How to deal with jealousy or any uncomfortable emotion in 7 steps
Step 2 Become more aware of your ineffective coping habits and avoidance strategies which cause you more suffering
What’s YOUR favorite escape hatch? :-)
A key aspect of learning how to deal with jealousy is to become conscious of the old ineffective habits we’ve developed to try to avoid feeling the intensity and pain of jealousy.
The reason this is important is that our coping mechanisms generally not only postpone bringing attention to methods that actually work, the habits themselves can actually bring MORE suffering.
Since we’re often not fully conscious of our avoidance habits, this step is about becoming AWARE of them, not to judge them but to expose them. Each time we expose a debilitating habit to ourselves, it loses some momentum, especially when you begin to see that the habit isn’t achieving its purpose (to avoid feeling jealousy or other inner pain) anyway!
Also, when hurt aspects of ourselves arise and aren’t met with love and acceptance they can gather more energy each time we avoid consciously being with them. Therefore, our coping mechanisms can increase our emotional turmoil because they postpone our loving attendance to the actual pain.
Eventually, the pain is so great that we wonder how to deal with jealousy in more effective ways. And here you are! And I’m so glad you found your way here. :-)
Bringing your ineffective coping mechanisms up into the healing light of Awareness
As you go through the list of coping mechanisms below, you may find you predominantly do one or two or you might do a combination of several of them, as you're learning how to deal with jealousy or other uncomfortable emotions.
Remember, we’re not saying any of these habits are wrong or bad or that you are wrong or bad for doing them while you're learning how to deal with jealousy or other challenging situations.
Our goal with this process is not to judge ourselves.
Instead, out intention in doing this is to become more aware of the unconscious or semi-conscious habits we use to try to avoid feeling strong feelings, such as jealousy.
This process is about lovingly allowing them to come up into the light of conscious Awareness, in service to healing as we learn how to deal with jealousy.
And remember, you’re doing this because you care about yourself, or you wouldn’t be reading these words right now.
To help expose coping strategies that aren’t serving you...
Before you read through the following list, decide to be honest with yourself. Honesty is actually a form of love and in this case, love for yourself.
Think of a situation where you feel / felt jealousy. Next, to help bring up the energy feeling of jealousy (or any other emotion you feel), pretend the people involved are physically in the room with you now.
Then go through the list below slowly, looking at each coping strategy one at a time. For each one, ask yourself:
“Am I doing this?”
“Is the impulse to do this in challenging situations familiar to me?”
Common ineffective avoidance strategies in an attempt to avoid dealing with jealousy and other uncomfortable feelings
1. Denial of feelings
Being either vaguely or fully aware of your feelings of abandonment, diminishment, insecurity, jealousy and etc. but denying they are here.
2. Reaching for a substance or an activity to distract your attention
You might do this with:
surfing the web
Basically, any substance or activity can serve as a distraction from feeling feelings.
3. Trying to build yourself back up when you feel diminished in a jealousy situation by:
Mental “pep talk”
For example, you might tell yourself:
“This situation doesn’t really matter.”
“I’ll just pretend nothing is going on.”
“I’m fine. Everything is fine.”
Mentally or verbally trying to protect or defend yourself
Strategizing ways to try to change the situation and / or the other people involved
Trying to hold onto:
your partner (or friend, or whoever was involved in the jealousy situation with you)
a feeling of security you hope the relationship will give you
a certain way you see yourself when you feel loved by them or important to them
a particular image of how you’d hoped things were between you and your partner (or friend, etc.)
Reaction and Rejection
Mentally and / or verbally judging the other people involved
4. Rerunning and focusing on the same story in your mind about what happened over and over again
Whatever happens in our lives is actually much wider, broader and deeper than our story about it. Every event is a product of an unfathomable chain of previous cause and effect events, and actually none of it is personal!
However, due to our past experiences (often painful ones) we develop a specific lens (a concept about ourselves)through which we view, interpret and therefore experience, all situations.
5. Getting lost in trying to figure out a solution in the mind
The mind loves complication. And we’re used to living most, if not all of our lives, in our head.
However, hanging out predominantly in the mind is itself another coping mechanism, a distraction from actually being with the hurt aspects of ourselves which are calling for our love and attention.
6. Giving up and leaving the relationship or situation prematurely, then avoiding seeing the people who triggered the jealousy
As you're learning how to deal with jealousy and you notice you use any of these avoidance strategies (or any others not listed)...
Simply NOTICE them. Don’t DO anything with them. Just see them. Become aware of them. Be the “Noticer,” the Awareness which sees them, without getting involved IN the impulse.
“Wow… interesting, look at that. I see that impulse is here within me.”
Let go of trying to fix, control, change or even to heal or drop these habits or the emotions involved. Both will naturally fall away in their own time, when they no longer feel necessary.
They gradually become unnecessary when we learn how to deal with jealousy and other strong feelings in effective ways, which you are now in the process of learning in this series.
Decline to judge yourself if you follow any of these tendencies.
All of these habits actually come from an attempt to love yourself.They form themselves automatically when we don’t know any other way to take care of ourselves.
We ALL unconsciously develop coping strategies as a way to get through times when we were absolutely overwhelmed with intensely uncomfortable energies. They actually form out of a deep love for ourselves that is trying to take care of ourselves in the only way that seems possible at the time.
Also keep in mind that all of these behaviors are common habitual ways of coping which are part of the conditioning of our society. It would actually be quite rare (and maybe impossible) if you DIDN’T have any of these tendencies. None of them are actually personal!
Don’t give up on yourself
By the end of this series you’ll know how to deal with jealousy and love and be with yourself in a much kinder way when jealousy and other strong emotions arise.
In the following steps you’ll learn ways to lovingly be with the pain your avoidance strategies attempted to shield you from.
As you practice them, jealousy and other emotional pain gradually unwinds on its own. Likewise, your avoidance strategies will also gradually become unnecessary and fall away organically.
Come on over to Step 3! How to let go of ineffective coping strategies which conceal your innate healing power
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