Webmaster note: I have posted several articles on jealousy and envy. These were written from a soulish (or carnal) perspective. Good for discernment, but NOT complete freedom. If you have a serious issue with jealousy, envy, pathological obsessions,etc SEEK DELIVERANCE!
KJV Num 5:14 And the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be defiled: or if the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be not defiled:
Webmaster note: I have posted several articles on jealousy and envy. These were written from a soulish (or carnal) perspective. Good for discernment, but NOT complete freedom. If you have a serious issue with jealousy, envy, pathological obsessions,etc SEEK DELIVERANCE!
“Comparing is a trap that permeates our lives, especially if we’re high-need-for-achievement professionals.” Thomas DeLong, Harvard Business Review
Working with emotional intelligence in the workplace since the late’90’s, I’ve found there are three emotions that many people don’t like to admit to feeling – envy, jealousy and resentment. This is understandable. Owning our human experience of envy, jealousy and resentment isn’t attractive – but it’s vitally important to do.
“Envy, says author Bruna Martinuzzi, the “unmentionable” emotion, is perhaps one of the most pervasive and powerful of all the disruptive emotions that affect our corporate environments.”
Often used synonymously, envy and jealousy have different meanings.
Envy, starts with the desire for something that someone else has. Unchecked it can escalate to harboring ill will or acting out against the object of our envy. Envy says – I want what you have. When we envy, we are acting on a belief that having this thing we want will provide us with greater stature or happiness – and that not having this thing diminishes us in some way. The thing can be anything: looks, money, position, relationship, even time.
Jealousy, envy’s cousin, usually carries more suspicion. We believe in some way that the thing we want and do not have rightly belongs to us. Typically, jealousy is associated with another person.
Resentment is usually a companion emotion to envy and jealousy. Why don’t we have this thing – and why do they? Resentment gnaws away at us and can be a springboard to anger, hatred and even depression.
All three have one important factor in common – they are fueled by making comparisons. From the time we are young children, we begin to measure ourselves by what others do – and what they have. It’s a natural human impulse that can only be tempered by what we as adults learn and implement in our thinking management.
There’s a direct line between what we think, how we feel and how we behave – and when we comparewe trigger a feeling.
Where Does Envy, Jealousy and Resentment Come From?
We all arrive in adulthood with a load of emotional baggage. Our nature which takes the form of our personality, style and psychological makeup plays a major role. So does nurture – how we are raised and conditioned shapes our inherent state. But culture is a huge factor in how we define and measure our self-worth, self-image and self-esteem. The early messages we introjected about success, achievement, accomplishment, competition, status, power, fairness and justice all laid the foundation for the values and beliefs that fuel our feelings of envy, jealousy and resentment.
Understanding how we are neurally hard-wired for these emotions can also give us important insights into how they function.
Our judging mind is a critical enabler in generating envy, jealousy and resentment. One part of our brain, the neo-cortex (the so-called rational mind) brilliantly sifts through information, draws on information and past experiences and makes assessments. The other part of our brain (the ancient Reptilian brain) is also busy trolling the environment and making judgments. But this part of our brain doesn’t mitigate information with reason. Its job is survival. Its unconscious reactivity plays a key role in the fight or flight response. Will it eat me or will I eat it is the still the primary domain of the so-called Lizard Brain.
In recent years, research has found that the same area of the brain that controls envy and jealousy is the same part that detects physical pain. “It’s interesting that the part of the brain which detects physical pain is also associated with mental pain,” said Hidehiko Takahashi, who led the research.
The Workplace is an Emotional Cauldron
It is easy to see why envy, jealousy and resentment are routinely triggered in most workplaces. Position, power arrangements, lack of trust and transparency, miscommunication, time pressures and real or perceived scarcity of resources can pit people against colleagues and the “competition.”
In fact, unbalanced competitiveness can set the stage for envy, jealousy, resentment and greed. Because competition is the primary ethos that drives Western business, competing with others is an expected and even desirable function of the business model. Often the language of competition is filled with war and sports metaphors, further increasing the chance that emotions like envy and jealousy will become triggered, even habituated responses.
