In today’s blog, we’re talking about jealousy and envy, as well as offering strategies for overcoming insecurity. As we women navigate our post-divorce selves, we may experience one or both of these feelings. In order to conquer jealousy or envy, we first must understand the difference between these two things.
Difference Between Jealousy and Envy
I learned the difference between jealousy and envy after reading Brene Brown’s book, “Atlas of the Heart.” She has an incredible amount of research data on all the various emotions and speaks about how there is a striking difference between the two.
What is Jealousy?
Jealousy is the experience of a third party coming in between your relationship with another person.
Maybe it was an affair, his phone or his job, or even his mom. Whereas envy is the experience of somebody having something you want. Pause for a moment and just feel how those two things are a little different.
The jealousy that women felt during their marriage inevitably rears its ugly head in post-divorce life. I’ve seen it happen time and time again by working with female clients, especially when they start dating, and they don’t know where they stand. You struggle to trust yourself and your intuition, and you’re still relearning how to trust other people.
When women have an insecure or mixed-up attachment style, it’s easy for them to fall into the jealousy trap, especially when someone they’re dating has other interests, other responsibilities, and other places where they like to spend their time. Jealousy is such a common, primal, and visceral human emotion. It is feeling like somebody is in your territory.
What is Envy?
Envy is coming from a place of scarcity. It’s coming from a place deep down where you are afraid you can’t have something.
I often hear women say, “Dawn, he’s moving on, and he looks happy, and I hate it.” If you had the ‘thing’ that you perceive he has, you wouldn’t be noticing this. Say it’s a new relationship. Envy occurs when you believe that it’s not in the cards for you, or maybe you feel that it’s not fair that he has it first.
I need women to pivot away from that. I need women to get to the root of what is underneath their envy. Envy is a vote against yourself. It is a vote against your personal power. And if we take it to the furthest place, it is a vote in favor of victimhood.
I want you to notice if you’re struggling with jealousy or envy. In some ways, envy is a little easier to tackle because it is switching a negative belief into a positive belief. Stay tapped into your personal power so that you can achieve what you want. Then you have to keep going.
Jealousy has a lot of more complicated stuff woven into it. Your ‘stuff’ around attachment style, trust, anxiety, the difficulty of knowing whether you’re tapped into your intuition or if you’re really wrapped up in your thoughts, and they’re running the show. Jealousy is a clear sign that something is out of alignment.
How to Overcome Insecurity
Lots of women experience jealousy in their marriages. Looking back, you felt you needed something that you were not receiving. You can also feel it in friendships, with family, or in your dating relationships.
It’s now time to talk about how to overcome insecurity. Asking yourself what is out of alignment is an interesting question.
- Is it your attachment style?
- Your difficulty trusting others?
- Are you disconnected from your intuition?
When we women are disconnected from our intuition, we end up relying on our thoughts and our emotions to tell us which thing to do next. Our thoughts and our emotions are useful, and they provide us with a lot of guidance, but we give them too much weight. Too often, we think our thoughts are truth, and we think our feelings are truth. But most of the time, this is not the case.
Set Healthy Boundaries
The first strategy for overcoming insecurity is for you to set boundaries. Jealousy is a form of anxiety or insecurity.
It could be calling you to set different boundaries or to make certain requests in your relationship, whether it’s with your bestie or your mom, or the person you’re dating. You may need to ask for more (communication, openness, time, etc.), and maybe that is a very reasonable request.
So much of our healing work is becoming grounded in the truth of who we are. When women know themselves deeply and feel connected to their worth, it becomes much easier to set healthy boundaries with the people around them.
However, often we get ourselves more worked up because we confuse requests with boundaries. A boundary is an expressed need that you are 100 percent responsible for fulfilling. For instance: “I will not have conversations when someone is yelling or being disrespectful” is a boundary. Maintaining this boundary means you are willing to exit the conversation if it becomes dysfunctional.
A request is: “Hey, I would love to speak with you and come to an understanding, but could you manage your anger and not scream or weaponize your feelings?” The person you are making a request of is not obligated to meet your request – and they may not have the skills to do so.
However, you are still responsible for maintaining your boundary.
Create Positive Core Beliefs
Women need to look at where they are struggling with negative beliefs, such as, “I’m not enough,” or “I’m not worth it,” or “I should be different.”
In this scenario, we have to do a bilateral stimulation or EFT tapping on that negative belief and change it to a positive one. We have to desensitize the programs that we have running in our minds that keep reinforcing the belief that you’re not good enough, you’re not worth it, or you can’t trust someone. That is all untrue.
I Am Enough
The next step in overcoming insecurity is to become grounded in the belief that you are enough, you’ve done enough, that you are absolutely lovable, and that you can learn to trust.
Once those things feel solid, we take another look at it and we say, “Okay, now what requests do we need to make?” and “What boundaries do we need to set?” It’s a journey, and it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s like setting out to lose weight. You stay motivated and engaged and understand what slumps you need to overcome in order to achieve your goal. The same thing happens with emotional healing: the motivation comes with surges and dips. It’s a long haul.
Consistency is Queen
Consistency is queen. You could go to a therapist every week for a year and not make the same progress as you do with me in just one monthly session.
That is what gets meaningful results.
Your self-worth is what’s really contributing to your difficulty managing jealousy. I want you to think about the following things:
- When do you feel most grounded?
- When do you feel most at peace?
- When do you feel most clear and not bogged by anxiety?
For me, that would be while I am sitting outside or in the shower, or getting off the Peloton. In those moments of clarity, if I revisit a problem, it’s easier for me to find solutions. So, I want you to think about the moments in your day when you’re the most grounded, and then look at the situation and ask yourself: What do I need to do next to tackle jealousy? Is this something where you need to make a request or set a boundary with them, or do you need to address self-esteem in a deeper, more meaningful way?
Jealousy can make us women say and do baffling things. If you’re experiencing that with your ex-husband, you’re struggling with jealousy in the post-dating world, or you’re noticing that you’re spiraling about your ex-partner living his best life post-divorce, I would encourage you to really slow it down.
Take a deep breath and get grounded before you act on feelings of envy or jealousy because it’s probably toxic behavior.
In this scenario, you’re coming from a place of disempowerment, codependency, and a dysregulated nervous system. When we feel really triggered by something, we’re in that fight, flight, freeze, or fawn space. I don’t want you to respond to jealousy or envy as it will make the problem bigger, and that will delay your internal peace.
The crucial step in overcoming insecurity is to get grounded and ask yourself those questions. Is it them? Is it me? Or is it both?
Then do some journaling and EFT tapping around the negative belief about yourself that is driving this jealousy or this envy.
Take a breath and recommit to your healing journey. Revisit your goal and recommit to it. Ask yourself: Am I going to be true to myself, or am I going to betray my own commitments?
Go find a pen and write in your journal about it. You’ve got this.
Divorce recovery coach Dawn Wiggins
...helps people crack open. Challenging the status quo, she integrates multiple modalities from EMDR to EFT tapping, journaling, homeopathy, and movement, embracing remedies that heal both the mind and body. Divorce recovery coach Dawn Wiggins is on a mission to deliver life-changing therapy in an accessible, scalable, affordable way and make waves in the world of mental health with the same enlightenment that happens in her office. Part science, part essential oils, pure magic.