In today’s video, I’m going to share a few perspectives about struggling with retroactive jealousy if you’re living in the Western world in the 21st century.

Read on to learn more about an antidote to retroactive jealousy.

Zachary Stockill: I’ve spent the majority of my adult life living outside of my native Canada, most of it in Asia. I spent years in India, Thailand, South America, and I’m currently in Indonesia. I’m fairly well-traveled. Spending time in developing countries has given me a few insights into myself, my own problems, struggles, and jealousy issues in the past. I’ve had a bunch of experiences in those countries that have given me some insight into my own “nonsense,” so to speak.

Studying history and living in developing countries has taught me is that life in the Western world, is too damned good.

Let me explain:

If you come from a Western culture in the 21st century, most of us have absolutely no conception of how incredible our lives are.

So I have a BA and Master’s Degree in History. I studied history for many years, and when you study history, you learn very quickly that right now is, by far, the best time to be alive in human history. There’s never been a better time than now to be alive. And yes, I’m talking about right now, in the midst of this crazy pandemic, obscene nationalism, and all kinds of the chaos of the modern world and stupid culture wars and political infighting.

antidote to retroactive jealousy

If you are born in a developed country, half the battle is won right there.

I spent a lot of time in countries that have greater challenges relating to poverty, famine, hunger, and natural disasters. I spent a few months in the Philippines last year, I absolutely loved it. Anyway, a terrible storm, a cyclone just hit the Philippines and there’s a bunch of people without electricity and water, there are all kinds of chaos going on there right now. And this kind of thing is quite common in many countries in this part of the world; the social challenges, political corruption, etc.

My point is, for so many of us in the Western world, our problems are not problems. Our lives are pretty darned good by comparison with other parts of the world, and in comparison with any other time in human history. We have no conception about how great our lives are. We can turn on the tap and have clean water to drink. There’s always enough food for the vast majority of us.

“So what is your point, Zach? How is this relevant, or an antidote to retroactive jealousy?”

When you start getting this perspective, you realize how incredible your life is by comparison to so many others in the world today. I’m living in Bali, Indonesia, an absolutely stunning place now, but you know, I have challenges throughout the day. My website’s down, there’s this technical challenge, and so on. I mean, that doesn’t really bother me anymore, but once upon a time it did.

I have challenges but, I can walk down the street and see 10 people who are really struggling economically. They don’t have the food that they need, no access to clean water, I could go on and on. And when you have those moments, all of a sudden that helps you realize how much of your own nonsense is pure nonsense. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in your own self-pity sometimes. And when you live in a place like Bali and when you study history, you realize how lucky you are to be living in the time, country, or born to the circumstances that you were born into.

Life is so great for so many of us.

I think a big part of my antidote for overcoming retroactive jealousy has been gaining that perspective, being exposed to how so much of the world lives and operates, and realizing my own privilege. All the gifts that I was born into, as a Canadian, gaining this insight has helped me put things like retroactive jealousy into perspective. It can put your whole life into perspective when you start actively appreciating the gifts that are in your life, more and more each and every day.

antidote to retroactive jealousy

A simple, easy way is to start your day with some kind of gratitude practice. I start my day, I do my meditation, I review my goals, affirmations, and all that stuff. I also take a couple of minutes and write down three things that I’m grateful for that morning.

There are so many gifts in our lives.

So many gifts, all kinds of incredible gifts in your life that you’re not even fully appreciating. It helps to put everything in perspective (including retroactive jealousy) the more you’re actively appreciating the gifts in your life each and every day. It isn’t easy at first, but once you start doing this more often, it becomes easier and easier. Once you start your day with that simple gratitude practice, you start noticing more things to be grateful for. And it’s a great way to start off your day with a more positive, grateful energy.

So I would suggest starting to actively trying to practice empathy. I’m here to tell you that it can really help to put things like retroactive jealousy, or your partner’s past into perspective. It can help put all kinds of “problems” into perspective and show us that these problems are not actually problems.

And though this particular problem of obsessive jealousy or retroactive jealousy can hinder our quality of life, we have so much to be grateful for. And there are solutions to this problem that are right in front of you.

Zachary Stockill
Zachary Stockill

Hi! I'm a Canadian author and educator whose work has been featured in BBC News, BBC Radio 4, The Huffington Post, and many other publications. I'm the founder of, the author of Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy and The Overcoming Jealousy Workbook, and the host of Humans in Love podcast.