The Green-Eyed Monster: Holiday Edition
This guest article from YourTango was written by Susie and Otto Collins.
Jealousy can sneak up, catch you unaware and leave you feeling confused and beaten up. Jealousy can also end up destroying your relationship and compromising your health and well-being. This is why jealousy is sometimes referred to as the “green-eyed monster.”
Around the holidays, jealousy can be even more difficult to deal with. Its effects can be more intense and detrimental than they normally are. You’re already busier and stretched more than usual with added parties, outings and huge shopping lists. You’re also often around more people and in more potentially uncomfortable situations than usual during the holiday season.
If you already have a habit of being jealous, this combination can be prime for the green-eyed monster to come crashing in.
Your jealousy might be triggered at a family gathering where you watch your cousin and her spouse who seem to be so in love. You look at your own partner and the problems you two face seem even bigger. Jealousy could come up when you and your partner are at his or her work party. There’s a certain very attractive co-worker who seems to be focusing a lot of attention on your partner. You feel left out and are worried.
It looks different for every person. Jealousy may bring out fear, worry, anger, bad feelings or even paranoia in you. It’s the last thing you probably want to bring to holiday gatherings or to your life ever, but it’s there, so what can be done?
Get good at interrupting.
Your green-eyed monster can’t trash your holiday experience without momentum. Every jealous outburst you might have begins somewhere. If you can catch your jealousy when it’s “small,” then you’re going to have much more success in heading off disaster.
Start by paying closer attention to your thoughts. This may sound impossible, but it’s a very powerful practice. Notice what you are thinking throughout the day. Get into the habit of “listening in” to the thoughts floating through your mind. If you have a jealousy habit, it’s likely that your dominant thoughts are leading you to feel insecure about yourself and worried about your relationship.
For example, you might think things like this …
Why is he looking at her like that?
If this is the way he talks to my partner when I’m around, what happens when I’m not?
My mate never holds my hand or kisses me the way that they do.
There might be some accuracy in what you are thinking. It may be wise for you to follow up and get answers to the questions you have. The trouble is, when your jealous thoughts are allowed to take over, they’re definitely going to grow. They can become the “monster” that causes you to say or do things that only make your relationship more strained and disconnected.
The big kicker is that what you are thinking might not be accurate or true. It is advisable to interrupt your jealous thoughts. Interrupt them as soon as you notice them. We’re not suggesting that you attempt to banish them from your mind, but try to slow down their momentum. This will allow you to think more clearly and to base your decision about what you will say or do on reliable information and not solely on your thoughts.
Remember, you have a choice.
Know that you always have the power of choice. You can make conscious decisions about how you will spend your holidays. If being around a particular person or being in a certain kind of situation is especially triggering for you, give yourself the option to do something else.
Talk with your partner about how you feel and ask him or her to support you in doing things differently this year. Make it your intention to do what supports you in overcoming your jealousy habit. This might mean that you don’t attend the same holiday parties you’ve always attended or that you go to the parties, but with a different mindset.
You have a choice when it comes to your jealousy too. Every time you choose to interrupt your jealous thoughts and question them, you are making a choice. You are deciding that your desire to feel more confident within yourself and more connected with your partner is more important than the (painful) comfort of continuing to do things in the same way.
Keep returning to what’s true.
Do your best to be more present more of the time this holiday season. Two things that build momentum for the green-eyed monster are living in the past and futurizing. The past already happened. To make it your main focus will cause you to miss out on precious experiences and valuable information about the here and now. The future is yet to be. You can guess all day and night about what might happen and you could still be wrong.
Keep bringing yourself back to the present moment and to what’s true for you. Make sure that you have reliable information as you decide what is true for you. Ask yourself questions like, “What is really going on at this moment?” and “What do I need right now?” Really listen to yourself and then take steps that will help you meet your needs.
The green-eyed monster doesn’t have to ruin your holidays this year. Be willing to interrupt your jealousy and be present. That is possibly the biggest present you can give yourself and your relationship.
More great content from YourTango:
Experts, Y. (2014). The Green-Eyed Monster: Holiday Edition. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 19, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2011/12/12/the-green-eyed-monster-holiday-edition/