What exactly is jealousy?
It's a feeling that's felt quite often, and recognized with great difficulty. If you're anything like me, you ignore it, in hopes that it will go away and never surface again. If you're lucky, that's exactly what happens. More often than not, however, it's kept bottled up inside you until the emotional turmoil is too much. You lash out and say things you don't mean. Your friends think you're overreacting, and you, forgetting how much it took for you to get to this point, can't help but agree. Think of how this situation could've been avoided if you'd just confronted your feelings earlier. If you'd just talked it out with the people you love, instead of letting it accumulate into something unhealthy and toxic. Coming to terms with a completely natural response would've saved you the trouble you went through.
So, how do you pinpoint jealousy among the plethora of emotions that you feel on a daily basis? Well, that pang you feel when you realize two people you introduced are now closer to each other than to you? That's jealousy. The feeling you get when your friend gets a promotion in her workplace after years of you working towards the same goal? That's jealousy. The sinking of your heart when you were eight years old and your parents gave your sibling more attention than you? That was jealousy as well.
Once you acknowledge it, talking about it becomes significantly easier. Explain to your friends and family why you feel the way you do. If they care about you, they'll understand and try to change in the future to avoid hurting your feelings. If they invalidate you by calling you childish or pushing you away, chances are, they're guilty. It's common to get on the defense when someone points out to you that you did something wrong. The important thing is to get past that in order to make your friends feel comfortable sharing personal things with you.
That being said, it's important to distinguish between coming to terms with your jealousy and using it to justify your behavior. "I was jealous" isn't an excuse to pick fights with your significant other, or say something mean about a stranger on the internet. Envy is natural, yes. It's natural in the same way carbon monoxide and flood waters are. Left unchecked, it can be incredibly destructive. Once the bridge is burned, there's no going back. So, recognize your jealousy as it appears, talk about it, and make an effort to change it.