How not to be a jealous person

How to Not Be Jealous: 12 Tips and Tricks

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Jealousy has a bad reputation. It’s not uncommon to hear well-meaning people say things like, “Don’t be jealous” or “Jealousy destroys relationships.” But what makes this emotion so bad?

While it’s often linked to romantic relationships, jealousy can come up whenever you’re worried about losing anything or anyone important to you. This is different from envy, which involves wanting something that belongs to someone else.

Jealousy can lead to feelings of anger, resentment, or sadness. But it can often tell you a thing or two about yourself and your needs.

Here’s a look at some ways to cope with jealousy and examine what’s at the root of your feelings.

“If you get that jealous twinge,” says Sarah Swenson, LMHC, “ask yourself what lies at the root of it. Then take steps to change what you don’t like in order to get what you want.”

Examining your jealous feelings can give you insight on where they come from:

  • Your sister’s new relationship causes jealousy because you haven’t had much luck dating and worry you’ll never find the right person.
  • Your coworker’s promotion makes you feel jealous because you believe you aren’t good enough at your job to get a promotion yourself.
  • When your partner starts spending a lot of time with a new friend, you feel jealous because that was the first sign you noticed when a previous partner cheated.

Whether your jealousy stems from insecurity, fear, or past relationship patterns, knowing more about the causes can help you figure out how to confront it.

Maybe you have an open conversation with your supervisor about getting on track for promotion, resolve to try a different approach to dating, or talk to your partner about your feelings.

If your partner’s actions (or someone else’s actions toward your partner) trigger jealous feelings, bring this up with your partner as soon as possible.

Pro tip

Broach the topic of jealousy when you can both dedicate some time to a productive conversation. Whenever possible, try to avoid getting into a serious topic right before bed or when you’re about to head out the door.

Your partner may not have noticed the behavior, or they may not have realized how you felt about it. Use the opportunity to talk over any relationship boundaries you might want to revisit, or discuss ways to keep your relationship strong.

If you trust your partner but have doubts because of past relationship experiences, try finding a few ways you both can help improve the situation.

If you feel nervous about mentioning jealous feelings, try to remember they’re totally normal. Your partner might even have had some jealous feelings of their own at some point.

Jealousy can sometimes give you a slightly warped sense of reality. You might wonder if that nonverbal flirting you swear you saw actually happened.

Sometimes, voicing these concerns to a third party can make the situation less frightening and help you gain some perspective.

Jealousy can be a complex, strong emotion, and you might not feel very good when you’re dealing with it. But instead of thinking of it as something negative, try looking at it as a helpful source of information.

Jealousy, according to Swenson, tells you there’s a difference between what you have and what you want.

She adds that unchecked jealousy can turn into self-blame and create a cycle that keeps you feeling deprived. But you may be able to manage it by identifying it as helpful information that you can use to create circumstances in which your needs are met.

Jealousy sometimes develops in response to a partial picture. In other words, you might be comparing yourself and your own achievements and attributes to an idealized or incomplete view of someone else.

People typically display their best selves to the world, so it’s not always easy to tell what’s really happening in someone else’s life or relationship. Then there’s the whole issue of social media, which magnifies this concept.

But you never truly know what someone’s going through, especially when you’re just looking at social media.

Your college friend with the Facebook photos of her and her husband out in a meadow, looking so carefree and happy? For all you know, they argued all the way out there and they’re sweating bullets under all that matching plaid.

A little gratitude can go a long way. It can not only reduce feelings of jealousy, but also relieve stress.

You might not have everything you want. Most of us don’t. But you probably have at least some of what you want. Maybe you even have some good things in your life you didn’t expect.

This can help whether you’re eyeing your friend’s fancy new bike or wishing your partner didn’t spend quite so much time with friends. Remind yourself of your sturdy, reliable bike that gets you where you need to go. Consider the benefits of having a partner who appreciates the value of friendship.

Even appreciating positive things in your life that don’t relate to jealousy can help you realize that, while your life may not be perfect (but whose life is?), you’ve still got some good things going for you.

Coping with jealousy as it comes up won’t help you work through underlying causes. But it can help to keep the distress at bay until you can deal with the underlying issues.

Turning your attention away from jealousy can also help keep you from acting on your feelings (and doing something that could harm a relationship or friendship).

