What is it?
According to Dr. Robin Stern, jealousy is an emotion a person feels when they are fearful of losing someone, something, or a relationship that is important to them. When it comes to jealousy, the situation usually involves at least three main participants: the person who is jealous, the person or the thing they are afraid of losing, and the person or persons they are jealous of because they represent a threat to whatever relationship is concerned. Jealousy is a negative emotion in and of itself, and it can easily snowball and lead to other negative emotions such as fear, distrust, or anger.
What is jealousy telling your young person?
Feeling jealous tells them that there is a part of them that requires their attention and some introspection. It’s also telling them that they need to work on a specific relationship or on some aspect of that relationship. Jealousy can also signal to you that they may be struggling with low self-esteem, feelings of insecurity, or with trust issues. No matter the situation, it should not be disregarded or ignored because, if left unaddressed, it can become toxic and breed fear of betrayal, distrust, and suspicion. This can eventually cause irreparable damage to the most beautiful relationships.
Suggestions for your young person on managing jealousy?
- They need to be fully aware of their feelings, breathe deeply, and not give in to the temptation of acting on their feelings impulsively.
- In the case of a love relationship, they should communicate with their partner. Be honest about their vulnerability and explain calmly and respectfully how they feel and why.
- Support them in strengthening their sense of self-esteem and addressing their wounds that may be causing them to feel insecure.
- Help them learn to trust their partner, and above all, trust and appreciate themselves and their unique value.