In his Harvard Business Review article, The Comparing Trap, Thomas DeLong points out, “No matter how successful we are and how many goals we achieve, this trap causes us to recalibrate our accomplishments and reset the bar for how we define success. What we’ve done in the past doesn’t matter; real success or achievement requires something more – a title we’ve never held, a task we’ve never done, a company we’ve never worked for. The process of comparing requires us to keep making our target more difficult to hit. And if we manage to hit this difficult target, we simply create an even more difficult one at which to aim.”
The Drivers for Envy, Jealousy and Resentment
At the core of our motivation are needs. We’re not talking about “business” needs here, but about our fundamental universal core needs – for physical well-being, connection to others, peace of mind and meaning in our lives. Most of us aren’t well-versed in identifying what needs are driving us (they underlie every value and belief we have) but everything we do is in satisfaction of a need.
From a needs perspective, being in a state of envy, jealousy and resentment is the polar opposite of feeling safety, tranquility and equanimity. These emotions enable a state of expansiveness. On the other hand, when we are experiencing envy, jealousy and resentment, we feel a state of contraction – physically, emotionally and mentally. When we experience these emotions, our needs are not being met. Even when we are aware of our needs deficit, we rationalize our state as temporary – on our way to satisfaction. Too many people stay in this “stuck state,” trying to function from this unsatisfying place, chasing the next goal.
Are there any positives to experiencing the emotions of envy, jealousy and resentment? Yes – every emotion holds potentially valuable information about our needs – albeit sometimes challenging. Your emotions provide you with a continuous barometer of whether you are meeting your needs – or not. Feeling calm or confident or enthusiastic – needs met. Feeling envious, jealous or resentful – good chance your needs aren’t met.
In describing envy, New York Times author Natalie Angier writes, “Envy may help keep us in line, making us so desperate to look good that we take the high road and start to act good, too. We struggle with our private envy, our longing for more esteem than we command, and the struggle only sharpens the painful contrast between the imagined perfection of the envied adversary that we have enshrined on an imaginary throne, and the defective merchandise that is ourselves. If you desire glory, you may envy Napoleon,” Bertrand Russell said. “But Napoleon envied Caesar, Caesar envied Alexander, and Alexander, I daresay, envied Hercules, who never existed.” If envy is a tax levied by civilization, it is one that everyone must pay.”
The area of the brain which controls jealousy has been found, scientists have announced.
It is the same part which detects real physical pain – perhaps explaining why feeling envious of your lover’s philandering ways hurts so much.
‘It’s interesting the part of the brain which detects physical pain is also associated with mental pain,’ said Hidehiko Takahashi, who led the research.
‘Assessing these feelings of jealousy will possibly be helpful in mental care such as counselling.’
The spot which makes people delight in others’ misfortune – called schadenfreude – was also located by the team.
In the experiments, 19 students were asked to talk of a more successful rival while having MRI scans, which monitor brain activity.
A part of their frontal lobe became more active when the students felt jealous of their rivals, the Japanese study showed.
They then read a story in which the subject of their envy suffered a series of misfortunes, including food poisoning.
Their scan data showed the mishaps sparked greater activity in the ‘reward reaction’ part of the brain, which normally lights up when receiving social and financial fortune. ‘We now have a better understanding of the mechanism at work when people take pleasure in another’s misfortune,’ added Mr Takahashi.
Read more: http://metro.co.uk/2009/02/16/jealousy-spot-on-the-brain-identified-by-scientists-460744/#ixzz4HhqE9oOJ
BY ALIA HOYT
Of all the emotions humans show, jealousy is one of the most common and unsettling. It tends to bring out the worst in us, even though most of us know better. It's an age-old problem, having been recorded since biblical times, and no doubt experienced even before that. And it's not limited to humans, either. Even wild animals like chimpanzees and elephantsexhibit jealous tendencies.
Long-surviving tales of jealousy include David, the second king of Israel, who until he triumphed against the Philistines and the legendary Goliath, was well liked by King Saul. Following these substantial successes, however, Saul forced him out of the country, due to a ripe case of jealousy. David had the last laugh, though -- he eventually became king of Israel and built quite an empire for himself.
The Greek goddess Hera, wife to the philandering Zeus, may not have been jealous without cause, but she certainly expressed her displeasure in unflattering ways, choosing to harass her husband's lovers and children, rather than dealing with his infidelity directly.
If jealousy impacts humans negatively, then why do we continue to behave this way? Cultural psychologists tend to believe that humans are inherently jealous, simply because our jobs, relationships and material goods mean a lot to us, and we don't want to lose them.
