, what you have discovered about
yourself from accepting your emotions– rather than applying the usual
technique of running from them.
See you next week!
Diana has worked in adult and adolescent mental health for the past 18 years. She has pursued comprehensive training in cognitive behavioural therapy, and has developed an expertise in working with Eating and Mood Disorders. Diana has complemented her training with extensive training in yoga, meditation and bodywork. The diversity of Diana’s training, and clinical experience, has enabled her to develop a unique and effective approach for supporting those wishing to reintegrate body, mind, and soul.