Jealousy Bites: Fight The Green-Eyed Monster

“If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.” – An extract from Desiderata, by Max Ehrmann.

Jealousy is a friendship killer, there’s no doubt about it, and it’s also spelled death for many a relationship.
An ugly and futile emotion – no good arguably comes from jealousy.

RELATED: The Ex-Files: Can You B e Friends With Your Ex?

I recently lost some weight and was a tad hurt, then bemused, when a few friends didn’t share in my joy.
I’d worked extremely hard to achieve this particular post-babies goal of mine – including subjecting myself to endless brutality at the hands of my ex-army PT – so why couldn’t people just be happy for me?
Is jealousy just another name for insecurity or a lack of self-confidence? I think it says much more about the sufferer than the subject.
Having said that, to err is to be human and all of us have fallen prey to the green-eyed monster at times.
So, how do we do battle with this particular demon? Is it just a matter of running our own race and not comparing ourselves to others? Do most of us just get better at managing jealousy as we age?

jealousy, green-eyed monster, relationships

This topic also reminds me of a bitter friendship break-up with a one-time BFF, whose wedding and childbirths I had happily celebrated with gusto, despite being single at the time. Then, when I found love with my now-husband, in the midst of her separation and divorce, she saw it as the ultimate betrayal.
This occurred many years back, and has long since lost its sting, but it taught me an important lesson: true friends celebrate each other’s successes. After all, how can you not want the best for someone you love and care about?
Of course, jealousy in an intimate relationship can wreak havoc and instability for all parties; too little is baffling, but too much is the ultimate kiss of death.
If your partner is suffocating you with obsessive, controlling jealousy, get out of there fast, sister. No one has the right to treat you like you’re his possession.
Relationship experts explain that in one sense jealousy can be defined as a feeling of resentment against someone who is perceived as being more successful or having a desirable advantage.
In another sense, jealousy can be seen as a feeling of uneasiness or suspicion in a relationship, when the partner feeling jealous will be resentful towards someone they perceive as being a rival for their loved one’s attention and affections. Jealousy can lead to nastiness, anger, abuse and even domestic violence in extreme cases.
In either sense, jealousy is an extremely destructive emotion, doing a great deal of harm to the person who is experiencing the jealousy. For example, it can cause self-loathing, loss of appetite, loss of sleep and depression.

jealousy, green-eyed monster, relationshipsExperts say if you are the recipient of jealousy from a friend or partner, try talking to the person. Encourage them to talk about how they are feeling.
Jealous people are usually insecure, so you could try assuring them of your continuing care and affection and point out their positive qualities.
And if that doesn’t help, you could try encouraging your partner to go to couples counselling so that their feelings and concerns can be explored in a safe environment.
Images, in order, via www.inspiredwomen.co.za, www.crownofbeautymagazine.com and izquotes.com.

What do you think? Has jealousy ever ruined one of your relationships?



How To Say No (Without The Guilt)

Sometimes saying ‘no’ can often make one feel guilty about their decision, but there is a respectful way to get your point across. This is a common scenario that we have all experienced, where at times being nice to others is at the expense of ourselves. The right way to say ‘no’ is easier said than done, but explaining your situation, being truthful about your intentions and properly communicating with people can make the situation more smoother to deal with.

Be respectful

There is a correct way to say ‘no’ although it comes down to respecting the other person and their decision. It’s probably best not to cancel plans or say no at the last minute, after you’ve already made a decision because you’ve got cold feet. This behaviour is not only unreliable but isn’t in good taste either.

Don’t feel guilty

There’s only one worse thing than saying no, and that is saying yes without wanting to take part in what the other person has proposed. The best option is to be honest, and respectfully make your point be heard. Be firm about your decision, and don’t sit on the fence with your point of view. If you’re dealing with someone face to face, make sure you are firm with the tone of your voice and maintain eye contact.

Requires an explanation?

