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Lonnette Harrell

In this competitive world we live in, there are so many ways to feel inadequate. Images from magazines, television, and movies, tell us that our teeth have to be bright white, our bodies have to be pencil thin, our clothes have to be designer chic, our skin has to be flawless, and our hair has to be luxuriously thick and shiny. Anything less than perfect is not good enough. We often compare ourselves to others, and feel that we just don’t measure up, and that is when feelings of jealousy overtake us.

In order to feel truly secure in a relationship, we must, first of all, feel good about ourselves. Feeling confident from within, allows us to project a positive image to others. It is important to really like ourselves, and to be able to recognize the talents and abilities we have been given, that make us unique. Beauty is so much more than a pretty face. 

So often it is our own insecurities and fears that make us jealous. This generally goes back to what we’ve experienced earlier in life. Were the people in our life dependable? Did mom and dad fight a lot, or leave each other? Was a former girlfriend or boyfriend unfaithful? Do we fear losing those we love? Do we lack self-esteem? Sometimes the problem may come from within, rather than from the other person. We need to try and determine why we feel threatened.

Jealousy is the fear of losing love. Are you fearful? Are you angry? Why? When you can identify the reasons, then you can begin to work on solutions. If prior life experiences have left you afraid of rejection or abandonment, you need to find healing. Counseling may be a solution, because often jealousy is a way to protect yourself from further pain and disappointment.

Being able to communicate freely with your partner is also a way to overcome jealousy. If something bothers you, don’t simmer about it; talk about it. Sometimes it is good to say, “When you do so and so, it makes me feel uncomfortable.” Initially, admitting your feelings may make you feel vulnerable, but if your loved one really cares, they will listen and respond. It helps to say,”How would you feel if you were in my place and this happened?”

Sometimes, just being able to switch places for a moment, makes the other person understand why you are feeling jealous. Calmly discussing your feelings will achieve greater results than all the whining, nagging, accusations, and questioning ever could. Many times jealousy is the result of an overactive imagination or incorrect beliefs.

Create boundaries within the relationship. Decide together what you feel is appropriate behavior, and what is inappropriate. Is lunch with a business partner of the opposite sex admissible? What about dinner? How demonstrative should you be when greeting a friend, or saying goodbye? Is flirting okay, or does it create tension in the relationship? Should you have close friends of the opposite sex? These things should be negotiated together, and one person should not be trying to control the other. This can lead to irrational demands and restrictions. Excessive, unreasonable suspicion can devastate a relationship.

It’s very important to maintain your individuality. Sometimes it’s easy to become obsessive in love, not allowing each other enough space to breathe. Times of separation can enhance a relationship. No one can have all of their needs met by one person. Being together 24/7 does not allow time to develop individual interests, hobbies or friends. Don’t cling too tightly. You will be even more attractive to each other, if your interests are varied. But be considerate within this freedom. It is not an excuse to betray the trust that you have built together.

Game playing is out. Trying to make each other jealous is destructive and childish, and can often result in deep hurts that are not easily forgotten. Try to do everything in your power to make your partner feel valued and cherished. Reassure them when something may have caused concern. Be accountable when you are out of town, or out with your friends.

Don’t share personal details about your relationship with coworkers or friends. Revealing too much about yourself suggests a familiarity that can be misinterpreted. For some, this can lead to emotional infidelity, and is a betrayal of the closeness that only you and your significant other should be experiencing.

If your commitment to each other is genuine, honor it at all times. If someone seems to be blatantly making a move on you, let that person know that you are in a serious relationship. Don’t feed your ego (or theirs) by encouraging the attention.

Realize that every relationship will be tested. Things will not always be at a romantic peak day in and day out. But love and trust will carry you through many storms. Being a friend is just as important as being a lover. Demonstrating faithfulness and loyalty will sustain the closeness, even in times of fading passion.

It takes time to develop the trust and good communication that leads to true intimacy. Jealousy stalks each of us. But the solution to overcoming it is found by taking control of the raging emotions, calmly talking things over, establishing boundaries, getting in touch with our own insecurities and fears, and recognizing our immense self-worth.

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