Jealousy is a very human emotion, and one that every one of us has come across at some point in our lives. Rather than envy, which occurs when we feel we’re lacking something in our lives, jealousy is an altogether stronger feeling, that can set us spiralling down a completely different road.
How do we react when people are cruel?
Having the right answer to the question of jealousy may result in many fewer trigger episodes in the lives of our clients, but perhaps will also make us much more resilient as practitioners in our everyday experiences.
Life is unfair. Everybody differs in rich and poor, healthy and unhealthy, long and short lifespans, all of which document how life is not fair. On life’s journey, we are likely to witness and experience many incarnations of life being cruel and mean to us. The more challenging life is, the more opportunities will be presented to you, to offer evidence of life being a place of misplaced hostility. This cruelty and jealousy can be demonstrated through angry outbursts, such as shouting and swearing, where doors and objects close to hand may be taken on a journey of clattering destruction.
Jealousy takes on more subtle forms too. It may be the case that you are called names that are either deeply personal or just a sign of a generalised contempt – it was just that you were within range, and the mouth was loaded with acrid hurt and sprayed at the nearest easy target. This slow burning type of hostility can manifest itself in the form of jealousy, lies intended to undermine, name calling and insinuation. No matter what form these cruel and unkind feelings of jealousy manifest themselves in, it’s vital that we have the skills to let these verbal missiles bounce off us without any lasting impact, so we can move on: and in the case of our clients, continue on their recovery journey.
How do we help our clients to move forwards beyond the effects of jealousy?
Alongside other negative emotions, jealousy makes recovering from poor mental health a harder cross to bear. Recovery is a journey which is already challenging, where the challenges stem from dealing with intense feelings, new and scary experiences, and a surrender of uncertainty to a place of lifelong fulfilment. Because there can be even more hostility from others during the recovery journey, it’s vital to upskill ourselves as practitioners, and our clients to better manage this. A simple tool to offer yourself and cascade to others is that whenever someone is being hostile, unkind, cruel or acting with jealousy towards you, it is evidence that they are having a bad day, week or life experience.
And if you are experiencing jealousy it is an indicator of an aspect of your life that you are insecure about. So you can be grateful for the way these feelings of jealousy manifests themselves, as you are now aware of the area of your life that you still need to do work on, and you can actively work towards managing your feelings instead of them managing you.
So each time you encounter someone who is not operating civilly, it can help to step back and remind yourself that no matter how bad this feels, how unjust that outburst has been to your sense of wellbeing, it is nowhere near as bad as it must be for them to choose to operate like they did just then. If in doubt, adopt the life-skill from Happy Feet: “smile and wave, smile and wave!”
Here at Betterminds, we teach your team the tools and techniques needed to keep your clients focused on their future, not the negative emotions and jealousy they might come across. Get in touch to aim for Betterminds for everyone.