Valentine’s Day is over and the coast is clear enough to air out all of that bitterness that some folks might be feeling, without running the risk of being called petty for it. It’s a good thing though! Jealousy is an emotion that is often overlooked and dismissed as being juvenile, and it is rarely ever afforded the same wariness that we give anger and sadness as far as mental health issues go. Jealousy is as valid a feeling as any other, and it is about time that the conversation about that little green-eyed ghoul was started.
While it is true that jealousy can be born from vain and insignificant things, like your partner liking a fairly suggestive picture of someone else on Instagram, that does not mean that your feelings don’t need to be investigated. Where is that insecurity coming from? Jealousy, like anxiety, is a subconscious type of warning system. If something in your relationship feels like it is going awry, talk about it! Do not sit on those feelings of uncertainty and let them turn into distrust and resentment. On the other hand, it is not very wise to create an atmosphere in a relationship where it feels as though certain things cannot be communicated at the risk of ridicule, dismissal. This could lead to potentially giving your significant other reasons to break things off with you. Do not shame the jealous. If it was a feeling that they could healthily get rid of themselves, they would.
Jealousy can sometimes be misplaced and not every incarnation of it is harmless. Seeing your friends get tremendous grades, be in loving relationships, and be offered incredible opportunities, while you struggle to keep that 70% average and get to your call centre job – all while single, can be a bummer. Even if you do work your butt off, you might not always reap the rewards of all that hard work. Seeing others be handed the things that you want so desperately can hurt sometimes. It is fair to feel that way, but it is not fair to hold that against your friends. How would that conversation even go? “Hey, you have been really successful lately and it is making me uncomfortable. Can you fail at something just once like the rest of us, please?” Situations like these are worth looking into either on your own or with a mental health professional – preferably the latter. Being jealous may cloud your vision and make it hard for you to recognize your own greatness, while echoing your shortcomings. You have worth – affirm it! Take the time to mull over those feelings of inadequacy and want, then acknowledge how awesome and valuable you are. Once those feelings have been sorted through, make the effort to model yourself after the success you see around you. Appreciate the fact that people in your position are doing amazing things; if they can do it, maybe you can too.
There are so many things to be jealous of. It is difficult sometimes to sort through which times are worth bringing up to other people and which ones are worth being introspective about. The bottom line is that jealousy is not to be ignored. It can sometimes be symptomatic of something more complex than just a one-off feeling. People who suffer from mental health disorders like BPD (borderline personality disorder) can often experience intense jealousy as one of the most notable effects of their condition. That is not to say that anyone who has ever experienced jealousy in their lives has a confirmed case of BPD. It just goes to show that any feeling that you have, that consumes you and makes your life feel like a task, is worth getting help for. So please, do not try to kill that green-eyed monster inside of you. Do not starve it out. If you want to tame it, sit down and chat with it instead.
Written By: Kanika Joseph
Originally Published: March 2016