A popular misconception about jealousy is that it is the same as envy. In fact, the feeling of envy refers to wanting something that someone else has, such as a fast car or a house in the Hamptons. Jealousy, however, is more aptly described as the fear of losing something (a lover, promotion, friend, etc.) to someone else. "Jealousy is an anticipatory emotion. It seeks to prevent loss," said Ralph Hupka, Professor of Psychology, Emeritus at California State University at Long Beach. "Jealousy causes us to take precautionary measures. Should those fail and the partner has an affair, the new situation arouses anger, depression, disappointment, and so on."
In this article we'll delve further into the nitty-gritty of jealousy, when it begins and how it can quickly get out of control. You will also learn about the different types of jealousy and how experts say it can be controlled. We'll start with the people most likely to be jealous. Who are they? You'll see on the next page.
Jealousy in Relationships: The Gender Factor
There's no doubt that everyone experiences some level of jealousy at some time or another. Many people wonder whether or not jealousy is influenced by age, gender, ethnicity or other factors. These questions, while very interesting, are also exceedingly difficult to study in a controlled, scientific setting. According to Dr. Hupka, many psychologists believe that women are inclined to be jealous more often, simply because they tend to be more honest and in touch with their emotions than their male counterparts.
The triggers to male and female jealousy also tend to be the same. Both genders become jealousy when they fear losing something or someone valuable to them. One study, however, revealed that women would be more likely to aim jealous behavior at a rival, rather than their partner. Maybe Hera was ahead of her time after all.
One study published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior found that taller men tend to be less jealous than shorter men. The researchers attribute this to male height being associated with reproductive success, attractiveness and dominance. Similarly, women of average height tend to be less jealous than taller or shorter counterparts, perhaps because they are also believed to be healthier and more reproductively successful.
At this time, there does not appear to be a difference in jealousy levels between ethnic and age groups. It is difficult to study age groups because it would require the scientists to interview the exact same people one age, then revisit them decades later. Dr. Hupka argues that even if that was accomplished, the results would be outdated, because people raised in the 1950s experienced entirely different cultural variations than people raised just a couple of decades later. Similarly, cultural variations from country to country would make studies on different ethnic groups difficult to generalize across the board.
Preteen and Teenage Jealousy
Although the demographics of jealousy are difficult to study, researchers do have special concern about child and adolescent jealousy. According to legendary child entertainer Fred Rogers (commonly known as Mr. Rogers), competition can be tricky for very young children, likely causing jealousy to rear its ugly head when it becomes evident that parental love and attention must be shared with others.
Sibling rivalry is also very common in multi-child households, causing angst between children and for the parents who have to put up with near constant bickering. Unfortunately for weary parents, this behavior is completely normal. Kidshealth.org recommends that parents refrain from getting involved in sibling arguments unless there's a threat of physical harm. This forces the children to deal with the squabble themselves, rather than relying on the parent(s) to iron it out. It also minimizes the risk that the parent may unconsciously side with one child over another, amping up the fodder for fights.
Experts also encourage parents to keep the peace by proactively spending one-on-one time with each child and reminding them regularly that true parental love does not have limits, among other things.
As if adolescence is not challenging enough, a recent study in the journal Developmental Psychology found that adolescents who experience low self-esteem and extreme loneliness tend to worry that friendships are threatened by others, causing jealousy that can lead to aggressive behavior. The researchers found that intimacy (in this case through friendship) begets vulnerability, resulting in jealousy and aggression.
Five hundred fifth through ninth grade students were evaluated to assess these vulnerabilities. For example, the questions were designed to find out what level of jealousy resulted in hypothetical situations, such as if their best friend went shopping with someone else. The researchers also surveyed peers about their perceived opinions of jealous behavior in others. The study determined that adolescents with lower levels of self worth were more likely to become jealous. In addition, jealous adolescents studied were more inclined to become either physically or passively aggressive -- ignoring people with whom they were angry.
The study also reinforced current beliefs about females being more jealous than males. This group of researchers attributes this to the idea that girls have higher standards of loyalty, kindness, empathy and commitment than boys, so they become more jealous when these standards are not met. The underlying factor in this negative behavior is the same as it is for everyone -- adolescents fear losing friendships, so they behave in a jealous manner to "protect" them, even if their behavior is actually destructive.
