Jealousy is an interesting feeling. It comes up suddenly and inspires all sorts of feelings: rage, disappointment, loneliness, insecurity, to mention a few. Jealousy is the really frustrated and angry feeling of desire or need for what someone else has. According to Psychology Today “jealousy can strike…when a third party threat to a valued relationship is perceived…”
Now, I don’t get jealous easily. Sure I’ve felt my share of envy: wanting a certain role now, or a new flute in high school, wanting the drive others have to make their careers work. I am envious of many people, but very rarely jealous. And although similar, they’re far from the same thing. Lately, I’ve been suffering tremendously, painful jealousy. One of my friends seems to spend so much time with another friend and it drives me crazy, nee insane. Al, my friend, seems to continually post on social media every time they hang out. They see each other multiple times a week. They’ve been on vacations together. And with it in my face constantly, I find that I’m actually doubly jealous because I want a friend like that, and I want to be that to my friend. I want that, but for some reason can’t have it. And I don’t know why.
Jealousy is not a fun way to feel. It’s anger and neediness all rolled into one. According to Psychology Today, it’s a survival skill that arises when a relationship feels threatened. And I guess that is where I am. It’s an odd feeling–I rarely feel threatened. But for some reason, this friendship I do. I just can’t be all the things that this other friend is to Al. And I don’t know why. Which makes me seem inferior and unworthy, which makes me jealous and depressed. And the cycle doesn’t stop.
Relationships are chemical. All relationships. Romantic or platonic, although we’re more forgiving in the platonic kind. However this chemical attraction is what keeps the relationship going. We have to work hard on all relationships. We have to come forward, or in my case, let others come forward and take ownership of the relationship as well. When one person doesn’t seem to put forward as much as the other, it’s frustrating. And it gets worse when they put, what seems to be more effort, towards another person.
I’m jealous because I want to be everything, but I can’t. I want to be as important to Al as he is to me….and I want to believe I am, but for some reason I don’t trust the fact. I don’t expect any of my friends to solely focus on me. That would be narcissistic and boring. But at the same time, I’m jealous that my friend seems to spend a lot of time with another one of his friends.
In a conversation tonight with my friend Dee, a nail was hit on the head. Dee tossed the painful realization at me that I’m seeking to fill a void in my life and seeking to fill it with people who aren’t correctly suited to do so. Instead I need to find the strength within myself to be complete, and not wait around for my friend Al to come dashing to my side–because that has never happened, and probably won’t.
As I’m writing this, I’m babysitting and watching the end of Big Hero 6–the kiddos started it before they went to bed and it’s running in the background. And I do love this movie. Sorry to ruin it for you, but in one of the final scenes Beta Max says to Hiro–who doesn’t want to leave him– “I will always be with you.”
The Universe always sends the message we need, doesn’t it??
Trust. Trust is the antidote to jealousy.
I have to trust my friendship. It is important. My friend Al does make time for me and is happy to see me, but for some reason I forget that the moment I see a picture on social media. I have to create a strong talisman against this jealousy. So what am I doing to make this better?
- Breathe. Yeah… this is ALWAYS my first step–but its important to do.
- Get it out physically. DON’T HURT ANYONE, but a nice jog or a hearty physical workout always helps get the emotions out of my body.
- Block social media. I took a break from my friend. I hid him for a couple of weeks. If I want to text or call or email, I do. But I’m taking a social media hiatus until I can handle it again. (After all, social media isn’t real life. Its what people want you to see.)
- Journal. And blog. And talk to friends. Get it out–otherwise it festers.
- Rational conversation. When I’m ready, I’m going to have a rational, unemotional conversation with my friend–I actually have had this conversation with him a few times. Every time he always hugs me, tells me I’m silly because he loves spending time with me.
- Know your pressure points. Like in step one, I know that social media pics and posts push me over the edge. You can’t avoid the pressure points forever, but know when you are about to steer into a situation that might set you off, either mentally arm yourself, or know you’re about to snap, and try to restrain your feelings.
I would like to make clear that I’M NOT a psychologist or psychiatrist. However I do know people, and I am trying to learn my own mind. Jealousy is not an easy emotion to deal with, and I certainly haven’t mastered or overcome it yet. I would love to discuss this with any of you! Please leave comments or suggestions!!