How To Stop Being Jealous Of Other Women And Become A Better You
Go cold turkey on tormenting yourself; it's bad for your health.
Being a woman is HARD. Aside from, you know, having to endure around 450 painful periods in your lifetime – not to mention bearing children – we are conditioned from an early age that we have to fit in with society's (frankly ridiculous) beauty standards; all the while being one of those “really chill girls” you see in movies that don't give a fuck about anything. Problem is, many people – I'm looking at you, men – fail to realize that we are not meek-and-mild to-be-seen-and-not-heard shiny sex dolls, and despite what's expected of us, we female humans really do G.A.F.
We all struggle with jealousy from time to time, and that's okay – it's in our nature. The hard bit is learning to look at it with a cool, rational head so that you can mentally wriggle out of its grasp before it starts to eat you inside out. Of course, we can be jealous about many things – Mr and Mrs Jones' new car, a sibling's financial prowess – but for the purposes of this article, I'm going to focus on the most potentially damaging kind: being jealous of other women. So, buckle up and get ready to take an introspective field trip – who knows? You might learn something new about yourself.
Recognize what's driving your jealousy
Think of your jealousy as a hungry giant panda. Just as pandas feed on 99 percent bamboo, your jealousy is almost exclusively fed by insecurities. Any guesses why I didn't choose an egg-eating snake for my example? Because, despite looking like a big carnivorous bear, it's nothing to be afraid of.
Chances are that there are some parts of yourself you don't like and your jealousy toward other women is your way of projecting them outwards. Do you ever lose yourself in the Instagram rabbit hole obsessively following those “flawless” girls who have the body you wish you had? I've done it, and it's possibly one of the worst things you can do for your insecurities and mental health in general. Basically, walk away from that shit – i.e. unfollow everything that gives you negative emotions – and begin to actively work on improving your self-esteem.
Sure, it's not as easy as waking up one day and worshiping yourself, but you have to start somewhere. Spend some time in front of the mirror every day focusing on the things you do like about yourself. It might sound weird, but actually mentally repeating positive affirmations in the mirror is a very effective way of rewiring your silly self-harming insecurity brain – fake it till you make it vibes. Most importantly, you have to start looking at yourself as your only benchmark of beauty; everyone else is already taken – and, frankly, they don't really matter. Put that giant panda on a diet, girl; it's time to focus on being the best possible you.
Accept that you're an animal
Remember, humans are pretty much big-brained hairless monkeys; just because we have the ability to think about complex things and live in complex societies, does not mean we aren't driven by our animal biology. We love to look down at men for doing silly competitive shit just to get the girl, but truth is, we females are also fiercely competitive in the mating stakes.
Do you absolutely detest your boyfriend's female work colleague or friend because she's physically attractive, too sexually provocative, more confident than you or just a plain bitch? That's because, in your eyes, she represents a huge woman-shaped threat. If you're already insecure, your reaction is bound to be stronger, because this girl is basically the smug personification of all the things you believe you're lacking. It's like your mind has called 911 and jealousy has come along in a big red fire truck to extinguish her out of existence.
According to this 2013 The Royal Society paper, female competition favours low-risk, indirect aggression: namely social exclusion – and we typically disparage those qualities found most attractive to the opposite sex. This 2016 American Psychological Association study even found that women selectively guard their desirable mates from ovulating women. I know what you're thinking: da fuq do we know when another bitch is ovulating?
It's quite natural to reject other girls if we feel they're encroaching on our man territory. But remember, we don't see things as they are, we see them as we are. Being aware of the cause of your jealousy, and understanding that that girl is probably only a bitch because your irrational brain is telling you so – not because she actually is – is the best way to rise above your animal emotions and calm the hell down. It's most likely she doesn't give a toss about your boyfriend anyway.
Think about all the things you're grateful for
Being negative about stuff is so flippin' easy. When was the last time you stopped to think how grateful you are for everything you do have? If we let it get too far, jealousy can destroy relationships, because instead of living in – and being grateful for – the present, you're driving your relationship to the edge by worrying about all the negative scenarios that will probably never happen. You're drunk on a bad habit.
Remind yourself that your man chose you because he liked you more than anyone else, and chances are that now he feels even stronger about that. All those other girls you worry about can't compete with you, no matter how much better or more attractive than you your irrational mind thinks they are, because they aren't you.
Relationships are challenging by default but they shouldn't be the breeding ground of perpetual discomfort. Be mindful: take a step back, wipe your mental windshield clean and behold the beauty of it. After all, life is short; smile while you still have teeth.
Follow Dee Cunning on Twitter.