Types of Jealousy
Jealousy can be best divided into two main categories: normal and abnormal. As already mentioned, everyone experiences jealousy at some point, no matter how saintly they are. Dr. Hupka notes that labels can be attached to every type of situation that causes jealousy. Some of these include:
Paranoia and schizophrenia can cause delusions of unfaithfulness, causing a jealous reaction. Extreme sensitivity can also contribute to jealousy in instances where a person perceives a threat to the relationship when there's no threat present. "It is not easy to determine when it changes into neurotic jealousy," says Dr. Hupka.
"The latter is usually associated with the exercise of excessive control over the mate, who has unrealistic concerns about the mate’s faithfulness." He goes on to note that sufferers of this form of abnormal jealousy often exhibit behaviors such as calling the mate repeatedly to "check in" and going through the mate’s telephone and address books.
While it may never be possible to completely avoid having jealous feelings, experts do believe it is possible to control jealous behavior. For example, experts recommend that friends and lovers alike avoid the pitfalls of jealousy by being honest with each other to avoid a build-up of unspoken emotions. Negative feelings tend to ferment over time and present themselves in an unflatteringly jealous way. Keeping and maintaining trust is also a key ingredient to avoiding jealous situations. Lastly, sensitivity is vital to recognizing the cues that upset and worry other people.
The negative aspects of jealousy are obvious, but can it ever yield positive results? Thomas Jefferson, for one, believed that a truly free government must be founded in jealousy to protect it and help it thrive. Dr. Hupka notes that normal jealousy is a sign that one partner cares about the other and values the relationship. In short, when jealousy is kept in the bounds of normal behavior it can be a good thing. The minute someone’s pet bunny is threatened, however, take it as a sign that the green-eyed monster has gone too far.
If you’re a human who interacts with other humans, the odds are good that you know what it feels like to be jealous.
Jealousy is an angry, agitated, anxious state in which we feel threatened. It can occur when we worry that we are inferior (by comparing ourselves to others, for instance) or when we fear that we will lose someone or something we value, such as a partner.12 Jealousy can crop up in all types of relationships, including between siblings, friends, coworkers, and romantic partners.3 It can be similar to envy, which stems from resenting others who have something you desire but don’t currently have, but ultimately, it has a different cocktail of symptoms.
Psychologists believe jealousy may have evolved as a mechanism to motivate us to maintain the relationships that contribute to our lives and, by extension, our very survival.4 Small doses of jealousy can also clue us in to how much we value and appreciate the people in our lives.5 But while jealousy may be motivated by a positive outcome – like sustaining a valued relationship – it can very easily lead to negative consequences. Thanks to technological connectivity, it’s easier than ever to come up with reasons to feel jealous these days.6
The good news is that you don’t have to be a magician to cope with jealousy. Instead, you can free yourself from the green-eyed monster’s grasp with simple, do-anywhere techniques. Here’s how to recognize when jealousy has reared its ugly head – and how to deal with it before it harms your health and relationships.
This Is Your Body on Jealousy
Jealousy often manifests as feelings of anger, agitation, or intense worry. Jealous feelings activate several regions of the brain. One is the same region involved in processing physical pain; another also handles emotions such as shame.78 These emotional and physiological reactions can cause a jealous person to become oversensitive, possessive, or excessively vigilant.
Jealousy can also trigger the body’s stress response, leading to spikes in heart rate, blood pressure, and levels of cortisol, which is the stress hormone; it can also lead to sleeping problems or a poor appetite.9 In this way, jealousy’s effects are similar to those of chronic anxiety; it can even provoke depression.10 When left unchecked, these jealous feelings can also turn into jealous behaviors, such as leveling accusations, moping, seeking reassurance, and lashing out.11
Just as jealousy can have negative consequences on your personal wellbeing, it can also harm your relationships. Jealous behaviors can cause anyone, including siblings, coworkers, and friends, to distance themselves from the person acting out of jealousy. For example, partners accused of wrongdoing may feel hurt, anxious, frustrated, or exhausted from having to defend themselves.12
Often, it’s not the person we’re jealous of that creates trouble in our relationships – our own jealousy leads to inner pain, relationship conflicts, misunderstandings, and, in the worst cases, permanent rifts.13
How to Cope with Jealousy
We’ve established what jealousy is and how it can affect your body, mind, health, and relationships. We’ve also recognized that when left to its own devices, jealousy can be a toxic emotion that harms you and destroys intimate relationships.
