In today’s video, I’m going to share what I believe to be one of the secrets of life that will help you overcome retroactive jealousy.

So: what should you do when you’re exhausted by retroactive jealousy? This will help you overcome unwanted, painful intrusive thoughts about your partner’s past, and in general, will just help you enjoy your life a whole lot more.

Zachary Stockill: What I’ve noticed going through my older videos is that I use the word “work” quite a bit. It’s a word I often use to sign off my emails to coaching clients and students. Put in the work and good things will come.

I’m a big fan of hard work. I’ve experienced the benefits of hard work in my personal life, as well as my professional life.

Anyone struggling with painful, unwanted intrusive thoughts about their partner’s past, obsessive curiosity about their partner’s past, this is an idea that really took me until I was probably in my early 20s to learn.

But once I really learned and internalized and understood this idea, it changed my entire life.

So a little bit of a backstory, I have done 10-day meditation retreats, called Vipassana retreats. It’s not linked with any temple or church or spiritual teacher even. It’s really one of the oldest forms of meditation. The first one I did was in the mountains of northern India when I was 20. The second one, I did in the state of Oregon in 2012.

I got enormous benefits out of both of those 10-day retreats.

exhausted by retroactive jealousy

And by the way, at these retreats, you’re basically living like a monk for 10 days. You wake up around 3:30 or 4 in the morning. You’re meditating virtually all day. You don’t speak to anyone for nine days. You don’t make eye contact with the other people in the retreat. There are no books, no reading materials, no smartphones, no computers, no internet, no television, it’s very, very, very intense. And they really did change my entire life.

And the reason I’m sharing this with you is that my first experience in one of these 10-day meditation retreats really offered me an insight into something that I’d never considered before. But once I understood it, everything has changed, especially when you’re exhausted by retroactive jealousy.

So in the meditation hall, I think it was day 1 or day 2 of my first meditation retreat, you’re in this enormous meditation hall with dozens and dozens of other people from around the world.

And all of a sudden, many people in the hall, were crying.

They were trying to be quiet about it, but you could hear that a lot of people in the hall are having a very intense experience. And a lot of these people were visibly emotional.

And I thought about it, why these people were having this experience because I didn’t find myself particularly emotional that day. It occurred to me that the reason these people were crying, was because they’d never in their entire lives, taken a moment to simply sit, not distracting themselves with reading material, television, smartphone, and so on.

Many of these people had gone their entire lives, never ever taken a moment to consciously pause.

It wasn’t even about the meditation, per se. But so many of them had never really just paused and taken a moment in their entire lives. Their minds had been going nonstop, for 30, 40, 50 years.

Maybe they didn’t have the interest. Maybe they felt like they didn’t have the time. But whatever the reason, they’d never taken a moment to learn some techniques that would help them deal with their thoughts. They’ve been going nonstop for decades.

And many of these people discovered, when they were becoming emotional in the meditation hall, they weren’t crying tears of sadness, they were crying tears of joy.

Now, why would they be crying tears of joy? Because they discovered in those moments, happiness isn’t hard work. You can cure yourself from being exhausted with retroactive jealousy.

When I say happiness isn’t hard work. I don’t mean to belittle or downplay those struggles. But what I mean is, when we cultivate the ability to simply pause, still our minds, and allow our minds to simply breathe and rest for a moment, without the constant noise in our heads, without constant thoughts and curiosity when we finally cultivate the ability to simply pause and let our minds rest, there’s this incredible sense of joy that naturally bubbles up to the surface.

It’s a natural phenomenon when you get any degree of competence in simply stilling your mind and taking a moment. And, being able to still your thoughts and simply letting the mind rest. There’s this natural sense of incredible joy, hope, and happiness that naturally arises to the surface when we’re not thinking about the past and future.

exhausted by retroactive jealousy

Let’s paint the picture here, you’re in the Spartan meditation hall, sitting on kind of an uncomfortable cushion, your legs are cramped, and it’s cold, and you’re wondering what the hell you’re doing. You miss your partner, and you can’t look at your phone, and all of a sudden, you encounter this incredible sense of happiness out of nowhere.

What causes this is the real recognition, the realization on a deep level, that happiness isn’t hard work.

There’s a solution when you’re exhausted with retroactive jealousy.

Overcoming retroactive jealousy involves work as well. Happiness is not hard work. And this is one of the secrets to living a good life.

Whatever problems you’re experiencing, struggles you’re facing, the trauma you’ve experienced in your life, simply cultivating the ability to pause and appreciate the present moment will change your life. You’ll discover that you might not need to put in some of the work that you had in mind. You’ll discover that maybe all of your problems don’t necessarily require solving at that moment because you’re cultivating the ability to simply breathe, and let your mind rest.

And, return to its natural state, which is a state of joy.

So if you’re struggling with retroactive jealousy, obsessive jealousy, or you’re struggling with any other problem in your life, continue putting in the work. Continue committing to the path, whichever path that you found, which will help you with your recovery, with your ability to deal with this problem. But at the same time, give yourself those moments, when you can kind of put the problem on the back burner for a while.

Find all kinds of meditation, information, either on this channel or other channels.

Or in my online courses, or books or whatever. I’d encourage you to find some technique and some kind of mindfulness or meditation practice.

And simply, give yourself some breaks once in a while. Give yourself those moments when you can pause for five or 10 minutes, even every day. And simply breathe, let your mind rest.

Let your thoughts rest.

Don’t think about the past, don’t worry about the future.

I guarantee you’ll experience a level of happiness that isn’t hard work.

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.