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Overcoming Jealousy

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

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Now we come to the last and most important part of this treatise – practical steps towards reducing and dealing with jealousy. At the outset let us be clear that there is no such thing as “why” to jealousy. A strong emotion like jealousy does not answer to logic. Hence it is futile to either try to rationalize it or to tell someone “don’t be jealous”. In fact, you can’t even tell yourself that!

Here is a systematic action plan to overcome jealousy:

Acknowledge and accept that you do have jealousy in you, identify particular persons or situations where the jealousy is most prominent. Make sure you have not left out anything. If possible, confess to someone close to you about your jealousy.
Mark out chronologically the history of how this jealousy developed, in short points. Write the factors that aggravated the feeling in your mind.
Compare with any other jealousy phase you may have been through and see how strong it is now. Try to recollect what the outcome of earlier jealousy was, or how you managed to overcome it. Explore your past shortcomings or set- backs in life and ask yourself whether you have been able to resolve them, or whether they are being carried forward as baggage making you feel insecure in today’s relationships.
List out your achievements in any related or unrelated fields, particularly in relationships. Reinforce to yourself that you are capable of “winning” relationships without having to fight for them.

Differentiate between:

  1. Competitiveness
  2. Rivalry
  3. Envy
  4. Jealousy

Select from the following feelings what are applicable to you and which ones you are feeling strongly due to your jealousy: anger, hatred, possessiveness, loss of self esteem, mistrust, suspicion, despair, guilt, helplessness. Monitor each of those you have identified over a period of time and see if they are increasing, decreasing, or are stable.

Try to understand that if your loved one is showing love or attention to someone else, it need not be your failure. You need not compare the two relationships. He may have so many unconnected reasons for his behavior.

Check out what steps you have already taken (if any) to tackle the situation, whether they have helped, or even made matters worse. Become aware of any behavior pattern that you have succumbed to and are finding it difficult to come out of.

Check how jealousy has affected you so far:

  • Improved your relationship with the person you feel jealous about
  • Worsened your relationship with that person
  • Improved/worsened your relationship with others
  • Improved/worsened your own peace of mind.

This itself will give you a clear idea of how much jealousy is damaging you. By being jealous you are in some way acknowledging that you are inferior. Visualize what would happen if you change your attitude. If you are asking yourself “why should I?” then perhaps you need to seek the help of a friend or counselor to answer that question. Get convinced that jealousy is a trap you have fallen into, and only you are suffering because of it.

Start taking these steps at your own pace, but with consistency:

Try to and understand and empathize how the affected person(s) feels because of your jealousy.
Befriend the rival if possible. Get to know him better and try to win him over by your love instead of your hatred.
Think of any win-win alternatives, where you can get what you want and the other person does not suffer any damage. Try to collaborate instead of compromising.
If you do not get cooperation from the other person, go ahead with the collaboration process regardless, reminding yourself that you are doing it for your own peace of mind.

You need to ask yourself at this juncture whether you feel complete without the person due to who you have become jealous. If yes, then your dependency is actually worsening your relationship. Get out of the dependency trap, and learn to love yourself. Be sure to aim for acceptance of the other person’s behavior, not just tolerance.

Monitor progress. Review periodically and check how you will prevent yourself from falling into the trap again later.

About the author


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