Take a break

Try these strategies to distract yourself from jealous thoughts before they become overwhelming:

  • Write down what you feel.
  • Take a walk.
  • Give yourself space by leaving the situation.
  • Take 10 minutes to do something calming.

Jealousy that persists and causes distress can sometimes relate to anxiety or self-esteem issues, explains Vicki Botnick, LMFT. “Learning how to deal with either issue can automatically help soothe jealousy.”

One way to approach low self-esteem involves identifying personal values, such as compassion, communication, or honesty. This helps, according to Botnick, because it lets you check whether you’re upholding these values in your daily life.

It also gives you a chance to notice your positive traits and review what’s important to you. This can increase your sense of self-respect and may help decrease distressing feelings of inferiority or competitiveness.

Anxiety can have a range of symptoms that might be more difficult to address on your own. Coping techniques can help (find some tips here), but therapy can also be a good option.

Botnick also suggests trying an anxiety workbook like The Mindful Way Workbook.

It uses principles of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy to help you to:

  • increase acceptance around anxious feelings so they don’t overwhelm you
  • recognize unwanted or distressing thoughts so you can challenge and replace them

When jealousy prompts you to compare yourself to others, your self-worth can end up taking a hit. Your life might be pretty enviable to someone else, after all. But jealousy can make you feel like nothing you have is good enough.

Research exploring a possible link between jealousy and self-esteem found evidence to suggest jealousy can develop when you face a threat to your self-esteem.

To combat low self-esteem:

  • Remind yourself of things you do well.
  • Practice self-compassion (in other words, treat yourself the way you would a close friend).
  • Practice daily affirmations or exchange them with your partner.
  • Remind yourself of the things you value in your partner and relationship.
  • Make time to do things you enjoy.

Mindfulness techniques help you pay attention to your thoughts and feelings as they come up without judging or criticizing them. Increasing your awareness around jealousy can help you notice any patterns it follows, including things that happen before you feel jealous.

Mindfulness can also help you feel more comfortable with jealousy. For example, it can help you notice and accept your jealous feelings for what they are — part of your emotional experience — and move on.

Not judging the jealousy, or yourself for feeling it, can help keep it from affecting you negatively.

If you’ve experienced jealousy before, you probably already know that jealousy fades with time. It might feel less intense after you deal with your feelings, of course, but it can also lessen once whatever you felt jealous about is over.

According to research that looked at the experience of jealousy, people are generally more likely to feel jealous right before something happens, rather than after.

As time passes, you’re also less likely to feel the need to compare yourself or your circumstances to someone else. But the positive feelings you have stay.

So, while you might feel jealous as your best friend’s wedding date approaches, on the day after the wedding you might feel less jealous and more just happy for your friend.

If you’re having trouble coping with jealous thoughts on your own, talking to a therapist can help.

It’s not always easy to talk about jealousy. You might feel even more uncomfortable sharing these thoughts with someone you don’t know. But a good therapist will meet you with kindness and compassion.

Plus, they know better than anyone that jealousy is a normal emotion that everyone feels at some point.

Botnick shares a few signs that suggest talking to a therapist could be helpful:

  • Jealousy leads to obsessive or fixated thoughts.
  • You notice compulsive behaviors.
  • Jealous thoughts become uncontrollable or intrusive.
  • You have violent thoughts or urges.
  • Jealous feelings trigger problematic behaviors, like following your partner or checking up on them constantly.
  • Jealousy affects your day-to-day life, prevents you from doing things you want to do, or causes other distress.

“If you constantly need to check out your social media feed, your partner’s phone, or what the people in line at Starbucks are wearing, then you can no longer be present in your own life, and that’s a problem,” Botnick concludes.

Jealousy can help you focus on who (and what) you care about. It doesn’t have to cause problems for you or your relationships. It can even help relationships become stronger in some cases. It all comes down to how you use it.

Online therapy options

Read our review of the best online therapy options to find the right fit for you.

How to stop being jealous and understand jealousy

When it comes to navigating relationships, it’s imperative that you master how to stop being jealous of others’ success. Even bonds between friends, coworkers and family can become strained when jealousy enters the picture. When envy goes unchecked, it can wreak havoc on the ability to trust someone or even enjoy their company.

To heal relationships characterized by insecurity and dominance, it’s critical to understand what causes jealousy in the first place so those triggers can be eliminated. The answers are within you, and finding them will set you free to enjoy relationships built on trust and equality.

