There’s a lot of stigma associated with jealousy, which makes it hard to talk about, let alone admitting to it. It’s seen as a negative emotion and leaves others with the impression that you are immature and underdeveloped if you choose to be open and honest about it. In fact, jealousy is usually synonymous to clinginess, which isn’t deemed popular today. Detachment, on the other hand, is because it’s considered hip and cool to keep a distance. As a result, jealousy is often frowned upon in society. But instead of normalizing it, people usually feel invalidated for experiencing that emotion. So, how can jealousy be approached in a sound, judgment-free zone? And moreover, how does one learn to cope with it? Psych2Go shares with you 7 ways to deal with jealousy:
1. Accept and monitor your jealous thoughts and feelings.
People often associate jealousy with low self esteem and neuroticism. While that rings true for some circumstances, not all jealousy is linked to those attributes. In fact, according to psychologist Robert Leahy, jealousy is often a layered emotion that is rarely that black and white. In some cases, jealousy can reflect high self-esteem, because the individual refuses to be mistreated. Evolutionary psychologist David Buss states that jealousy has evolved as a mechanism to defend our interests. After all, it was our ancestors who drove off competitors that were more likely to use that adaptive emotion. Overall, jealousy is a way of survival because it means defending ourselves and the interests that serve us well.
Therefore, when experiencing thoughts and feelings of jealousy, it’s important to accept them, rather than dismiss them because they’re seen as “bad” or “wrong.” Understand that there’s a difference between feeling jealous and behaving jealously. It’s normal to have certain temptations, but learn not to act upon them. Recognize that your jealous thoughts aren’t the same as reality. Since perceptions have the power to dictate and distort truths, this is why it’s so important to monitor and keep your jealousy at bay. Using cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a great way to do just that.