Excessive jealousy can jeopardize our relationships. But releasing jealousy is not an easy affair. 7 mindful practices that help.
Releasing jealousy occupies your mind? Well you are not alone. All of us have felt a form of jealousy at certain moments in our lives. It can be a slight irritation when you see your neighbour’s luxury car, your colleagues’ promotion or the holiday photos of your friends. But it can be a long period of suffering. For instance, your partner shows attention to someone else. You caught yourself entirely ignored or under valued.
“I remember, in my 20s, I had a very loyal partner”, said one of my friends. “Being loved as I was at the moment, I still felt horribly unsure”, she said. “I couldn’t even bear it when he looked into an image of a woman in a magazine. It sounded completely illogical. I knew it wasn’t a real person that couldn’t in any way threaten our relationship. But I couldn’t help my feelings”. That sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
Indeed, jealousy is a terrible emotion. If you suffer from it I fully understand. We are irritated and unsure, insecure aren’t we? But not only that we can feel really bad about ourselves as well. Certainly we are burned with the desire to show the best of ourselves. Who doesn’t want to possess confidence in themselves and others? To be honest it’s a much better sentiment to have.
Nevertheless, we demonstrate incapability to get out of this sensation of inferiority and jealousy. It overwhelms us to the point that we may feel guilty and small.
First of all I want to tell you this. Being jealous isn’t always a bad thing. Being jealous can be a sign that you are very committed to your relationship or to the improvement of your conditions. What’s wrong if you want a monogamous relationship, or a better house or a car? You show your value of loyalty and perfections.
However, when we are excessively jealous this can jeopardize our relationships. We may react in a way that hurts others or even ourselves.
But are there efficient ways of releasing jealousy? Well releasing jealousy is not an easy affair.
A long period of self-discovery and alignment, through consistent mindfulness practices can bring positive changes in releasing jealousy.
Learn 7 mindful practices that help today.
1) Mindfully observe and accept your jealousy
First of all sit back and observe your feelings. Know that you are jealous. This is the first step for you not to identify yourself with your emotions. Breathe in and out mindfully and tell yourself: “I am jealous, but I am not my emotions”. The observation of your jealousy brings you to a certain distance from it.
Then mindfully accept your jealousy and don’t feel bad about it. To love means to first and foremost accept ourselves as we are. Practice releasing jealousy comes first with seeing the conditions that permits us to be as we are. This is both our happiness and our sufferings.
We are not all saints. We are human beings and our emotions are part of us. You are not less when you are jealous. Accept that you can have an emotion — and just allow it to be.
2) Ask yourself: “Am I sure?”
When you are aware that you are jealous and accept it the next step is to practice “see deeply“. Let go of any notions. Maybe things are not exactly as you think they are. Maybe it’s just perhaps just your perceptions.
Our perception is like a lake. When there is the wind or a storm, or maybe a ship passing by the lake is disturbed. In these conditions we can’t see the reflection of the trees or the clouds. Only a standstill lake can mirror exactly the image of the sky as it is.
So next time, when you notice jealousy moving up within yourself, ask this: “Am I sure?”. Maybe you have had many wrong notions on what really makes you happy. These notions can be the origins of your jealousy.
For example, your neighbour has a good car and you feel jealous? Probably it is because you think having a good car is a sign of privilege and success. But is it true? Do I really need that kind of approval of others based on a car?
Similarly, if you are jealous about the behaviour of your partner ask yourself this; “Am I sure?”. Maybe what I see was not what really happened. I think she doesn’t love me but perhaps it is not the reality. Probably your emotions have their origins from your past relationship wounds or your childhood experiences.
In another way you may also believe that you have little to offer. Who would want to be with you? If your jealousy is based on this belief then you might examine the evidence for and against this idea. Remind yourself of your qualities.
Dig deep in depth into the soil until you find a source of pure water. Sit down in silence, and listen to yourself until a profound vision arises and love emerges to the surface.
In time, with your practice you will benefit from your mental calmness and the energy of mindfulness. You carry with you a profound joy and peace within you. You can then approach the true perception of things. Let the light of mindfulness get in and brighten the circumstances and things that make us jealous. Our jealousy may fade away naturally. We can stop being a source of suffering to ourselves as well as others.
3) Remind yourself that jealousy is not a synonym for love
People often say that you are only jealous when you love. But jealousy is not a synonym for love. It is useful to remind yourself of this while aiming at releasing jealousy.
When we love someone, we must look profoundly into the nature of this love. Want to be with someone to find emotional security? That is understandable but it is not true love. True love does not maintain any suffering nor attachment. On the contrary, it brings the feeling of well-being, within us and in the other person.
True love is from within. You feel fulfilled and don’t need to acquire something from outside. This includes all the objects of your attention, your partner, a new house, a new promotion. “True love is like the sun, it shines by its own light and offers it to everybody” (Thich Nhat Hanh). When you are fulfilled from the inside you don’t feel jealous.
Therefore, cultivate the alignment within yourself. First of all by accepting the responsibility you have for your own feelings. Your alignment is nothing to do with your partner. Your alignment is yours. You don’t need someone to hold you as a subject of attention in order for you to feel aligned. You will have more chances of releasing jealousy.