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How do I stop being jealous? Understanding jealousy

The 5 Disciplines of Love – unconditional love and compassion, courage and vulnerability, knowing the truth, telling yourself the truth and giving freedom – apply to professional and friendly relationships as well as romantic ones. When these principles are practiced consistently, they create relationships that are harmonious and fulfilling. When any one of the Disciplines is neglected, the relationship suffers as a result. 

When jealousy enters a relationship, it becomes virtually impossible for the relationship to thrive. A jealous person is unable to fully trust others, which hampers the capacity to build solid friendships, romantic relationships and functional work connections. Whether it’s a friendship or a romantic relationship, truth and transparency are important. Jealousy hampers both parties’ ability to be truthful. Jealousy constrains both people, binding both in an unhealthy relationship dynamic.

The Atlantic reports that, to get to the bottom of how to stop being jealous, it’s critical to consider the psychology behind jealousy. Feeling jealous or envious of others’ successes is human, and even the people you’re jealous of are jealous of someone else. What else is universal? The feelings of shame attached to jealousy. Whether you were passed over for a promotion or a second date, it’s almost impossible not to feel some anger and sadness. 

So, what is the answer to how to stop being jealous of others? First, you need to figure out why you’re feeling jealous.

Why do we get jealous of others?

We all have different reasons for having feelings of jealousy toward others. Most of the time, we get jealous of others because we focus more on what they have than we don’t. We don’t take the time to look at what we have. We look at the success of others as some type of inadequacy in us, when that often has nothing to do with the other person’s success.

In the world of social media, where everything is filtered perfectly before being uploaded, it can be easy to feel jealous of other people’s beautifully curated highlight reels. We often compare their best with our worst, not realizing that, no matter what they post online, they also have moments of weakness and jealousy. The first step in learning how to stop being jealous of others is to realize that they are human, just as you are. Their successes are not your failures.

In the same way that you get jealous of others, others get jealous of you. If you find yourself in a situation where you have to figure out how to deal with jealous people, remember a time when you felt jealous. If it is a friend or family member who is jealous of you, remind them that there is no reason to feel insecure about your success. They can celebrate with you, just as you would celebrate with them.

Tips for how to stop being jealous

“Why do we get jealous of others?” “How do we deal with jealous people?” You are asking the right questions. Your curiosity is the first step in finding solutions. With a little self-inquiry and a lot of self-compassion, you can learn how to stop being jealous.

1. Be honest about your feelings

If you’re experiencing jealousy because of someone else’s success, it might be tempting to brush these feelings under the rug. If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll need to acknowledge your real feelings, which likely include envy and disappointment. It’s this combination of unpleasant, seemingly contradictory feelings that leaves you feeling stuck. Acknowledging your feelings and being okay with them allows you to find alternatives.

2. Determine the source of your jealousy

Every situation is unique, and it could be that the relationship itself needs work in order to restore trust. If one party is not being truthful or honoring their obligations in the relationship, the other person is correct to feel distrustful. It could also be that your own insecurities are causing your jealousy, independent of the other person. By getting to the bottom of what’s really driving your envy, you’re able to find a targeted solution.

3. Master your mindset

If you’re struggling with how to stop being jealous of others, it’s likely your mindset is holding you back. To uproot jealousy, take a close look at your thought patterns. If you’re overwhelmed by jealousy, are you perceiving the other person clearly? Their strengths and contributions to the relationship, as well as their weaknesses? If you find yourself blaming the other person or seeing them in all-or-nothing or black-and-white terms, it’s likely your imbalanced thinking is distorting the relationship. Commit to transforming your thinking, and you’re on your way to overcoming jealousy.

4. Practice compassion

Jealousy often masks self-contempt, and we project our fears and insecurities onto others. And compassion – the antidote to shame and jealousy – is like a well. You can’t give others water if your well is dry. When you catch yourself self-criticizing or catastrophizing, take a step back and apply self-compassion. Rather than attacking the other person with questions, adopt an attitude of curiosity so you can get to know them as they are. As you work to discover what’s driving your insecurities, you’ll better understand how to not be jealous of others.

