Jealousy is a feeling we've all experienced at one time or another. Whether it's jealousy of a colleague at work, a friend's success, or a romantic partner's attention, this feeling can be all-consuming and lead to toxic behaviors. So, what is the root of this feeling? Why do we feel jealous, and what can it tell us about ourselves? Let's take a deeper look.
Why Do We Feel Jealous?
Jealousy is often described as an "irrational" feeling, but there is a very rational explanation for why we feel jealous. Simply put, jealousy is a product of our ego. The ego is our sense of self, which is often based on comparison. When we see someone who has something we want—whether it's material possessions, success, love, or attention—we can't help but compare ourselves to them. This comparison inevitably leads to feelings of insecurity and low self-esteem, which then manifests as jealousy.
On a more primal level, jealousy also stems from our fear of loss. If we are in a relationship with someone we love, and they give attention to someone else, we fear that they will leave us for that person. This fear leads us to try to control our partner by becoming possessive and jealous. Unfortunately, this toxic behavior only pushes them away more.
What Can Jealousy Tell Us About Ourselves?
Jealousy can tell us quite a bit about ourselves. For example, if we find ourselves feeling jealous of someone's success, it may be because we feel like we are not good enough or that we will never be successful. Alternatively, if we are jealous of our partner's attention, it may be because we feel insecure in the relationship or fear that they will leave us.
Recognizing these underlying feelings can help us address them so that we can start to heal.
How can we overcome the feeling of jealousy?
Acknowledge your feelings.
When you feel jealous, it's important to acknowledge the feeling instead of pushing it down or trying to ignore it. Recognizing and accepting your feelings is the first step in managing them. Most of the time, we're not even aware of the things that make us feel insecure. To help develop awareness, you might seek therapy, talk to friends or family members about your feelings, or do some self-reflection to try and understand why you feel so insecure. Once you start addressing your insecurities, it becomes easier to deal with the jealousy that arises from them.
Don't compare yourself to others.
Comparing yourself to others is a surefire way to make yourself feel jealous and inferior. Comparison is a wasted emotion that will only leave you feeling disappointed in yourself. Instead, compare your past self to your current self and set goals for your future self.
Focus on your own strengths and accomplishments.
When you're busy focusing on what you've done and what you're capable of, you'll find that jealousy doesn't have much of a hold on you. Celebrate your own accomplishments and give yourself credit where credit is due. It's okay to be proud of yourself!
Give yourself permission to be happy for others.
It can be difficult to be happy for others when you're feeling jealous, but it's important to try to overcome that feeling. After all, nobody can take away your happiness unless you let them. So be happy for your friends when they achieve something great, and let yourself bask in their good news.
Jealousy is a feeling that is both universal and very personal. It's important to understand where our feelings of jealousy come from so that we can deal with them in a healthy way. Jealousy can often be a sign that we're not being true to ourselves or that we're not content with what we have in life. The next time you start feeling jealous, take a step back and ask yourself what it is that you're really feeling and why. Only then will you be able to deal with your jealousy in a way that is healthy for both you and the people around you.