You and your significant other are out on a date or at an event and another person talks to, makes eye contact with, or otherwise engages your significant other and you have a very strong feeling.
You observe that your friend, a co-worker, or even a stranger, owns something, has something, or even has options you don’t have and you experience a very strong feeling.
In scenario #1, the issue is that you perceive a threat to your relationship with your significant other. At least two feelings are possible.
Or, some combination of both.
The goal regarding all emotions is to master them so that you can improve your life and your relationships.
If you believe that the threat is to your view of right and wrong and the way things “should” be, or your sense of security, and you are ready to go to war to make things right, then the feeling you most likely are exclusively experiencing is anger.
I have discussed mastering anger in my book Beyond Anger Management: Master Your Anger as a Strategic Tool and in numerous posts on this blog. You can download the first two chapter of the book by scrolling up to the Welcome post.
Anger can also be experienced along with a second feeling.
If you believe that your relationship with your significant other is threatened because your significant other is attracted to the person with whom they are interacting, then you most likely are experiencing jealousy. Jealousy always involves a third party and the message of jealousy is “I have something that I think you want, that I think you are coming after and that you might take from me”.
The other side of Jealousy is that your significant other may be interested in someone else because there is something wrong with you. So, along with jealousy, you might be experiencing, inadequacy, self-doubt, embarrassment, uncertainty and/or insecurity.
You master jealousy when you use the energy of your emotion to:
- validate the feeling in yourself
- understand that there may be some areas of your relationship with your significant other that you need to reexamine
- engage in a conversation with your significant other about your feelings and their understanding of the nature of the relationship between the two of you and between them and the third party.
In scenario #2, the issue is that another person has something, or some ability, that you wish you had. There is no threat.
The emotion you experience is envy.
The core message of envy is “I want what you have”.
Envy can be experienced as a painful emotion. When this is the case, you have taken the focus of your attention from the advantages enjoyed by another and focused it on yourself.
You have added feelings of inadequacy, self-contempt, shame, or inferiority. The message here is “I don’t measure up or have what he (or she) has which means there is something wrong with me.
You master envy when you use the energy of your emotion to:
- validate, or accept, the feeling in yourself,
- take a comprehensive look at what it is you are envious about in that other person,
- decide how important it is for you to emulate that person or obtain what they have,
and, if it is important,
- make a plan to do what is required to acquire the skill, or obtain the desired item.
In this post, I have addressed the emotions of jealousy and envy.
I welcome your comments.