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Today I’m going to talk about how to deal with bad emotions such as jealousy, envy, anger and low self-esteem. I’ll be focusing on the examples of jealously and envy, but you can use this process to deal with any bad emotion that you have to tussle with. The process should be useful to those wishing to live a polyamorous lifestyle but also to those with girlfriends or women they sleep with regularly.
A lot of people berate the experience of these emotions and wish they didn’t have them. The fact is that emotions are evolutionary adaptations to help us survive and prosper in the world. It’s true that sometimes they can lead to bad choices, but these choices are ours to make. Most of the time, it’s not so much the emotion that is unhealthy but rather the action that we choose to engage in based on how we’re feeling.
Social conditioning further confuses the issue: whereas some emotions might stem from a real evolutionary or biological basis, others arise from the social influences around us.
Let’s take the emotion of jealousy, for example. Many of us have at one time or another had a casual “fuck buddy,” whom we were sleeping with but was free to sleep with other people herself. If you have at one time felt that you didn’t want her to sleep with other men (even though she was not your official and exclusive girlfriend) or you allowed her to but told her you didn’t want to hear the details, then you were experiencing jealousy – the fear of losing what you had to someone else.
Where does this emotion arise from? In evolutionary terms, the loss of a partner is only important if you’ve decided to mate with that person or are cohabiting with her. For most of us, this isn’t the case with a fuck buddy.
The emotion actually arises predominantly from social influences. The world conditions us to accept monogamous, exclusive relationships as the norm. Those of us who want to and are willing to challenge the norm might engage in non-exclusive relationships but we still get the residual emotion of jealousy – because deep down, we are still affected by those norms and emotionally subscribe to them.
Think about it. Everywhere around you, you see men getting jealous over women talking to or sleeping with other men: in the movies, in books, in your family and with your friends. You become accustomed to the idea that when one woman is sleeping with one man, she should not look at or talk to another man. Therefore, even if you logically challenge that norm, internally and emotionally you still feel jealous and accept that as “just the way you feel”.
Let’s examine the issue logically. If you’re casually dating a woman and she goes on a date with another man, it goes well and she goes home with him, you might feel a twinge of jealously.
Now on one logical level, you have every right to feel jealous because there is a chance she will be more attracted to this man than you and she will spend less time with you and more time with him.
That’s ok. But if you act on that jealousy by refusing to allow her to talk about the other man or by trying to prevent her from seeing other men, then what you are really doing is slapping a pair of handcuffs on her and saying, “I’m so worried that you might meet men of higher value than me that I am going to restrict your freedom to do so.”
If she meets a man who does have more value than you to her, wouldn’t you lose respect for her if she wasn’t attracted to him? It would indicate a willingness to settle in life for less than what she fully wants, which is an inherently unattractive quality.
When you get a good job with a company, if you’re offered a job with a better company a year later, wouldn’t you want to take it? If you didn’t take the better job and stayed with your current one out of loyalty, then ultimately you’d start to resent your job, causing yourself great unhappiness and probably performing worse in your job – an unhealthy outcome for both you and your employer.
It‘s the same in relationships. A woman shouldn’t stay with you because you have emotional handcuffs on her. She should stay with you because she continually assesses the market and determines your relationship to be of very high value to her.
If she meets a guy that gives her more value than you do, then fair play if she sleeps with him or spends time with him. If you let your jealously prevent her from doing so, then in the short-term you might have “safeguarded” some time with her, but in the long term she is going to realise there are stronger men out there and your relationship will eventually break down.
Therefore, the best way to deal with the jealous feeling is not to slap a pair of handcuffs on her by asking that she doesn’t date other people or even that she doesn’t tell you about it if she does, but by focusing your energies on being as strong a man as possible – so that she will want to be with you instead of any of the lesser men she may meet.
Here is the process for dealing with potentially unhealthy emotions like jealousy:
1. Try to understand the root cause of your emotion. Does it have a firm rational and logical basis or does it simply stem from social conditioning?
2. Consider the actions you can take to effect the best possible long-term outcome
3. Challenge the unhealthy emotion by taking the healthiest action (the one that produces the best long-term outcome) every time you feel the emotion. The unhealthy emotion will dissipate after doing this a few times.
You can apply this process to other negative emotions as well. Let’s look at envy for example. When we see a fellow man, particularly if it is someone we are not socially aligned with, having more power than us, we feel envy: we want his power.
Because of social conditioning, we tend to look to others for how to behave, so we think to ourselves, “Right, I need to be better than him.” But strip away the social influence and you realise, “I need to set out to achieve higher goals for myself, regardless of what anyone else is doing.”
Considering the actions you could take, you could try to destroy some of this other man’s value. You could spread lies about him, injure him, steal his girlfriend, or just as bad, spend time actively criticising him to other people. In the short-term you might succeed in lowering his value, but ultimately all you’ve done is try to pull him down to your own lowly level.
You could, instead, focus your time and energy on bettering yourself and achieving your own power. It might take longer, but in time you will have greater power than you know what to do with; and all those who spent their time focusing on short-term, ineffective strategies like the above will be left trailing.
After doing this for a while, you would destroy the envious feelings that you once experienced and the only person you would compare yourself to is yourself.
So the next time you experience an emotional kick in your stomach that you think could be bad, think to yourself, “Why am I feeling this and how should I best act to produce an effective and sustainable long-term outcome?”
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