The New York Optimist
October 2008
John Ryder, Ph.D.

“The Mental Fitness Guru”

What’s crazy about jealousy?

Most of us experience a pang of jealousy once in a while, but others live with it day and night.  Sometimes it is aroused by the other
person who is overtly crossing lines and even trying to evoke envy or jealousy.  More often, a person may express a great deal of
jealousy without any provocation which is when it is over the top.   

Diagnosis: Envy and jealousy are very natural feelings in a mild form when they become the focus of attention and very intense, then
we have a serious problem.  This represents feelings of anger about territoriality, even if the concerns are legitimate these emotions are
toxic.  

Treatment: If these feelings are the result of the other person’s unacceptable behavior, then resolution depends on establishing
comfortable boundaries.  If these feelings are unprovoked, first you can  confront the illusions, then the envy or jealousy must by
reversed and replaced by the polar opposite feelings.  This begins with demanding respect, followed by more generosity, graciousness,
gratitude and tolerance.  

Outcome: The ultimate purpose of envy or jealousy is to protect one’s possessions or to motivate you to acquire even more.  It is not
productive to have these toxic feelings cause stress.  These emotions, especially if unprovoked, reflect the individual’s insecurity and
lack of trust.  If specific efforts are made to build up trust and self confidence then, these negative emotions should eventually be
replaced with the opposite positive feelings of graciousness and gratitude.  

The key is to communicate to resolve questions before they become conflicts.  Do not let jealousy to become an endpoint, it should be
just an alarm to pay more attention.  Then you can work towards balance, harmony and respect. Keep going in positive directions.  

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