Learn to react appropriately to jealousy.

How to React to Jealousy

by Karen Kleinschmidt

Many people feel pangs of jealousy or find themselves on the receiving end of jealous feelings from a friend, romantic partner or even coworker. Jealousy once helped to ensure survival during times when food and other resources were scarce, explains Raj Raghunathan, Ph.D., in his article, "Overcoming Jealousy," published on the Psychology Today website. However, since human beings no longer need to fight for resources, how you choose to handle the emotion of jealousy can make or break any relationship.


Accept your jealous feelings as pushing them away will likely cause them to show up in your actions. Through awareness of your jealousy, you can begin to explore the causes of it and work to curb it. Show people you care about that you are happy when they accomplish something even if you have pangs of jealousy. Whether it's your spouse's half-marathon victory, your co-worker's raise or your best friend's new diamond earrings from her devoted husband, allow those positive emotions to come through. Choosing to interact in this manner to combat your jealous feelings will allow them to diminish over time. If these feelings are directed at you, accept that this is about the other person and allow yourself to be happy with your accomplishments, rather than becoming angry or upset by someone's jealousy.

Dealing With Your Jealousy

Jealous reactions may be covering up feelings of unhappiness, inadequacy or insecurity. It can be hard for anyone to admit this, but being aware of your own feelings can help you move forward, and noticing it in others can help you to understand them. To deal with your own jealousy, begin a journal for a few weeks to pinpoint triggers of jealousy and what you think the jealousy might be covering up. Take note of who you are with, how you feel and what you are jealous of. Use your journal as a tool to help make changes to better yourself.

Dealing With Another's Jealousy

There will be times that someone in your life seems jealous of you. Even if you don't quite feel it, remain positive but avoid walking on eggshells around her. Talk to her on a regular basis and give her extra attention if it seems to help. You may find it necessary to confront her if the situation becomes uncomfortable. "Jealousy is triggered as a result of a third party threatening the bond you have with another person." states Mary C. Lamia, Ph.D., in the article, "What Can Jealousy Teach You?" Let your friend know your friendship is important and you want her to continue to be a part of your life.

Be Yourself

Whether you harbor the jealous feelings or she does, prepare before you see each other. You may find you are the one who is jealous of your best friend's new house. Despite this, buy her a heartfelt housewarming gift and congratulate her with a sincere smile. Share your positive traits and skills with those in your life suggests Jan Yager, friendship coach and author of "When Friendship Hurts." This will help to reduce competition and comparison between each other and will create positive energy in your relationships. Set your own goals even if the two of you are striving for the same outcome. If you want to run a race with your co-worker, who has been running for years, avoid giving up after your first day of training because you are trying to keep up with her. To eliminate unnecessary competition, set your goals based on your priorities and desired outcomes recommends Susan Shapiro Barash, author of "Toxic Friends."


About the Author

Karen Kleinschmidt has been writing since 2007. Her short stories and articles have appeared in "Grandma's Choice," "Treasure Box" and "Simple Joy." She has worked with children with ADHD, sensory issues and behavioral problems, as well as adults with chronic mental illness. Kleinschmidt holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Montclair State University.

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