So happy for you - not

Wednesday, October 26, 2011
So happy for you - not

More than any other emotion, jealousy can seriously undermine your sanity, as you obsess over a person's every gesture, seeing them all as 'proof' that they are doing you wrong.

While having a partner who is actually unfaithful is one of the most painful experiences you can have, it is also true that jealousy without cause is a curse that can destroy a perfectly good relationship.

In pictures: 35 little acts of kindness

It is relentless — as soon as you deal with one cause for jealousy, another comes along — and it grows like a weed.

The more suspicious and needy you are, the more suffocated the other person becomes, to the point that you may push them away — a bitter self-fulfilling prophecy, that you "knew would happen".

The good news? Jealousy is a habit — and it can be broken with these simple tips.

Name it: Jealousy is a difficult emotion to own up to. However, true personal power comes from knowing your whole self, including your 'shadow' — the bits of you that you don't really like much. Naming an emotion is the first step towards letting it go.

Dig deeper: Consider jealousy as a mirror. Why does this person make you feel this way? What qualities do they have that are making you feel insecure? Sit and concentrate on your feelings and see what comes to the surface. You may be surprised to discover that an attribute you thought you found attractive in a partner — he's so good with people — actually triggers a negative response in you, for example, 'I don't have his confidence, so no one will ever warm to me in the same way'.

Change gears: Odds are, you just identified a fear that you've had for some time. Fears are nearly always the product of an imaginary reality. Clinical psychologists tell their patients that the word "fear" is an acronym: False Evidence Appearing Real. When you torture yourself with jealous thoughts, you may be fuelling a vision of your future that only exists in your mind. Ask yourself: is this actually true? Then shift your focus and face the real fear; working on it offers you potential for genuine growth.

Know that you have a choice: You can continue to stew in your jealousy, or you can let these feelings go. Working on your self-esteem is the first step. Although it may appear that your main emotional relationship is with the other person, in fact it is with yourself. If you believe you are nothing without the other person, you can't celebrate the many gifts you have. But when you begin to claim your own gorgeousness, you can more readily experience joy, independent of anyone else. Jealous or not, this is something that most of us need to cultivate.

Health news: Researchers identify 'depression gene'

In Buddhism, it is called "sympathetic happiness" — the ability to find contentment in ourselves which moves us beyond the notion that we can be diminished by anyone else.

Your say: Do you suffer from bouts of jealousy in your relationships?

Video: What women and men really think

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