9 Ways I Trained My Brain To Not Feel Jealousy Ever Again

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How To Not Be Jealous: Tips For Dealing With Jealousy
Love

Can the brain overcome jealousy?

It can, but there are more important questions: Should we want it to? Why am I jealous to begin with? And are we ever able to understand how to not be jealous? Well, that depends.

RELATED: What Is Jealousy? How Identifying The Two Main Triggers Can Actually Help You Feel Safe In Your Relationship

What causes jealousy?

Raw emotions emerge from the depths of our reptilian brains, and our neocortex acts as CEO regulating their output. There are two schools of thought: one is that you can't/shouldn't control your emotions, and the other is that people should exercise emotional intelligence.

People control and train their emotions everyday. Whether by repression or by employing cognitive shifts, people do this because if they didn't they would be unsociable. In this way, society codifies our behavior.

Exercising control over emotions doesn't deny they exist or betray them. If you met someone and they introduced themselves as a very "hateful" person, you'd hopefully judge it as socially unacceptable. Yet, if someone introduced themselves as a very "jealous" person, you might find it endearing and acceptable. Why?

What is jealousy and how does it differ from envy?

First, let's distinguish: Jealousy is the fear you might lose something you love. Envy is resentment for wanting something you don't have.

Jealousy can be viewed as a romantic sign someone cares. It can feel good and boost our ego when our partner is a little jealous of us. No shame in that, but jealousy is a sour seed when allowed to sow.

While jealousy can sometimes be a good thing for you, when we drag that feeling into our relationships, it can prevent us from forming long-lasting bonds with our partner. It can create a toxic environment that might eventually lead to a breakup. 

But to free yourself from the confines of jealousy, there are a few steps you can take.

Here's how to deal with jealousy, stop being insecure, and have the healthy relationship you're capable of.

1. Consider why you're in a relationship.

It's important not to view your partner as a possession, but as an autonomous individual whose happiness you care about.

If you don't want your partner to be happy, then you might want to reevaluate why you're in a relationship. People who struggle with jealousy or with an overbearing partner know how corrosive jealousy is to trust and happiness.

2. Stop telling yourself that you're a jealous person.

Modern neuroscience teaches us, validating millennia of Buddhist cognitive theory, that the traditional notion of the self doesn't exist — it's an illusion.

You're literally the story you tell yourself. You don't find yourself, you create yourself. So, it's a conceit to say, "I know myself." Because you are what you think — you're conscious experience. You're the story you tell yourself.

If you tell yourself repeatedly that you're a jealous person, you become one. If you tell yourself repeatedly that you aren't a jealous person, or that you don't want to be, you will become that instead.

RELATED: 5 Simple Ways To Stop Jealousy And Controlling Behavior From Ruining Your Relationship

3. Know who you are deep down inside.

Identity is not an act of finding yourself, it's an act of creating yourself. While you might be predisposed to certain behavior, ultimately, identity is not some constant, unchanging, absolute thing. It' fluid, adaptable, and can be shaped.

So, why did I want to learn how to not be jealous and rewire my brain? Well the simplest answer is because I want to operate on a mental program that maximizes my happiness and well being, and the happiness and well being of people I care about.

Jealousy is an unpleasant emotion to feel, and I only want to feel it out of necessity to signify potential threats. 

4. Keep your relationship romantic.

Why would I want to force my partner into a strict monogamous relationship? As Havelock Ellis wisely phrased, "Jealousy is the dragon that slays love in the name of keeping it alive."

Helen Fisher tells us to keep romance alive by sharing novel experiences with your partner. Louann Brizendine M.D., author of New York Times bestseller The Female Brain, tells us the fear of losing a loved one reignites romantic passion.

In my experience, the novelty of dalliances coupled with positive emotional stressors is the best recipe I have found to keep the flame of love alive.

5. Never suppress your emotions.

Shedding myths and fantasies about what love is and isn't doesn't take away the magic — it enhances it. This is why we should not over conflate jealousy with passion in our minds, just like we should not inseparably conflate hate with passion in our minds, lest we want to program ourselves for crimes of passion.

Instead, we should celebrate forms of passion like compassion, compersion, and romance.

People are sometimes overly-sentimental about parts of their identity. The emotions we naturally feel are authentic, so what does that tell us?

Repressing your emotions is inauthentic. But learning to control your emotions without repressing them — by employing cognitive shifts for consciously desired outcomes — is not inauthentic.

RELATED: 10 Sneaky Effects Of Jealousy On You And Your Relationship

6. Come to terms with your insecurities and fears.

There are times I may fear losing someone I care about. That's when I take time to process my fears and insecurities, reflect, then find opportunities to talk aiming to resolve tension and conflict.

Our brain's emotional apparatus is like a muscle. Just like athletes are ill advised to abuse pain killers to push through injuries, you don't want to numb yourself to emotional stress you feel.

If you aren't treated well, or if you don't treat your partner well, it will be impossible to overcome jealousy and resolve tension in a healthy or stable manner.

7. Find a sense of security.

Overcoming jealousy doesn't mean becoming indifferent or apathetic.

In this pursuit, striving to tame the emotion in your brain forces you to focus on things that work and don't work in a relationship. That's why you want to let yourself experience emotions as they pass through you, so you can perceive them, ask yourself what they tell you, then ask yourself how you want to behave.

Maturing jealousy in your brain requires a sense of security. You wouldn't tell the average person to run a triathlon before they were accustomed to appropriate physical stress because they could hurt themselves.

In the same vein, you wouldn't tell two emotionally fragile partners to carelessly voyage into an open relationship (with stability in mind) and recklessly abandon sensitivity!

8. Take baby steps.

Baby steps are important. As you build a tolerance over time, you shouldn't stop being aware or blind yourself to immediate stressors. The purpose of controlling negative emotions is to mitigate them from swelling and misfiring, not to ignore them.

Imagine someone who starts with a 20-pound weight, then, months later, lifts a 40-pound weight. No matter how strong someone gets, they will still feel the 20-pound weight as they lift.

But it becomes less overburdening. In fact, it becomes light work and even comfortable.

9. Train yourself to process your jealous feelings.

You can train yourself to process jealousy, internalize it, understand the signal and what it's making you aware of. Then, choose how you want it to affect your behavior. It can be a little scary at first, but it's a powerful and liberating feeling.

These days I find these pangs desirably invigorating; it always ignites a spark and keeps the flame burning. It's important to be capable of feeling jealousy because it's an invaluable communicator for when something might be wrong.

RELATED: 3 Ways To Stop Being So Jealous When Your Partner Goes Out With Their Friends

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Jules Hamilton is the co-founder of the lifestyle and culture blog, Polyglamorous. He's a professional model, blogger, and film producer.