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Battling the green-eyed monster:overcoming jealousy in relationships
Jealousy, the horrendous green beast no one wants to keep company with. Whether one is the giver or receiver of the emotion, it can cause a great deal of discomfort and distress. Jealous feelings can also have irreparable consequences for relationships at work or among siblings if they are not assuaged and dealt with.
A story of jealousy
I had a friend, one whom I had known for a good twenty years. A brilliant lawyer, she had her career very much going for her, working as a litigator of various prestigious law firms. Where relationships were concerned, however, she did not have much success.
The ugly green beast in her soon reared its head. Not feeling a sense of balance in her life, she became jealous of any of her female friends who were able to achieve some measure of success in their careers and start families as well. This even applied to myself.
Her envy became an obsession. Indeed, the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder that she had under control surfaced.She started imagining that someone in church wanted to marry her just because he talked to her, and started alienating herself from her friends. She soon had to check herself into a hospital because of a nervous breakdown.
Consequences of jealousy
As evidenced by the lady above, Individual and personal feelings of jealousy can have very negative consequences for relationships. It is vital for anyone, whether the owners or receivers of feelings of envy, to find positive ways of addressing them. So what are these consequences?
Jealousy nurtures feelings of self-doubt
A sure sign of insecurity, jealousy nurtures feelings of self-doubt. Fear and insecurity arise when a person starts comparing himself to another. Not feeling as good as another person can lead to much negativity and hatred.
Jealousy can turn into an unhealthy obsession.
If people get too consumed by jealousy, they can develop unhealthy, obsessive feelings that affect others and ultimately, themselves. It is easy to keep oneself in the right frame of mind when jealous.
As the lady in my story showed, jealousy can trigger nasty compulsions that can literallyturn life upside down!
Jealousy can ruin relationships.
This is by far the most obvious consequence of jealousy. It is a tough call to communicate with someone who is jealous of us. No one wants to be near anyone who looks green,at least figuratively!
My friend has lost almost all her friends, who initially tried to help her overcome her jealous feelings. Green was obviously not a suitable color for her.
It is a leading cause of abuse
Obsessive feelings of jealousy can lead to verbal and even physical abuse. Vindictive feelings can have grave physical and emotional consequences.
My friend in the story example actually called me several times calling me names and sent cryptic, insulting SMS messages when I tried to bridge the communication gap. She even extended the verbal abuse to members of her own family, especially to her sister whom she compared herself to, being a prominent lawyer as well.
Mastering personal feelings of jealousy
to a greater or lesser degree, we have all had some feelings of jealousy, either of the good looking schoolmate who managed to get dates or the one who always seemed to get such good grades. Perhaps it was the co-worker who got that well-deserved promotion promotion instead.
The feeling intrudes upon our lives. How can we address these feelings?
Take time to think about what causes the jealous feelings.By this, I mean that it is good to admit that one is jealous of a more talented co-worker, their friends or siblings. Self-awareness is the first step to putting unhealthy feelings into perspective. Not admitting to these feelings only serves to hinder one's progress in every area!
Stop comparing yourself to others.
Much jealousy arises because of unnecessary comparison and wanting to have what others do. It not only stalls one from moving forward, it breeds feelings of hatred that only swallow others and oneself up if they manifest.
Be You - in the words of good friend and fellow writer Ishwaryaa Dhandapani. Accept yourself as you are, a person with unique strengths and weaknesses..and there will not be a need for comparison to others or that nasty inferiority complex!
Ask why the other person is causing you feelings of being threatened and if that is accurate.
If another person arouses feelings of being threatened, ask if there is really a threat in the first place. Put the other party and situation into perspective. There may not be a need for such feelings at all!IIi used to be a little jealous of other colleagues whom I saw as popular teachers until I realized it was a matter of perspective. As long as I taught with integrity,a clear conscience and self-respect, the students held me in respect as well!
Ask if that is what you really want for yourself.
A feeling of jealousy may help a person feel vindicated for a while. Certainly, for a time, the feelings feel right and justified in situations where there may be some personal bias involved.
in reality, the feeling may not be one that is actually wanted. The jealous monster can be actually cloying and leave a sense of being "eaten up."Not something that sits well with everybody!
Battling jealousy at work or among siblings
On the other side of the coin, we may become victims of jealousy ourselves. This is especially so at the workplace, when our achievements may overshadow those of our colleagues. At home, we may incur the jealousy of our siblings.
While their own feelings of jealousy may be something that only they can address, these feelings do affect the environment and ultimately yourself. So how do we address them at work?
Evaluate one's own behavior.
When another person is jealous of us or starts giving off unhealthy vibes, it may not be right to blame them entirely. It is also good to ask if we had a part to play in nurturing these jealous feelings.
Perhaps the we had flaunted our achievements in front of them in a fit of happiness without realizing it. The other party may have worked hard and contributed just as much, but was not acknowledged by superiors or at home, our parents. So it is good to be just that bit mindful and considerate. This can apply at work or among our siblings too.
Get the support of your boss or parents.
This does not in anyway mean going up to them, tattling and complaining about the jealousy of the other party. It means making them aware that the other party has jealous feelings which perhaps could have been unknowingly nurtured by them.
In this case, give your boss or parents a heads up that you are going to talk to your coworker or sibling about what may have made them uncomfortable. this is important if it affects work as a team or if we have long standing relationships with parties involved.
Have a tete a tete with your jealous coworker or sibling.
Wait for an appropriate moment to have a good talk with the jealous coworker or sibling. Find the root cause of these jealous feelings. Again, while it may be something they need to address, we sometimes have a part to play in nurturing these feelings as well.
Build relationships with our coworkers or siblings.
Get their understanding and support. They will tend to be less jealous if they accept you.
As parents or managers, it is important to observe objectivity and neutrality in dealing with children or coworkers, vital if the family or workplace is to function as a unit. Everyone's contribution should be valued and is essential.
Jealousy in relationships
There is yet another level of jealousy. Of course, it involves man-woman relationships! Many would have wonderful advice to offer on these, but here are a few tips.
Relationships are about trust, so giving a better half the benefit if the doubt is the best thing one can do! It helps him or her to develop a greater sense of security in the relationship as well. Lengthen the leash and do not be too controlling.
Trust is two-way traffic, so if a better half extends that trust, it is our responsibility not to abuse it. Be honest about who you meet, and the simple things that fill your day. One sided trust without the support of fulfillment from the other party does not breed healthy relationships.
Don't play mind games.
One may have an overly jealous partner. The worst thing to do when your other possessive half confronts you is to go up in arms with a non-answer or to evade the issue. It prolongs the confrontation and intensifies hurt feelings.
Address what is bothering him or her, and let him or her know if he or she is being stifling or possessive.Be considerate of the jealous feelings, letting him or her know tactfully that they are encroaching into your individual or personal space.
Jealousy is indeed a green eyed monster to be chased away before he disrupts relationships and even self-esteem. He can creep in for any number of reasons, but there is one thing to do-chase him away!
Copyright (C) Michelle Liew All Rights Reserved
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