Most of us feel jealous every so often, and feeling jealousy is normal. However, it is jealous behaviors, not feelings, that cause us trouble because they are often irrational and destructive. If we want to avoid the trouble jealousy can cause in our relationships, we can start by accepting responsibility for our part in it.
Blaming others, for what they feel, usually is a mistake, because jealousy is most often a product of our own insecurity and low self-esteem. It happens because we see ourselves as having less to give than the object of our jealousy. We tend to translate that into feeling “less than” others, further lowering our sense of worth, or esteem.
Soon, we become unable to see our own strengths and good points, which leads to feeling devalued, depressed and worthless. The tendency to “act out” in our behaviors becomes too easy to give in to, and others suffer. We forget that because another person may not choose or be able to meet the conditions that have been agreed to in our relationship, our inner value as a person is not lessened, nor is theirs.
Jealously ceases to be a problem only when we regain a feeling of worth and self-respect, and when we remember that loyalty in relationships can only be offered, never demanded. When we demand loyalty, it becomes a “have to” situation, and humans automatically push back when we feel we are being pushed. The other option to pushing back, of course, is to simply walk away.
Learning to let go of demands within any relationship, when we believe that love or affection is based on the need to grasp and hold, is difficult but extremely worthwhile. When we conquer the extremes of jealousy, we emerge as better, stronger, happier people and our relationships inevitably improve. Our health does, too. It all starts with taking accountability for our view of our relationships.