Understanding Jealousy. One of the deepest desires of human beings is to feel special, unique, and genuine. Even children from an early age present clear signs of this feeling when they begin demanding, for example, the mother’s constant attention and company. As children grow, the begin to always search for attention, acceptance, and admiration from those around them. Even we’ve done it, wanting in some way to feel special and outstanding in every way, and when this didn’t happen because someone else, like a brother or a sister, interfered, we would get angry because they snatched the attention or affection. We then began to experience “jealousy”.
When someone feels the threat of their object of affection being stolen, taken away, or lured away by a third party, jealousy begins to arise. The truth is, though, jealousy is a natural emotion, just like happiness or sadness. Like any emotion, they have motivated and inspired greats songs, poems, novels, etc. This normal emotion, however, can also take on a harmful stance, submitting some people to pain when they are misunderstood. It can cause feelings of desperation, hate, and sometimes uncontrollable rage that could lead to very non-constructive behavior. There are several types of jealousy; sibling jealousy, workplace jealousy, family jealousy, and of course, jealousy between partners.
Jealousy between partners
Jealousy is, to a certain extent, the fiery spice in a couples’ relationship. The feeling of belonging to someone, or that “you belong to me”, awakens a whole new class of actions (and addictions). And as this sensation of “belonging” grows, blood boils and passions are ignited. Jealousy generates a certain type of competition, which is to say, the more we want to be noticed and recognized and important and special, the more we will feel that internal sense of “competition”, to gain attention and recognition. When we feel like someone “beat’ us in the battle for recognition, we then feel the anger known as “jealousy”. This is most intense when the person who is recognizing the other, is the same person that we want to recognize us, or, when it is our own partner who recognizes someone else.
Jealousy is a sign of caring, because this shows that we “feel something” towards someone we love. However, when certain limits are surpassed, the entire relation can feel worn down by it, especially when the jealousy is constant and obsessive. The line between romantic jealousy and obsessive jealousy can be very fragile. That’s why it is so important that we learn to recognize and identify when we feel attached to our partner. This can be easily identified when we observe ourselves and realize that we want to control their time, their life, and even who they are. This is a sign of attachment, and this is the beginning of something very non-constructive. It is the beginning of damaging jealousy, and dependency.
What to do
The first thing to do is to overcome your fear of the possible loss of this beloved person. And this first step is taken by beginning to center ourselves in our own lives, and in what we want from it. Having your life planned out alongside your partner doesn’t mean that they will want what you want, or that he/she will be attached to you. Having an image of a shared life means that each person fulfills him/herself on their own, and they then come together to share that fulfillment. If you depend on your partner to be happy, jealousy will eat you alive. If you decide to make yourself happy, your partner will then be complimentary, and no longer the object of your happiness. The more you place your life in the hands of someone else, the more you depend on someone else, the more jealous you will be.
Every time you feel jealous, take a look at your life and what you’re doing, and see where you don’t feel fulfilled. When you don’t admire your own lifestyle, it is quite possible that you are demanding this admiration from an outside source, especially from your partner. If you feel very jealous, you definitely need to reconsider your goals or life plans for yourself. When you feel unsatisfied, you will need much more external approval, and will need your partner to tell you a thousand and one times how much they love you, and how special you are, because you, yourself, don’t truly feel special.
So the foolproof tonic for jealousy is: learn to be happy and to feel loved and admired for who you are. You will then be able to share so much more love, and create truly grandiose things with your partner. And the next time your friend tells you they’re jealous, just respond by saying “Jealousy? What you need is a bit of love for yourself”.