Now for the good news – while jealousy may feel overwhelming, you are never at its mercy. It’s possible to identify and cope with jealousy in healthy ways that leave your body, mind, and relationships intact. Here’s how to identify and manage jealousy.
Allow yourself to feel jealous
Denial never helped anyone work through emotional challenges. Give yourself time to really feel whatever you’re feeling without acting on it.14 When feelings of jealousy arise, excuse yourself to a quiet room or a peaceful setting outdoors. Breathe deeply and notice the emotions and tensions arising in your body. Allow yourself to feel jealousy without doing anything about it, and you’ll likely notice the feeling starting to dissipate.
Examine what you hope to gain from your jealousy
Once you realize that you feel jealous and allow yourself to feel that way for a bit, it’s time to start working with that emotion to respond to it in a constructive way. A good place to start is by asking yourself, “What is my jealousy attempting to accomplish?”15
For example, perhaps your jealousy is a projection of guilt for having flirted with someone other than your partner, or maybe your jealousy is alerting you to the fact that you don’t really trust your partner to be faithful and you need to have a conversation with them. It may be signaling an emotional need that’s not being met, for instance, needing more quality time with your friend. Perhaps it’s just showing you how deeply you care about a given relationship and that it’s time you expressed your feelings to the person involved.
After you identify what you hope to gain from your jealousy, take a moment to recognize what that tells you about yourself.16 Maybe your jealousy is teaching you that you want to be in a monogamous relationship or that you value honesty and sincerity in relationships with your coworkers. In any case, jealousy can teach you a lot about your values, wants, and needs.17 Once you’ve observed these factors, write down a game plan to address those needs in a constructive way, with no lashing out allowed.
Identify and challenge the inner critic
As mentioned, jealousy often comes with feelings of shame, inferiority, or low self-worth. For this reason, when you feel jealous, you may find that the “inner critic” inside your head becomes particularly active.18 Perhaps it’s telling you that your friend likes all your other friends better than you or that no one could ever love you enough to be faithful to you.
It’s important to notice this voice because that’s the only way to combat it. Once you identify the negative thoughts running through your head, you can choose to counteract them by telling yourself that you are worthy of love, that your friends really do care for you, and so on. Remind yourself that just because you can imagine a horrible scenario, that doesn’t mean it’s actually true.19
Often, the inner critic can cause us more emotional pain than whatever sparked the inner critic’s opinions in the first place. By recognizing and talking back to this voice, you can start to reprogram your mental state toward more positive perceptions of yourself and the situation.
Because jealousy often leads to feelings of shame, it’s all too easy to keep these feelings to yourself. But one of the best ways to handle jealous thoughts is to share them openly and honestly with the relevant party.20 Just make sure you do it without getting upset or making accusations, and frame it as something you’d like some help working through as opposed to something that someone has done to you. If you don’t feel comfortable communicating directly with the person at the center of your jealousy, consider talking through your feelings with a therapist or trusted friend.
When you feel insecure or less-than, it’s easy to lash out at loved ones. But the real antidote to the shame, anxiety, and anger that arises from jealousy isn’t more shame, anxiety, and anger; it’s compassion – and that begins with yourself.
Whenever jealousy arises, take that as your cue to dial up the self-care.21 Take a bubble bath, write down a list of your positive traits, practice meditation or yoga, go for a long walk in the woods, or do anything else that helps you feel good.22 Make sure to make a point of talking back to any thoughts that compare you to others; comparison is a surefire happiness killer. Shifting your focus away from jealousy and toward positive, loving actions can help you feel positive and loving.
If you’ve tried all of the strategies on this list and nothing seems to help or if jealousy regularly affects your health and relationships, it may be time to seek professional assistance.23
A therapist can help you process past experiences that may underlie your jealousy, help you better understand your attachment style, and provide you with additional tools to feel more secure in close relationships.
Jealousy is a human emotion. There’s no shame in feeling jealous, but there is an art to coping with jealousy in a healthy way. Human relationships are inherently messy and uncertain. Sometimes your worst fears may be nothing but fiction; sometimes they may come true. You can’t control what other people do or how they treat you, but you can manage your own emotions so you treat others with integrity, honesty, and respect. And who wouldn’t want to maintain a relationship based on that?
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