Despite its frequently negative connotation, jealousy is surprisingly normal and, in fact, can be healthy. Insecurity, in contrast, tends to be more insidious and can erode not only your self-esteem but also the foundations of relationships. At its most severe, jealousy often leads a person to either become internally consumed with concern or outwardly confrontational. The combination of jealousy and insecurity can be complex and more toxic than either of these feelings individually. The desire to stop being jealous and insecure can lead to changes in thought and behavior that support healthier relationships.
Improve Your Self-Esteem
Insecurity is a product of a perceived lack of value of yourself and, according to psychologist Mary Ainsworth, appears to be created during infancy. At this precarious stage, she explains, the infant is provided with a feeling of self-worth or value through interactions with the primary caregiver. As an adult, you tend to carry this value and react accordingly. Making a conscious effort to change how you value yourself can help reduce feelings of insecurity and build up your self-esteem. This can be accomplished by focusing on your goals, interests and accomplishments and pursuing them independently. The more you achieve for yourself, the more you will likely value yourself.
Identify Facts, Not Perceptions
Identify what factors might be triggering your feelings of jealousy. Without identifying a clear example of the behaviors of friends or partners that appear to make you feel jealous, you don't have anything to address. If you feel increasing jealousy because your partner is spending time with someone else, it's important to make a clear statement to him about the behavior and not speculate about underlying intent. Sticking to the facts can help you see the situation more objectively and better understand why you feel jealous.
Check With Your Social Supports
Talk to close friends, relatives and even a therapist or counselor about your feelings. Friends and relatives can help you see things from their perspective, which may include factors not immediately evident to you. Speaking with a therapist or counselor can also provide this perspective, but without inferring underlying meaning. For example, if your partner has been spending more time than normal with an attractive co-worker, a therapist might point out that your partner has been putting in additional hours with all of his co-workers, not simply the attractive one.
Discuss Your Feelings With Your Partner
Talk to your partner or friend to whom your feelings of jealousy and insecurity are directed. If you have a healthy relationship, feeling a bit of jealousy or insecurity is normal and can be viewed as part of the process of growing together. Keeping the facts at the forefront and pointing out how you have been feeling can also give your partner a different perspective to his own behaviors. As part of your process of working on improving your self-esteem, your partner can also be supportive and aware of the potential consequences of his behavior on your relationship.
- University of Minnesota: Romantic Jealousy: Cause and Prevention
- SAGE Open: Jealousy and Relationship Closeness : Exploring the Good (Reactive) and Bad (Suspicious) Sides of Romantic Jealousy
- NHS Choices: Overcoming Jealousy
- Psychology Department @ SUNY Stonybrook: Security and Attachment
- Communication Reports: Romantic Jealousy and Relational Satisfaction: A Look at the Impact of Jealousy Experience and Expression
- Prague College of Psychosocial Studies: Understanding Coping With Romantic Jealousy: Major Theoretical Approaches
Maura Banar has been a professional writer since 2001 and is a psychotherapist. Her work has appeared in "Imagination, Cognition and Personality" and "Dreaming: The Journal of the International Association for the Study of Dreams." Banar received her Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Buffalo State College and her Master of Arts in mental health counseling from Medaille College.