Why Do We Feel Jealous? Ways To Overcome It


Have you ever felt angry or sad when your best friend gave more attention to someone else? Did the sight of two of them hanging out without you somehow make you resentful? If your answer is yes, you might be feeling a certain emotion known as jealous or jealousy. 

Everyone experiences jealousy at some point in their lives, whether from a sibling, a classmate, or in a romantic relationship, and it is not uncommon. Jealousy becomes serious only when it becomes a defining trait of a person and interferes with their daily life and relationships. The Oxford dictionary defines jealousy as’ feeling or showing an envious resentment of someone or their achievements, possessions, or perceived advantages.’ It is felt in the form of an overwhelming emotion that is sometimes very confusing. 

Why Do People Feel Jealous?

We are all programmed to feel a little bit of jealousy. It is as natural an emotion as anger or sadness. Some of the common causes of jealousy are-

  • Low sense of self esteem
  • Being a victim of infidelity and betrayal in the past
  • Having unrealistic expectations from your partner
  • Constant fear of losing your partner to someone
  • Having a wrong sense of right and wrong in relationships
  • Deep rooted trust issues 
  • Overly competitive nature 

Jealousy is not only a part of relationships. There are many other scenarios as well, wherein a person feels jealous. Some of these situations are-

  • Workplace jealousy- jealousy in the workplace is very common. Imagine you are up for promotion and a colleague gets it instead of you. This can make you jealous. It takes place when you think you deserve the promotion better.
  • Jealousy in a classroom- an adult who is jealous might have picked up this trait in his or her very childhood. Students who become unreasonably resentful over someone else scoring well or doing well in sports can become adults who are extremely possessive about their belongings and relationships.
  • Pathological jealousy- for some people, jealousy is in their very nature. You might know an extremely possessive or competitive person who always tries to outshine others. This can be a sign of an underlying mental health condition which requires timely intervention. Professional help can help in such cases of jealousy. 

Jealousy In Romantic Relationships

When we are attracted to someone, we sometimes want their undivided attention. We want to be their priority as much as they are ours. When we see a potential threat to this relationship, we start feeling insecure and angry. It becomes a serious issue when a partner imagines a non-existent threat, and this can seriously damage any relationship. If you or your partner feel overly possessive or insecure about talking to a third person, it might be a serious case of jealousy. 

A boyfriend stopping his girlfriend from texting anyone else, not “allowing” her to wear certain clothes, or getting mad when she goes out with friends, are all examples of jealousy in relationships

Many times, the threat exists only in our minds, which leads us to be jealous. Expression of this jealousy in a destructive manner can significantly weaken your bond and create a distance between you two. When you feel jealous without a justifiable reason, it may confuse your partner and they may find it harder to understand and talk rationally with you, causing you two to drift apart. It can also lead to mistrust and increased fighting. Inability to deal with jealousy in a healthy way can destroy your physical and mental health and also your relationships. 

How To Identify If You Or Your Partner Are Jealous?


Jealousy is not always easy to identify. Some people do not show it when they feel jealous, others show it in very subtle, unrecognizable ways, while others show it very clearly. Some common signs of jealousy in a relationship are-

  • Frequent anger about a particular person or situation
  • Irritation when talking about someone else
  • Being paranoid about partner’s whereabouts 
  • Checking your partner’s phone, laptop, etc 
  • Displaying sudden insecurity and fear
  • Disliking a third person without any reason
  • Stopping the partner from going out alone or other things
  • Feeling that you and your partner have drifted apart
  • Feeling resentful about each other’s achievements

Sometimes Jealousy Helps

A little jealousy and its expression rationally and calmly can also signal the value of the relationship to a partner. We are not saying that jealousy is a good emotion; sometimes it simply leads you to realize how strong your feelings are about a person. For example, sometimes people realize that they are in love only after seeing that person with someone else. It is natural to feel a little jealous sometimes; it is only how you express it that determines the consequences. And it can be good or bad for your relationship, depending upon how much you let it control your thoughts and actions. 

How To Deal With Jealousy?

In trying to win back the attention and affection back, the jealous partner goes a long way, which can be very scary for the relationship. Moreover, severe jealousy can lead to mental health concerns like depression and anxiety. Therefore, it is very important to identify and deal with jealousy at the right time and in the right way. Here are some ways you can deal with jealousy in relationships- 

  1. Talk about it- The importance of communication in any relationship cannot be stressed out enough. If you are feeling jealous frequently and severely, you should talk to your partner about it. Sharing your concerns with them might bring you two on the same page. Moreover, they could reassure you that you have nothing to worry about. 
  2. Don’t act out instantly- Acting on it as soon as you start feeling jealous might cause more problems. Give yourself time to properly analyse the situation and think about it reasonably. Any statement you make in anger can turn into an argument you did not want. It’s better to stay calm with your feelings until you are sure about it.
  3. Appreciate yourself – Good self-esteem comes from within. Rather than placing your locus of control on external things, you should realise the importance of controlling your emotions yourself. Focus on things you are good at, find a sense of security and tell yourself that you’re worthy and enough. 
  4. Accept your flaws- You should be able to find perfection in your imperfections. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Jealousy often arises from unreasonable expectations of oneself and consequent low self-esteem. Learning to accept yourself and practising self-compassion can help you and therefore your relationships.
  5. Seek professional help – If you still find it difficult to let go of your jealous emotions, you should consider professional therapy. Do not blame yourself, it’s okay to feel jealous. Seeking help is a sign of strength.

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