5. Focus on your strengths

Ruminating on your weaknesses is a surefire way to amplify the jealousy whispering in your ear. This is not ideal when you’re learning how to stop being jealous of others’ success. To quiet the voice of envy and learn how to stop being jealous, introduce another voice: your inner cheerleader. Think of a time you felt proud of yourself and relive those feelings. What strengths did you bring to the table and how did they contribute to your success? Make a list of your skills and talents. Proactively focusing on your positive traits builds your self-esteem so you’re able to engage others without insecurity.

6. Find commonalities

If you find yourself asking how to stop being jealous of others, build camaraderie with them. Seek out traits you share with a person you feel jealous of, and realize that the other person isn’t perfect either. Envy and insecurity are universal, so your “nemesis” is guaranteed to have weaknesses, whether or not they’re obvious. By finding common ground, you humanize the other person so you’re able to relate to them on equal footing.

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Why we are jealous and how to stop doing it

November 8 Relationship

There are often no real reasons, so it is up to you to deal with the problem.

You can listen to the article. If you feel more comfortable, tune in to the podcast:

What causes jealousy

You are insecure

Licensed clinical psychologist Seth Meyers writes that people with low self-esteem can also feel insecure in relationships. They believe that they are not good enough to attract a partner and keep his interest over time. nine0003

You need to control everything

One partner worries about his place in the other's world. Perhaps, even in childhood, a person experienced a disturbing experience and now thinks that he cannot be trusted, because at any moment he can be preferred to another.

Anastasia Popova

Psychologist, systemic family psychotherapist of the Family Medical Center "Leib-Medic".

But this is not just anxiety. This is an attempt to control the actions of the other side. Fear of someone else's freedom and rebellion against it. nine0003

You are too strongly attached to a partner

Constant baseless jealousy may appear due to excessive attachment, when one cannot separate from the other and lives his life.

If you constantly interfere in the life of a companion, forbid meeting friends and spending time separately, the chances of destroying relationships are high. There is nothing wrong with a couple having common interests. But everyone should also have their own hobbies.

You project your own repressed desires onto your partner

Family psychotherapist Anastasia Popova notes that jealousy can arise due to the projection of one's own state and repressed sexual desires onto another person. Without admitting to ourselves, we want to go to the left, only now we attribute this to the satellite.

You have obsessive thinking

Jealousy can be the result of obsessive (obsessive) thinking. Psychologist Seth Meyers recalls the case of a patient who was jealous of partners in all her relationships. She also had some signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder. When her husband came home late, lingered, she could not put up with not knowing what and where he was doing. Therefore, I filled in the gaps and thought out myself. I took the facts out of my head, and then I was jealous and worried. She herself created disturbing thoughts and reasons for excitement when faced with the most terrible circumstance for this type of people: unknown .

Also, according to the expert, jealousy can be caused by a person's general paranoid state.

There is a real reason for jealousy

Perhaps the most logical reason: there really is a reasonable reason for jealousy. Maybe this is an unambiguous correspondence with another or another, not yet forgotten betrayal or irrefutable evidence of infidelity.

How to stop being jealous

Accept and examine your thoughts

Robert Leahy, Ph. D., professor at Yale University, former president of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapy, the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, and the International Association for Cognitive Psychotherapy, recommends that in the midst of jealousy, stop, exhale and pay attention to your thoughts.

Do they reflect the reality? If you think that a partner is interested in someone other than you, this does not mean that they are. You must understand that thoughts and reality are different things. nine0003

Don't give in to feelings of jealousy

Anger and anxiety can be intensified if you begin to obsess over them. You need to accept your emotions and let them be. You don't have to "get rid of the feelings," but if you approach observing your experiences consciously, it will help to ease them.

Understand that uncertainty is part of any relationship

We are looking for certainty: “I need to know that she / he is not interested in you” or “I want to know that we will not part and be together. ” Dr. Leahy writes that some are even ready to end the relationship before they think the other does. nine0003

Robert Leahy

Uncertainty is part of life. This is something we cannot do anything about.

It is impossible to know for sure whether your partner will leave you or not. But with your accusations and reproaches, you can create a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Understand your conjectures

Jealousy can be fueled by unrealistic beliefs: past relationships of a loved one threaten your union, you have nothing to offer a partner, this relationship will repeat a bad experience with another or another. Often this is nothing more than speculation that has nothing to do with reality. nine0003

Find effective ways to build relationships

“Instead of relying on jealousy, find another way to make the union safer,” advises Robert Leahy. For example, pay attention when your partner does something good, praise each other, refrain from criticism and sarcasm, or make a list of simple and pleasant things that would please each of you.

