How To Control Jealousy

In a previous post, How To Deal With Jealousy, I discussed the ego origins of jealousy and how jealousy — and other emotions — serve as a wall between us and authentic identity. Now comes the topic of how to control jealousy. How can we do it?

We can’t… at least not for long.

If this isn’t what you expected to hear, or wanted to hear, it isn’t surprising. There seems to be an inherent belief that the best response to unpleasant emotional states — and various other unpleasant things — is to do away with them. If we don’t like something then let’s get rid of it and replace it with something we like better. Right?

Not so fast…

There is a fundamental problem with this strategy, from an emotional perspective at least. Trying to do away with emotional states of being amounts to resistance of these states of being. Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung famously said ‘What you resist, persists.’ But why should this be so?

Resistance is a form of engagement. If you go to throw something out you must grab hold of it first. Once you’ve done this, now you’re connected.

When you go to throw out or get rid of or control jealousy — or anger or sadness or depression or any other emotional state — you’re grabbing hold of it. Is grabbing hold the proper response to something you want to be rid of?

An alternative is to not engage at all. To do this, to not engage, let’s first be aware that the thing we don’t want to engage is there — otherwise we may step or fall into it through not paying attention. So we observe and are aware of the jealousy, or whatever other emotional condition we want to be free from. It is there and we know that it is there — and we accept it being there.

But why should we accept it being there? Because if we don’t accept it being there now we’re back into engaged resistance; we’re back into the mode of wanting to throw something or other out.

So we are aware, we accept, and we don’t engage by grabbing hold. What’s left to do then? Nothing: that’s the full extent of it. A crawling spider that has stopped to look will eventually return to its crawling.

Jealousy, and other emotional responses, will eventually go on their way as well — provided they are free to do so (that you haven’t taken hold of them).

It may all sound simple but being a neutral observer to emotional states of being can be difficult to do, especially at first. It certainly isn’t impossible however. Try it for a time and see for yourself what the results are.