No one enjoys feeling jealous. Yet, jealousy is an inevitable emotion that pretty much every one of us will experience. The problem with jealousy isn’t that it comes up from time to time, but what it does to us when we don’t get a hold on it. It can be frightening to experience what happens when we allow our jealousy to overpower us or to shape the way we feel about ourselves and the world around us. That is why understanding where our jealous feelings actually come from and learning how to deal with jealousy in healthy, adaptive ways is key to so many areas of our lives from our interpersonal relationships to our careers to our personal goals.
Unsurprisingly, studies have shown that increased jealousy correlates with lower self-esteem. “Many of us are often unaware of the basic shame that exists within us, because it comes so naturally to think self-critical thoughts about ourselves.
Yet, shame from our past can heavily influence the degree to which we feel jealous and insecure in the present,” said Dr. Lisa Firestone, author of Conquer Your Critical Inner Voice. As she and her father Dr. Robert Firestone define it, the “critical inner voice” is a form of negative self-talk. It perpetuates destructive thoughts and feelings, driving us to compare, evaluate and judge ourselves (and often others) with great scrutiny. This is one reason why learning how to deal with jealousy is so important.