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July 30, 2013
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This article offers (a) perspective on jealousy and envy; and options for (b) reducing
significant jealousy in yourself, and (c) responding to significant envy or
jealousy in someone else.
you're familiar with:
intro to this ad-free Web site and the
Try saying your definitions of jealousy and envy out loud, as
through to a pre-teen. Do you recall what they each feel like? Have you met
anyone who seemed "too jealous" or "too envious"? If so, how do you feel
about such people? How do you react? Would people who know you describe you
as jealous or envious?
Let's say that envy is
the normal human emotion of longing (passively) to have something of value
held by someone else. The something can be...
material, like a vehicle, appliance, home,
abstract, like wealth, fame, power,
prestige, priority, friendship, love, opportunity, experience, or
a personal gift or trait, like humor, self
confidence, faith, intelligence, rhythm, or serenity; or...
a physical trait like attractiveness, clear
skin, striking eyes, beautiful hair, a slender waist, washboard abs, a
golden tan, a gorgeous smile, etc.; or...
a wonderful mate and marriage, a gifted
child, and/or high-nurturance family.
Let's further say that jealousyis like envy, with some mix of these:
entitlement - "I deserve
to have what you have";
frustration at not getting what you want, need, or deserve;
blaming someone, God, and/or "fate";
hurt, resentment, and anger about this; and maybe...
Jealousy and envy range from mild and occasional to chronic and consuming.
They can focus on one or two things or a wide range of items. They can
stress persons, relationships, families, and whole countries. We'll focus
here on options for (a) reducing personal jealousy, and (b) reacting to
someone else's jealousy. In each case,
excessive jealous thoughts and
feelings are symptoms of several primary problems.
To understand significant jealousy, try out the idea that
personalities are composed of interactive
''subselves,'' like talented players in an orchestra or sports team. One universal subself
excels at effective leadership, and can be called your
true Self. S/He makes consistently wise short
and long-term decisions if allowed to by other subselves.
Implication - from this view, one real problem causing
excessive jealousy and envy is one or more well-meaning subselves
distrusting and disabling the true Self. Notice your reaction to this idea.
Does it seem credible? If not, read this letter
to you, and try this safe, interesting experience.
The larger problem is having
inherited up to six psychological
from early-childhood abandonment, neglect, and abuse.
in this nonprofit Website focuses on how to
these wounds. A related problem may be that the "jealous"
(wounded) person lives and perhaps works in
settings which promote these wounds and hinder effective healing.
The person is usually unaware of these problems or protectively
Bottom line -
excessive or obsessive
jealousy and envy are stressful symptoms of psychological wounds and
unawareness. Does this make sense to you? Is your true Self (capital "S")
Let's look at your choices if (a) you are "too jealous" (in your opinion) or
(b) you aren't sure how to react well to a significantly jealous person.
Reducing excessive jealousy or envy to acceptable is do-able, with
steps like these:
take full responsibility for the quality of your life,
and make personal healing and growth a high priority;
honestly for psychological wounds - specially excessive
shame. See Lesson 1.
patiently building several dedicated
subselves' trust in your Self's leadership ability
- e.g. your Jealous One, your
Victim-Martyr, your Entitled One, your Idealist; and your Magician;
deciding who's making your important decisions at
random times - your Self (capital "S"), or ''someone else'' (a false self); and...
evaluate and negotiate
new inner-family responsibilities
(roles) for each of these talented subselves as appropriate.
honestly evaluate the nurturance level of
workplace or school,
church, and community. If any of
these are "too toxic" (wound-promoting), evolve a plan to change that -
andact on it!
clear on your main goal -
freeing your Self and reducing your psychological wounds.
Reducing major jealousy and/or envy is an important sub-goal.
motivate yourself to patiently take these steps, review these
benefits of freeing your
true Self to guide you in all situations after you finish reading this.
Options for Reacting to Others' Jealousy
How would you describe your normal reaction to significantly-jealous people?
Annoyance? Repressing your feelings? Pretending? Hinting? Lecturing?
Confronting? Threatening? Joking? Pitying? Turning off? Avoiding? Something
How do you feel abut your response - pleased? Uneasy? Unconcerned? Anxious?
Superior? Nothing? Your reaction probably depends on who guides your
personality + the person + your relationship + the situation.
Notice how you feel about the other
person's envy or jealousy. Your emotions point to what you need. React
to the jealous behavior, not the person!
Avoid trying to reassure, correct, moralize,
or discount the person ("You shouldn't feel jealous of ____,
because...."). This inherently implies "I know better than you", which
is disrespectful - even if well-meant.
If you feel critical or scornful of the
person, suspect that you're controlled by a false self. Your true Self
will probably feel compassion for their wounds and unawareness.
Option - use a
''I-message'' to inform the other person how their attitude
and behavior affects you. That might sound like:
when you frequently describe envying/feeling jealous of _______, I tune
you out / lose respect for you / feel impatient / wish you'd acknowledge
your gifts / _______."
to acknowledge the person's feelings. This doesn't mean you agree with
This brief YouTube video illustrates what you just read:
Lesson-4 article is one of a series offering
solutions to common relationship stressors. It proposes that when jealousy
or envy cause
someone a problem, the real stressors are underlying psychological
unawareness in one or both people. The
article offers practical options for managing your own envy or jealousy, and
for reacting well to someone else's.