Take care of yourself

We must not forget about our development. Find a hobby, play a sport, or take a yoga class. Do not deprive yourself and your beloved of freedom and personal space. nine0003

Show gratitude instead of jealousy

To a certain extent, jealousy is normal in a relationship. But only as long as it strengthens them, and does not destroy them.

Anastasia Popova

It is useful to remember that besides me, a wonderful miracle, my partner has many other people in his life who can take my place. And that he or she chooses and prefers me over someone else.

A good alternative to jealousy is gratitude for choosing you, for being together. You can’t save a relationship with jealousy, but with gratitude it can work out. nine0003

Build up trust

Oleg Ivanov

Psychologist, conflictologist, head of the Center for Settlement of Social Conflicts.

Jealousy is usually "cured" by trust. If you do not trust your partner, be sure to talk to him about it.

He may not even guess about your feelings and not know that his behavior gives rise to them.

Accept the situation and reconsider the relationship

This applies precisely to those cases in which there are justified reasons to doubt the fidelity of a loved one. nine0003

Anastasia Popova

Jealousy can be a completely honest and normal feeling and have real reasons. Then you need not to suppress it, but to honestly see the unpleasant truth.

In this situation, it is necessary to decide what to do not with feelings of jealousy, but with relationships in general.

The problem can be dealt with. But, if it sits deep and is rooted in childhood, it is better to work out the issue with a specialist. Jealousy can be dangerous and even destructive for relationships, you should not leave it unattended. nine0003

Read also 🧐

  • 3 effective ways to overcome jealousy
  • 15 tips that harm relationships
  • 7 relationship problems that you have to take responsibility for

How to stop being jealous: 5 tips

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JealousyMan and woman

Italian sociologist and coach Pierluigi D'Alessio offers five ways to change your thoughts and stop being jealous.

1. Believe in the best

Jealousy is a feeling that is fueled by fear. You spend a lot of time worrying about something bad that probably never happened and never will. Moreover, the habit of suspecting and distrusting only increases the likelihood that something unpleasant will happen after all, creating the Pygmalion effect. nine0003

Instead, focus on the good, know how to enjoy what you have, and not regret what you lack

And remember: if someone is going to hurt you, there is nothing you can do, to avoid this. Neither control, nor "monitoring", nor espionage, nor interrogations, nor jealousy, nor an attempt to instill a sense of guilt will help here. And if you trust someone, trust them completely.

2. Think Before You Speak

When you feel overwhelmed by jealousy, the only way out is not to react. Because a violent scene of jealousy can lead to the end of a relationship. The rule “kill the monster while it is small” will help to restrain - that is, drive away bad thoughts as soon as they come to your mind. If your partner is talking to someone, turn on self-control, breathe deeply, count to a thousand ... And calmly discuss with him what exactly made you jealous, then and only when the resentment weakens. nine0003

3. Realize that jealousy is a reaction to fear

In a moment of jealousy, we react not so much to the other person's behavior as to our own negative thoughts about this behavior. In other words, this is a reaction to your fear, to a possible scenario that you scroll through in your head and which, perhaps, will never be realized in reality.

Let's say if you are a parent and, for example, your child gets along well and plays well with another adult, there is nothing wrong with that. This does not mean that he is better or more important than you - such a position puts you in the role of a defender. The more defensive you are, the more suspicious and jealous you become. nine0003

4. Believe in yourself

Jealousy is usually the result of low self-esteem and self-doubt. Sometimes it hides the fear of being abandoned, or the belief that your rival is always luckier in love than you, or the fear that “something is wrong” with you. Confident people know that it is impossible to please everyone, and when they make mistakes and are laughed at, they do not dramatize the situation. The presence of flaws does not diminish their value in their own eyes: we all learn from our mistakes. There are no failures - only experience! nine0003

5. Don't think you have exclusive rights

If you get jealous as soon as you see someone approaching a person who "belongs" to you, ask yourself the following questions. Can the relationship between you and this person develop autonomously, not fueled by anything? Wouldn't it be great if both of you would hang out with someone other than each other? How much more can you forbid him / her to have any interests in life other than you?

Your desire to be together with your loved one, child, parent or friend is understandable

And if you don't spend much time together, your bewilderment is justified.

Learn more