I recently watched an online sermon about identifying what's disturbing the peace in your life. Causes included lack of gratitude, unrealistic expectations, excessive worrying, and unhealthy motivation ("it's impossible to have peace when you're primary concern is yourself. Don't do it out of a place of selfishness"). After listening to the pastor, I identified a major area in my life that was robbing me of my peace that he didn't mention. I’ve only been struggling with this rather recently, but I’m grateful that I identified it earlier rather than later.
I noticed that I was becoming increasingly jealous of the females that were friends with the guy I was currently talking to. I always told myself that I would never be a (super) jealous person, because ultimately, I have no control over how my significant other reacts or interacts with other women. Thus, being jealous accomplishes nothing. I'm wasn't going to “baby guard” my man--he is capable of making his own decisions, and he is completely aware of the consequences that may follow. But what I told myself was a lot easier said than done. And jealousy started to rob me of my joy and peace. I was living in a state of fear that transcended into jealousy, wasting my time worrying about something I can’t control.
That mentality steals the joy and happiness out of a wonderful, precious relationship. If I am constantly focusing on what could go wrong, I can’t put effort into making the relationship right. I can’t focus on personal growth, and I can’t focus on interpersonal growth with him. I will fail to recognize that I have a man who loves unconditionally, is supportive, giving, and selfless. I want to be grateful and appreciative of what I do have instead of worrying about what could I could lose.
In addition to changing my mentality by being more grateful and less worried, I also made changes that were more "tangible" and permanent to prevent falling back into the same mindset-- changes like removing the source that triggers my jealousy, which in my case, were specific aspects of social media. I found this to be much more helpful because it cut the cause of my jealousy at the source. My mind was less likely to wander if I was never exposed to it in the first place.
Of course, trust can also play a factor in this equation. If you're having to be jealous because your man tends to be flirtatious with other women, then you might need to re-evaluate the values of the relationship. In other words, if you're jealous because your man has broke your trust before, than that's another issue in itself and should probably be addressed. But in my case, I had no reason not to trust him because he was certainly loyal. And my jealousy amid a loyal relationship suggested to him that I didn't trust him, which isn't necessarily true, and wasn't something I wanted to portray.
However, I'm going to contradict myself and say that jealousy is a natural, human feeling, and it's not ALL bad. There is a benefit to it: it shows you care! Being jealous over your significant other can show you love them, and don't want anyone else to have them. Think about it: if you didn't care that another woman was hard-core hitting on your husband, what would that say about your love for him...? It's when jealousy becomes apart of your daily thoughts and starts to interfere with your trust that it becomes toxic, which is what was happening to me.
I know that this is probably going to be a reoccurring issue that I will have to deal with multiple times in my life. But now, at least I've identified the reason behind why I often feel jealous, and how to appropriately overcome the issue.