There is a debate whether saying no to someone or in a certain situation even requires an explanation. This is all based on context, and what exactly the situation requires of you. If the scenario is about lending money, be truthful and explain how this isn’t a financially viable option for you at the moment. Avoid white lies since they could catch up with you in the future.

Think it through

Take a moment and think through if this particular decision is right for you. It doesn’t hurt to think it over, and prepare what you’re going to say ahead of time. Sometimes keeping it short and sweet is the best way say no. Rambling and long explanations will feel like you are trying to convince yourself, rather than the other person.

Image via transformleaders.tv

By Felicia Sapountzis

The Art of Saying No

We all lead very busy lives and stress compounds when we have to fit additional commitments into our already busy schedules or worse commit our valuable time to tasks that leaves us feeling unappreciated.

Imagine how different life could be if you understood why you say yes (when you want to scream “no”) and only agreed to commitments that make your heart sing?

1. Why we say yes

We’ve been programmed to say yes in order to keep the peace. These automated responses were instilled in us from our well-meaning parents who conveyed that it’s wrong to hurt the feelings of others. I’m sure we can all remember words rabbited over time such as “don’t hit your sister,” “don’t be selfish – can’t you share that” or “I don’t have time for this or that.” Over time we shut down our own emotional needs in order to keep others happy. Over time stress compounds as we struggle under the weight of agreeing to these requests.

2. Have good boundaries

People who have good boundaries normally have no trouble saying no.  They understand that their happiness is paramount in their decision making process. They also possess the necessary skills to communicate “this is how I like to be treated and that I matter.”

Boundaries can be as simple as:

I like it when…

I do not like…

I will never…

I hate it when…

3. Stop the automatic yes

When a request comes your way here’s a simple trick that will stop the automatic yes from tumbling out.

Simply pin your tongue, to the roof of your mouth and take a deep breathe.

This short lag not only prevents your old conditioning from kicking in ( by saying yes)  and  will allow you time to assess your true feelings.

4. The decline – thanks but no thanks

Stress comes into play when you say yes then spend the next hour or day thinking up an excuse (which is really a lie you tell yourself) in order to negate the offer.  Wouldn’t it be easier to just say no in the first place?

If a request comes your way and you’re unsure of your decision use a delay tactic such as: I need to check my diary, with my husband or the kid’s schedule.

If you then decide that the request is not for you, tell the person straight away.  Use:

  • Thank you for your kind offer but that’s not for me
  • Thank you for your offer but I have something else on
  • I hope you have a great time but the invite does not interest me

The person may be disheartened; and this is where you need to stay strong. Guilt will make you feel like you need to justify your actions; however this is not something you should do. Once you start to respond it can be like opening a door and allowing the other person to enter. This is where they’ll pressure you to change your mind. Being firm with your response closes that door-end of discussion.

5. What if they become upset?

Did you know your memories have emotions attached to them?  When a memory is jogged the attached emotion surfaces and triggers our actions or reactions.

When someone becomes upset understand that it’s their emotion (they may be feeling rejected) causing their actions (being angry with you.)  It is in no way your fault. However you can help them by reassuring them that your decision does not mean you do not care.

A true friend would understand without the need to make you feel guilty, family on the other hand are another story and staying strong may be much harder.

6. The catch up

If you sense that someone is hurt by your no (remembering it’s their emotions making them feel that way) offer a catch up. A catch up shortly afterwards is a great way of showing you still care for them (which will negate their feelings of rejection.

7. Practice makes perfect

Declining offers at first will feel very strange; you may even feel guilty about not attending certain events. However when you put your own happiness first spending time with people who don’t make your heart sing will become less of a priority.

It never ceases to surprise me the amount of people who are prepared to be unhappy in their comfort zone (attending functions they dislike) rather than venturing outside (by declining) and seeing what is possible.

Once you learn “the art of saying no” you’re old childhood conditioning will disappear and as you become empowered stress in your life will also dissipate.

Leann Middlemass blogs about emotional wellness at My Destiny.