4) Move the focus out of the “I”
When we tell somebody “I love you”, we often focus on the “I” who love, more than the quality of the love that is offered. It is because we are blinded by the idea of our “ego”.
It is the same when we are jealous. We focus on ourselves and our needs for recognition. “People often say that jealousy is the result of low self-esteem. In fact, jealousy — in some cases — may reflect high self-esteem: “I won’t allow myself to be treated this way” (PsychologyToday). We all want to be loved or to be appreciated.
Therefore releasing jealousy comes together with this question: “Am I focusing on my ego?”. Is it my need to get her attention? Is it my fear of losing him? Or do I want to be approved via a beautiful car or a good promotion? Simply acknowledge that fact. Move your notions out of your own ego. Shift it to the quality of your love. You will naturally free yourself from the feeling of jealousy.
5) Three useful phrases for releasing jealousy
Already looked deeply into your feeling of jealousy? Identify the “ego” part of those emotions? However, the feelings still overwhelm you?
Well, at that moment there are three phrases for love meditation that may help. They are taught by the Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, in his teaching on true love.
Let us take applying Thich’s teaching in an example of releasing jealousy in romantic relationships.
The first is: “Darling, I’m jealous and I want you to know about it”. Believe me, this simple phrase needs courage.
The second is: “I do my best”. This means you have practiced looking deeply into your feelings, breathed and taken distance from the need of your own ego… Show your partner your sincerity to move out of your emotions.
The third is “Please help me”.
When you are jealous you are blessed. Sometimes the last person to whom you want to talk to is your partner. You considered that he or she has made you suffer. Have the courage to go to the person who has made you suffer. Be true to yourself and sincerely ask for help.
This sincere acknowledgment of your feeling and the willingness to overcome them will bring about an opportunity for healing. Yourself and your partner can open both your hearts to each other. You can communicate and reconcile. Maybe, once explained the situation was not exactly as you thought it was.
There is an important thing to realize: Your relationship is more likely to be jeopardized by your jealous behaviour than jealous feelings. Behaviours are such as continual accusations, reassurance-seeking, pouting and acting out (PsychologyToday). Therefore sincerely acknowledge your jealous feelings. Ask for help. This will bring you an opportunity to prevent any harmful jealous actions. It opens the gate for reconciliation.
6) Rise over the complexity of comparison
In general, releasing jealousy is difficult if we are lost in the complexity of comparison. Clearly low self-esteem is a complexity that creates jealousy. But when we have too high self-esteem it equally creates jealousy. We want to be outstanding. We don’t want others to show their best, hence jealousy.
In the same line when you say “I am also as good as him”, it is also another complexity that creates jealousy. Because you perceive the other person as something separated from you.
When you start comparing you suffer from jealousy. How do you deal with it?
First of all practice equanimity. Equanimity is the fourth quality of true love. Practice feeling joy for other people when they succeed. It is not easy, but possible. Sitting and breathing mindfully you know you are not separated from others. You are part of all that is. All are interwoven. You benefit from others’ success. You depend on other humans and living beings for your survival. Why is their success not yours?
Secondly remember to take perspectives. When you practice mindful breathing and see deeply in each cell of your body, you realize that you are made of stars. Your partner is too. She engraves eternity within herself as well. This perspective brings you to another layer of reality. You might suddenly find that your jealousy does not have any reason to make you suffer so much.
Sit down when you are jealous. Breathe and feel this vibrant energy of life in your body. See how it changes your perception and feelings.
7) Embrace the wisdom of uncertainty
Jealousy seeks certainty. “I want to know for sure that he isn’t interested in her.” “She must assure me that we won’t break up.” Or “he has that promotion, when will I?”
Most human beings spend their lives searching for security. But attachment to the results either in a relationship, or money, or success, is a sign of insecurity. You can say: “When I know for sure that I win her heart, I can then relax”. Or “when I have the same luxury car, I can finally be respected”. But these will never come. Never. Because there will always be something else that makes you worried, or jealous.
However big your bank account, or the dedication of your partner to you, your attachment to them always bring insecurity or jealousy.
Therefore embrace today the wisdom of uncertainty and non-attachment. Uncertainty is a part of life. It is one of those limitations that we can’t really do anything about. “Uncertainty is a fertile field of pure creativity and freedom” (Deepak Chopra). It works in all domains of your life, including releasing jealousy.
Releasing jealousy – Take-aways
All of us have felt a form of jealousy at certain moments in our lives. It is a terrible emotion. We are irritated, unsure, insecure. We feel bad about ourselves. Needless to say, when we are excessively jealous, it can jeopardize our relationships. What are the best mindful tips for releasing jealousy? Try the 7 below:
- Mindfully observe and accept your jealousy
- Ask yourself: “Am I sure?”
- Remind yourself that jealousy is not a synonym for love
- Move the focus out of the “I”
- Practice three useful phrases for releasing jealousy
- Rise over the complexity of comparison
- Embrace the wisdom of uncertainty
“I am convinced that the jealous, the angry, the bitter, and the egotistical are the first to race to the top of mountains. A confident person enjoys the journey, the people they meet along the way”
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