How do I live without jealousy or what are healthy ways to move past it?
There’s no question about it: jealousy hurts because it makes us feel like we’ve failed. Any time those feelings of inadequacy show up, they arrive along with our nagging inner critic who can’t help but preach about all of the many ways we’ve managed to fall short.
As adults, jealousy shows up when we want something that someone else has, something that we feel incapable of getting for ourselves. Feeling incompetency like this puts us in an instant state of powerlessness and saps us of energy and drive.
As is typical with any emotion that we don’t want to feel, jealousy is a partner to shame. Any time shame is involved, we internalize it; we don't talk about it. If jealousy was something we felt we could discuss freely, it might not be such a big deal but anything that carries the stigma of shame is automatically deemed socially unacceptable and so we stay silent and shove the feelings down. We nurse our jealousies like little burning embers in our hearts, never speaking of them. They make us feel powerless and angry, insufficient and resentful, and as if those feelings weren't painful enough,our inner critic drones on in the background.. you’re not good enough..not good enough.. not good enough.
You’ll notice that the things you find yourself jealous of now are similar in flavor to the things you were jealous of as a child. This is because trauma repeats itself. For example: If you experienced frustration as a child because it was difficult to get the full attention of your parents, as an adult you’ll probably find yourself jealous of other people who get more attention then you do. While its true that we are legitimately jealous of things happening in the present, our current day triggers are merely a repeat of what we felt so distinctly as children.
So how do you work with it?
First, It’s important to remember that jealousy is a product of the personality structure (or ego). The ego is primarily concerned with 3 things: self preservation, physical well-being and the drive for personal power. The ego uses the voice of your inner critic (or superego) to manipulate you into providing it those things. Any directives based in fear, worry or self defense that you receive from your superego can be considered inaccurate, so when it tells you that you aren’t enough and have cause to be jealous of those that are, it’s lying.
Second, in order to get to the core of your personal jealousy trigger, you’ll need to go back into your childhood. Sit somewhere quietly and ask yourself: what were the things I was jealous of as a child? How did my parents handle my jealousy? Do I remember my parents being jealous themselves?
It’s probably not possible to free yourself from jealousy entirely but by developing an awareness of the things above, and a dedication to seeing the truth (which is that you aren't in competition for anyone for your own self worth) you can learn to be less affected by it.
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