Jealousy in any relationship can be poisonous and detrimental to the success of the relationship. Jealousy is an emotional reaction to which the root is fear of loss leading to feelings of insecurity. We may fear loss of the relationship, loss of self-respect, or even fear being made to look like a fool. Jealousy leads to us becoming over-protective and we end up creating the very experience we are defending against.
Overcoming jealousy is a transformation. It begins with self-awareness, and realizing that the stories we are projecting simply are not true. We must initially learn to contain our emotions and not irrationally react to them. Although these feelings are very uncomfortable it’s actually good, because you are forced to look at them and use these emotions as an opportunity for growth.
This is not a quick process, it requires a lot of inner work, self-reflection, and compassion for ourselves. However, the reward is fulfilling and successful relationships.
The following 6 steps empower you to overcome jealousy and journey the path to greater happiness:
1. Trust: Believe your Partner
Easier said than done? Not really! Trust really is the foundation of a good relationship, and the great news is that it’s a choice. Either trust your partner or don’t. Social media, emails, cell phones, etc. has made it too easy to “spy” on our love interests, but spying has no positive effect on your partner’s behaviour, or their faithfulness. Constant questioning and accusing is sabotaging to the relationship and insulting to your partner. Remember, they are with you because they want to be, so assume the best, not the worst.
Studies shows us that it takes 21 days to develop a new habit. So, “fake it til you make it”. Act as if you trust them and believe them until you actually do.
2. Practice Non-Attachment
It’s only when you are attached to how you think something should be that you experience suffering. In truth, everything will always be
OK no matter what the situation or outcome.
The real secret is to stop searching for external sources – including other people – for happiness, and learn to find it within yourself. Having expectations of others to meet your needs just sets you up for disappointment, which leads to more frustration, resentment, and unhappiness.
3. Stop Comparing Yourself to Other People
Jealousy stems from low self-esteem and the false belief that you are “not good enough”. News Flash: There is only one YOU! You are magnificent in your own unique way. No one can compare to your unique greatness, so don’t waste your energy comparing yourself to others.
If we are inwardly unfulfilled, and do not love ourselves, we can never be happy. We will always be searching for that missing piece of self that we think is somewhere outside of us. Once you realize that nothing out there will ever complete you, that you are whole, and complete, and lovable, just the way you are, then you will begin to love yourself and stop searching outside for your sense of “being OK”.
Life is uncertain and full of change, and the only way to be comfortable with that is to let go of any attachment to the outcome of anything, and have faith in the process. Learning to love and accept yourself as you are, is a very big step towards being able to do this.
4. Identify your Beliefs
We most often believe our own fears. ex. “you are not good enough”, “you are undeserving of a great relationship”, etc. We then unconsciously set out to prove these fears by accusing, questioning or spying on our partners. I invite you to be still and to look within, and self-reflect what your core emotional beliefs are. What do you really deep down believe about yourself? Where did these beliefs initially come from in your past? Our childhood wounds show themselves often times in our adult romantic relationships. This is why relationships are often quoted as being our greatest spiritual teachers. Understanding your core beliefs is extremely important. This awareness will empower you to change these feelings of insecurity and fear, and to stop succumbing to make believe scenarios that trigger jealousy. Have compassion for yourself, and remind yourself that these negative and uncomfortable feelings are based upon your past and not your present.
5. Power of Imagination
We worry about 90% of what is not even reality. Instead turn your focus on what you do want. The law of attraction is always in effect. Like attracts like. Think about the great qualities your partner possesses and all the wonderful reasons you choose to pursue a fulfilling relationship.
Buddhism, as well as A Course in Miracles, both teach that all our negative emotions that leave us confused, disturbed, or unhappy are DELUSIONS, and these delusions are like mud that dirty water but never become an intrinsic part of it. While acknowledging that we have delusions, it’s important not to identify with them. Instead we can aim to identify with our pure potential, which is always love-based, and develop the wisdom and courage to overcome our delusions.
Imagination can also be used to control your behaviour. Visualize yourself as happy, peaceful, and calm in what may be uncomfortable, or jealousy triggering situations. Programming your behaviour through visualization prepares you, enabling you to contain your emotions in the future, and not irrationally react to them.
Talk to your partner and address your beliefs that trigger jealousy. If your partner is flirtatious and it bothers you, then talk it out. They are likely oblivious to how their actions are bothering you. Clear, sensitive communication is key. Express your needs, no one is a mind reader. Be a solution finder and not an accuser.
Once you are aware of your core beliefs, and that your jealousy is projected stories based upon past wounds and fears, you can then share them with your partner, and even giggle about it together. Sometimes these make believe stories we create are so “out-there”, you can’t help but giggle.
Jealousy is overcome with self-awareness and self-love. It’s not about changing our partner, it’s about managing our emotions, being self-assured, and knowing that you really do deserve a great relationship. It’s about eliminating false beliefs that trigger your emotions and adopting new beliefs that eliminate fear, with self-love.
To maintain a great relationship, it’s vital to focus not on the threats that aren’t there, but rather on what’s important