We’ve all been jealous at times. It’s normal and it’s healthy. (Healthy you think: how? In small amounts, it keeps us on the ground and prevents us from becoming too stuck up our noses. Now think about that). And yes it is one of the least bearable emotions, after heartache, I would say. But there is something that we can take and learn from it. What I would like to talk about here is the kind of jealousy that stifles and digests a person; the kind that eats you up and makes you want to destroy things.
Describing it, it is about someone who has or does something that you want very badly. You think you deserve it more than the other person and you have more rights. Maybe because you are more talented or have worked harder (you think) or just because you are you. But that is not all. On top of that, the situation renders you feeling powerless and helpless about it. Especially the latter part is the one that is so difficult to deal with. Powerlessness cuts you off from trying and being motivated to get it yourself too. So all that’s left is anger and resentment; bitterness if you’re unlucky.
On the flip side, if you’re at the receiving end of jealousy, it’s not easy either. The person who’s jealous blames you for being happy or achieved and puts you under pressure to stop being that. They make it very clear that you are not deserving of it. It’s easy to feel bad about yourself when this happens. It is all too tempting to downplay our successes, in order to appease the other person. This is especially true when it is about big themes, such as having a great job, a wonderful relationship, or a great figure.
A special category needs mentioning too. That is when your partner is jealous of anyone you are even talking to. More often than not, when that happens, we tend to avoid our other-sex-friends or colleagues more and more. We go to great lengths to avoid any suggestion that the jealousy is just. (I am not talking about the option that your partner is indeed right and you aren’t being very true to him or her…). And indeed, it does calm things down a bit; but does it solve it? No. On the contrary, it keeps it alive and kicking.
By downplaying your luck or achievement, or by avoiding the slightest suggestion that the jealousy is just, you take responsibility for the emotions of the jealous person. However well meant, it doesn’t help. You may think: how am I taking responsibility? And it’s a subtle one, I agree. But by making it less hard for the jealous individual, you are implicitly condoning the jealousy, agreeing to it, admitting it’s -if only partly- true. On top of that, you are suggesting that you can do something about it. That lets the jealous person off the hook!
So what to do then? It’s really easy…. and it is very hard to do. What works best is to leave it with the other person. You can tell them: ‘It’s your problem. Me being less successful is not going to help you. It will only generate two people who are not optimally successful, instead of one’. Or if you don’t (want to) tell them, you can radiate that energy. As such, you force them to look at what they actually CAN do and where they may be wrong in judging you for being less deserving or talented.
Sounds hard? Indeed, you would have to be consistent and very clear. That can be challenging. A jealous person generally has a Pandora’s box full of tricks to try and pull you into the destructive dynamic. They often have a very good sense of your weak spots and will wriggle their fingers in there quickly and eagerly. They are not easily going to give up their power over you. And you may feel harsh and cold to not cater to their plea, which often fluctuates between anger and being pitiful. Feeling guilty is a monster, too. How to keep strong?
There is a relatively easy thing you can do. And I’m telling you, it works wonders. This is what you do. When you are with them, lower your shoulders and power pose (see my blog about anxiety). Then picture their parents behind them. Realize, this is where it all came from… They didn’t make this up themselves. And lastly, make an inner bow to them, silently saying: ‘I respect your fate and I leave it with you’. You can make an inner movement of literally handing something to the person if you find that helpful. And if that isn’t enough, you can add: ‘If I carry it, it makes me weaker and it makes you weaker’. Then watch how the energy changes. Mostly it’s enough to do it once; sometimes you need to repeat it a few times.
Now, there was the other side too. There was the version that it was you who was the jealous one. How does it work in that situation? In fact, it works the same, just reversely. So, you imagine your parents behind you. You may feel the energy and as such sense from which parent this came. You picture the object of your jealousy in front of you and you say: 'It's mine. You can leave it with me. I will pass on the part that isn't mine to whom it belongs'. And then you silently imagine giving the burden to whom it came from, if appropriate with a bow.
If all goes well, you should feel relieved in BOTH situations. Do let me know how this has worked for you!