Jealousy and Envy Almost Ruined My Life - URBANETTE: Lifestyle Magazine & Blog

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Jealousy and Envy Almost Ruined My Life

How to make sure the ‘green-eyed monster’ doesn’t choke your relationships.

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I’ll never forget Jarrod. We dated for about a year when I was 24. He was as perfect as they come. Smart, funny, successful, handsome… other women were always checking him out.

He traveled a lot, and this made me worry. Mostly because I had an irrational fantasy that some pretty blonde would meet him at a hotel bar while on the road and he’d end up with her instead of me. I though I’d kept all that fear bottled up, but I learned a new lesson the hard way: never underestimate the power of jealousy to change your behavior without you even realizing it.

Jealousy and Envy Almost Ruined My Life

You should know the importance of jealousy’s role in your relationship. This overlooked emotion can become your biggest adversary.

Growing up, I had a lot of issues with both envy and jealousy. Maybe it was because I always assumed that my sister was my parent’s favorite, or because I had a lot of boyfriends date me because I’m ‘the hot girl’, then dump me for another flavor.

My earliest memory of these ugly emotions is from when I was about seven years old. My best friend and I were playing with Barbies at recess, and my sister came over to sit with us. She was upset about a boy in her class hitting her, and to make her feel better, my best friend gave her a Barbie. The one with the big pink sparkly dress. The one I always wished I’d had. I threw a fit. It was a full-on fit. I threw the toy at the wall, stomped back into the school, and wailed at the teacher as loudly as I could. (I told you they’re ugly emotions.)

Jealousy and Envy Almost Ruined My Life

Don’t let the green-eyed monster ruin your relationships

As I grew up, I felt those feelings wash over me frequently, when a model would get the job and I wouldn’t (which is part of the reason I switched to stock photography — no more castings!), when a boyfriend would talk to another woman, or when my sister would get more praise than I did.

It’s like the opposite of schadenfreude, but just as petty: Instead of getting pleasure from others’ misfortunes, I felt torture at their successes. Behind that all was the belief that I was being short-changed, that the situation was unfair, and, sometimes, that I was inadequate.

But back to Jarrod. Before I realized what the underlying emotional problem was, my relationship with Jarrod imploded. I had gotten so paranoid about his traveling that I ended up reading his emails, finding something that looked suspicious (but was actually innocent, in retrospect), and stupidly forwarding it to him with a message akin to screaming “what the hell is this?!” in his face. That ended that. #crazytown

It’s hard for me to admit these flaws (especially to thousands of strangers), but I’ve been learning that it takes a good hard look at your shortcomings to truly get past them.

A lot of people confuse jealousy and envy, but these two emotions are actually quite different from one another. It’s important to tell them apart so that you know which you are truly feeling, and so you can deal with each accordingly. The main difference between envy and jealousy is that envy is the emotion of feeling resentful because someone else has something you want, while jealousy is the emotion related to fear that something you have will be taken away by someone else.

These kinds of emotions can really mess up your relationship, no matter how perfect you think it is — IF you let them. In fact, it can happen in a number of ways you wouldn’t even think of. Trust me — it’s worth taking some time to get to know it to prevent it from ruining your happy ending. And if the time comes when you’re convinced that the green-eyed monster has gotten hold of you, take action! Once you cross the line, it can pull you down like a quicksand; sucking the breath out right of your relationship.

Jealousy and Envy Almost Ruined My Life

My breakthrough was both accidental and gradual rather than one climactic, made-for-TV moment. To tell you the truth, aside from my blowout with Jarrod, I didn’t even know the toll these feelings were having on me and my relationships or even realize that they were happening.

Several things I’ve learned over the last decade or so have helped me put things into a healthier perspective:

Comparisons are ‘odious’

The quote “comparisons are odious” has been credited to several esteemed authors. Basically it means that a comparison (especially of people) is repulsive. Jealousy and envy are all about comparisons—and tallying up the differences between one person and yourself, as if life were an accounting game, to make sure you’re not in the red.

Praise, like love, isn’t zero-sum — there’s plenty to go around

I used to bristle when my parents would spend more time with my sister, but I realize now that sort of thing doesn’t detract from me. It’s not like people are rationing out their love, appreciation, or other good feelings like canned food during an apocalypse. There’s an infinite amount to go around. I learned this long, long ago during an episode of Full House where Bob Saget explains that his love is like an endless supply of water and his kids are all teacups, and the love is just overflowing. It just took me a while to understand and really accept that lesson.

It’s important to always be conscious of my feelings and thoughts

Jealousy and envy are gut feelings, and you can nip them in the bud when they rear their ugly heads. But first you have to realize it’s happening. I learned how to do this through meditation, mindfulness training, yoga and therapy. These practices helped me to label my negative feelings as they popped up, and detach myself from them. (Not just saying “I feel a pang of jealousy” but also “I’m feeling nervous” and everything else. In a way, I think people who often have other negative emotions, such as anger, could benefit from these tactics).

All of the above have been efforts to improve myself, but they also ended up changing how I appreciate and interact with others. Do I still get jealous or envious every now and then? Hell, yeah. But as I keep practicing to become a better person, I recognize when I’m starting to turn green and can control these feelings rather than let them control me.­­­­­­

Sarah enlightens us on a daily basis with the newest trends as (and often before) they transpire. She is the consummate globe trotter. Having traveled to over 70 countries, she earns her living writing, blogging (InsiderDiva.com) and modeling while on the road. In her spare time she gets manicures, suntans on yachts in Greece, shops for even more shoes, and lives in the limelight. She loves photography, elephants, sailboats, bangles and ballet flats.

Reader Discussion: 253 Comments

  1. Mary Johnson

    How are you supposed to trust people, when there are so many people who are liars, cheats, manipulators, users, and alike? So many people are wolves in sheep’s clothing, and it’s just getting worse and worse. No matter how nice someone may seem, everyone is always working an angle it seems.

  2. Peggy Bayliss

    I get jealous a lot but I do love him lot. I hate it when he talk with other girls . It’s killing my relationship. I want to stay with him forever.

  3. Charlotte Preston

    This is exactly what I’m going through now with a guy I’m seeing and it’s driving me crazy. I feel like I’m looking into everything too much.

  4. Is it bad if I like get really defensive whenever other girls are around, like I would be willing to kill someone if they tried to talk to my man?

  5. Cynthia Freeman

    I feel like I truly did sabotaged my last relationship and it kills me everyday because I feel like I’ll never find another relationship that’s as meaningful as the one I ruined…

    • Hi, Cynthia! Don’t ever say that you will never find another relationship like that! Think positive, I know you will and who knows, it might be better.

  6. Monica Bennington

    I know for me I wouldn’t feel jealous in my relationship if I got positive feedback on the occasion. And good validation on how things are going

  7. You know, these tips sound simple and work really great but not everybody understand the great meaning behind each tips. Just want to share this thought. :)

  8. Claudia

    I can’t handle a day without my boyfriend, it’s frustrating, I cry when he forgets even to call me, I’m a girl who can’t handle that.

  9. Elaine Colbert

    Wish I could’ve seen this months ago… it’s too late now. Well I’ll just have to work on myself and hope to get it right in my next relationship.

  10. Cassi Braun

    Hey. I needed this advice because I’m just starting out seeing someone and I don’t want to ruin it with him. I worry so much because I know there are better looking women out there and he used to fancy one of his girl mates and that stuck in my head but he said he only wants me. I need to work on my mindset. Your points helped a lot so thank you so much for helping.

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