Jealousy is something we all experience. In fact, it can be a big motivator for you to get something done, just because you don’t want someone to do it first. It can, however, also go overboard, and start being extremely detrimental to both you and others.

When it comes right down to it, jealousy is an emotion, just like happiness, sadness and anger. You’re usually jealous when another person is able to get something that you don’t have, or perhaps when someone you’re close to starts getting close to another person whom they seem to be having a good time with. It’s perfectly reasonable to feel this, even if it does often stem from feeling like you’re inadequate compared to the person you’re jealous of. Again, it can be a major motivator for people to work harder, if it’s something that you want, or to start repairing a relationship that you don’t want to see fade and be replaced by someone else.

It can also be detrimental to your health, however, because jealousy is a negative emotion at its core, and if you dwell too much on it, it can end up taking over your life and suddenly all you remember is that someone has something you don’t have, or someone accomplished something that you think is out of your reach.

How Jealousy Can Harm Us

Jealousy is also a large motivator in people doing stupid things. If someone you’re close to has made friends with a stunt biker, and that isn’t something you’ve ever done even one day in your life, it’s probably not a good idea to hop on a bike and attempt to drive off a ramp or do some kind of dangerous, complicated trick. However, that’s exactly what many people who are jealous do, just to try to impress someone.

It doesn’t often get this bad, but jealousy can also lead to obsession. For instance, if there’s someone you have feelings for but they’re already in a relationship, you would reasonably be jealous of their significant other. If you try to act on your feelings rather than moving on, however, you might become obsessed in different ways. You might try to be like that significant other because you think that’s what the person you have feelings for wants, or you might be trying to figure out a way to make them break up. This can lead to pretty bad feelings if the people in question figure out that that’s what you’re trying to do. If you try to be like the significant other, you could end up losing your own identity.

How Jealous Affects Other Relationships

If you’re a person who easily gets jealous, it can greatly affect how others perceive you. They may be unwilling to share personal accomplishments with you, because they’re afraid that if they tell you they’re succeeding in something, you’ll become jealous. Many people who are quick to jealousy end up putting down other people just to try to feel better about themselves.

Of course, as we probably learned at a young age, putting others down to make yourself feel better is not the way to make friends. People will start drifting away from you if they can’t come to you after they’ve gotten something or accomplished something they’ve been wanting, or if something happy happens in general. Acknowledging others accomplishments is a core part of being part of a social group.

It can also affect you, because when you’re in a constant state of thinking “She got that and she didn’t deserve it, I should’ve gotten it,” you can end up bitter, and then you might end up with more emotional problems than just constant jealousy. You can end up irritated with people in general, or you can end up making things up in your mind, such as “Well I would’ve gotten that if she hadn’t cheated,” or “She doesn’t deserve him, we’ve been friends for so long I should be dating him, not her.”

How Therapy Can Help

Often someone who experiences constant jealousy of others will have low self-esteem, so the jealousy is simply a symptom. You don’t think that you deserve to get something, or to be with someone, yet when someone else has it, you will feel jealous, thinking either, “I should have gotten that,” or “They got that because I wasn’t good enough, but I still want it.” Therapy is an excellent way to help you build up their self-esteem. You may not succeed any more than you did when you were feeling bad about yourself, but it will help you come to terms with the times when you don’t succeed or someone else does in something you weren’t even trying in.

If the jealousy is targeted towards one specific thing or person, it can also be result of obsession, which can also be dealt with by a therapist. Obsession can be a tangle of emotions and hard to understand, but talking to someone who has experience with people with your kind of problem will help you get past it and lead a healthier life.

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