It's frustrating when no matter what you do, you can't seem to stop jealous feelings from popping into your psyche, invading your mind and tearing at your heart. In a March 2011 "Psychology Today" article, Mary C. Lamia, a clinic psychologist, defines jealousy as feeling as if your bond with someone such as a family member, partner or friend is threatened by a third party. Other things also can trigger jealousy such as envy over someone's achievements, home or family life. Jealous feelings can be strong and cause you to withdraw, argue or become aggressive.
Label your feelings as jealousy and accept that you feel that way. Ignoring these feelings by pushing them away may cause them to come out in your actions. Exploring the cause of your jealous feelings can help you gain the necessary insight you need to deal with situations that provoke jealousy in a positive light. Change will take time; awareness is the first step.
Keep a journal for a few weeks or longer depending on how often you get the feelings of jealousy. Now that you are able to pinpoint your jealousy, take note of what caused it, what other feelings you felt along with it and how you reacted to it. You may find that with increased self-awareness, you also uncover feelings of inadequacy, unhappiness or insecurity. Like a mirror, your journal will show your reflection; if you don't like what you see, start making small changes.
Evaluate your life and who you are. This will assist you in finding out what is a top priority for you. Jealousy is natural when someone you are close to obtains something you have been trying hard to achieve or is better at something than you are, notes Raj Raghunathan, Ph.D., in an October 2011 "Psychology Today" article. If your top priority is advancing your career and your best friend gets there first, feeling jealous is OK, but letting it ruminate and ruin your friendship is not.
- Give yourself time to understand your thoughts and feelings.
- Seek additional assistance from a therapist or therapy group, for example, if you are unable to control your jealous thoughts and feelings.
- Call 911 or head to your emergency room if your jealous thoughts lead to feelings of homicide or suicide.
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