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How to turn jealousy into something positive? | Company

When Ana started working on her self-esteem, a problem arose during a session with her psychologist. Her best friend suddenly had a new friendship – this caused her anxiety, as she was afraid of losing a special relationship.

Ana is the fictional name of a person who is going through what many of us are going through. A best friend is a treasure – it’s like a family member we choose; the person with whom we share our feelings, without restriction. At some point in life – even as adults – we experience spikes of jealousy and bitterness when they suddenly go on a trip with a different group of people or start jogging with someone they they met at the office.

Rocío Monroy is a clinical psychologist who often deals with cases like these. “When jealousy arises [in this context], there is a basic problem, which is the fear that our friend prefers another person and, therefore, can replace us. This is linked to an inferiority complex, as well as the fear of rejection,” she explains. However, jealousy doesn’t always have to involve something negative.

The American Psychological Association notes that jealousy almost always involves three people. It usually appears when one feels resentment towards another person, for taking away their attention or affection. Jealousy is very different from envy, which arises when one covets another’s achievements, characteristics, characteristics, or possessions. But having any of these emotions doesn’t necessarily make you a bad person.

“If we look at the origins of jealousy, different authors express its universal character, considering it an innate response of discomfort in the face of the threat of losing an important relationship,” Monroy explains. In short, feeling jealous is completely natural.

Jealousy can encourage us to have an honest and sincere conversation with the friend we love.

Rocío Monroy, clinical psychologist

No one is immature to be jealous. In the same way that a partner can be lost overnight, friends can also quickly fall from the category of best friends. Expressing the feeling of jealousy is more normalized in relationships… but there is a certain stigma when it comes to recognizing it in a friendship, as it is often mistaken for immaturity. The reason, writes Jennifer Freed, author of the book A card for your soul, is that jealousy triggers our main addiction issues and, often, a feeling of helplessness. Jealousy “can make us feel crazy and do crazy things because it takes advantage of our greatest vulnerability: our fear of possible abandonment. When we think someone is going to steal someone from us, we can feel helpless. We face all the ways we feel inadequate, unattractive, and unlovable. »

“Recognizing that means being vulnerable, it’s very hard for us. However, I believe that accepting being jealous humanizes us. If we become aware of how we feel, take responsibility for it, and work on our own self-knowledge, we can build healthier, more successful relationships,” Freed says.

Is it then possible to get something good out of jealousy? Can jealousy strengthen a relationship? Could it serve as a kind of motivation for personal growth that strengthens the bonds that matter most to us?

According to Monroy, if jealousy is handled carefully, good can come out of it. “Listening to what jealousy tells us can help us better understand ourselves and others… to become more aware of the values ​​of friendship that are fundamental to us and of the type of friend we want to be; work on our self-esteem. Jealousy can also encourage us to have an honest and sincere conversation with the friend we love, expressing how we feel, thus fostering a more conscious and mature friendship.

Jealousy can also act as a wake-up call that helps us strengthen our friendships: it can make us listen more and be more present. Experts also warn that we shouldn’t fall into reinforcement versus opposition – trying to push the new friend away from our friend – as this could lead to nasty consequences.

Unlike romantic relationships, we rarely ask ourselves what to expect from a healthy friendship. “In a friendship, reflects Monroy, I consider it fundamental that one feels validated by his friend, as well as accompanied and cared for… from there, it is easier to open up, because, in not feeling judged, we feel accepted. This promotes greater trust, complicity, intimacy.

“Overall, though, if we’re going to build healthy, quality friendships, working on our empathy is essential.”