In today’s video, I’d like to talk about the dangers of long-term thinking when you are working to overcome obsessive jealousy or any other challenge as it relates to personal development.
In today’s video, I will discuss how to beat retroactive jealousy.
But before I do, I’d also like to take this opportunity to remind you that my brand new, all-new, downloadable audio series is out right now. If you’d like more information about Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy: The Guided Meditations, please click here.
Zachary Stockill: I get a lot of emails from retroactive jealousy sufferers asking me things like, “If I start putting in the work, how much time will it take me to get over retroactive jealousy?” Or, “How will I know 100% that I’m finished with retroactive jealousy for the rest of my life? How do I know I beat retroactive jealousy for good?”
The purpose of this video is not to answer that question. But in general, what I sense from hundreds of emails and one-on-one coaching clients, the sense I get that is true for most people. And it was true for me years ago when I was struggling with retroactive jealousy.
You make incremental progress over a period of days or weeks or however long on how to beat retroactive jealousy.
Then one day you wake up and realize, “Hey, wait a minute. It’s been a long time since I had the urge to ask my partner a question about their past”. Or, “Hey, it’s been a really great week for me and last week was really great too”. Or “It’s been a month since I really had any kind of impulse or urge as it relates to retroactive jealousy, any kind of impulse or urge as it relates to creep in my partner’s past on Facebook or trying to ask them more questions about their past. It’s been a while”.
In other words, one day you kind of wake up and you realize, “Oh, I think I beat this. I think this has done. I think that I’ve successfully put in the work and I think it’s finally behind me for good.”
The purpose of this video is to highlight what I believe to be the dangers of long-term thinking when you are in the trenches of retroactive jealousy.
Maybe you haven’t started putting in the work yet to overcome retroactive jealousy. Maybe kind of have one toe in the water. You’re kind of watching random videos on YouTube and trying to put together some kind of half-baked strategy. But then, you fall back and you end up on some random internet forums at 3:00 AM where you start asking your partner more questions about their past.
Whatever it is, you’re kind of not quite sure how to proceed. Or maybe you’ve actually started putting in the work to overcome retroactive jealousy and you’re starting to make some progress. Things are starting to improve. If you’re in either of those two categories, this video is for you.
Long-term thinking is really helpful in certain areas of life or moments of life. Certain periods of life, but it isn’t always helpful.
I believe when you were trying to overcome retroactive jealousy and you’re in the thick of it, it’s not a great time for long-term thinking.
I’ll give you an example. I get a lot of emails from people who say, “When will I be done with this for good?”. Or, “When will this be totally gone?”. Or, “If I put in the work, how long will it take to be gone for good?”
“How do I know I’m winning? How do I know I’m really beating this thing?
If you really want to make progress and you really want to give yourself the best possible chance to beat retroactive jealousy for good, bring your frame of reference smaller. Make it smaller. Stop thinking in terms of weeks or months or years. Think about today. Bring your focus back to the present moment and start noticing wins along the way with a more narrow frame of reference.
What does that mean? If you had a great day and it was much better than yesterday, that’s a win. If you have a peaceful hour, that was way better than the previous hour, that’s a win. That’s something to feel really good about.
If this week was much better than last week, overall, there have been some bumps in the road along the way you may have had a setback or two. But overall, I’d say that’s a huge win in my book.
The point is to make your Frame of reference smaller and to always bring the attention back to the present moment. Because that’s the only real thing we have any kind of influence over.
The past is the past, the future is a mystery.
All we have access to and important is the present moment. The more you bring your focus back to the present moment. The more you realize that you have agency, you have options. You are more powerful than you realize every time you bring your focus back to the present moment.
If you’re thinking in terms of next month or next week or whatever, immediately you lose some of your agency because you can’t really do anything about next month or next week. Or you can do a lot. You can do a lot of things about the present moment.
Focus on the goal of how to beat retroactive jealousy.
So always try to bring your attention back to the present moment and focus on and notice those little wins that you might be experiencing and not giving yourself full credit for. Notice when you’ve had a great day or a great hour or a great 15 minutes even, in certain extreme cases.
Give yourself credit for those little wins along the way and build on those little wins. Build on the progress you’re already making.
I also think it’s not a great time if you’re in the trenches of retroactive jealousy if you’re really in the thick of it. And most importantly, you’re actually committed to beating it. You’re putting in the work to overcome it.
If you are in the trenches, I don’t think it’s a great time to be trying to decide if your current partner is the one.
I hate that expression, but a lot of people use it.
Let’s say if you’re trying to decide if you want to get married, or if they’re the mother of your children or all of these things. If you’re in the trenches of rhetoric of jealousy, that’s a really bad time to be trying to make that decision. Because who we choose as a life partner is the most consequential decision we will ever make.
They’ve done all kinds of studies on long-term happiness and what makes for a good life. And, what really matters in life. The common answer is our relationships.
There is no person who’s going to have a bigger impact on your long-term happiness. Your success, your peace of mind, your health in some ways. There’s no more important person than the person you’re going to choose as your life partner.
All of this is to say this is one hell of an important decision that you might have to make or that you’re possibly making now. If you’re in the trenches of retroactive jealousy, if you’re still struggling with questions around their values or your mind feels a bit off sometimes when you’re trying to consider the relationship with a level head, now is not the time to be making those big momentous life decisions. Again, bring the focus back to the present moment, bring the focus back to today.
Don’t ever lie to someone. If someone’s asking you, “Hey, what are your plans for the future?” Or, “I want to do this, or I want to do that,” I advocate full honesty.
Don’t ever string someone along or promise things that you can’t deliver. Be honest with them.
Maybe you need more time to consider things. Put in some more work on yourself. Maybe you still have some questions that you’re working to sort out for yourself. Be honest. You don’t have to do full disclosure, depending on the situation.
I don’t think this is the time to making those really consequential life decisions such as, “Is this the one? Is this the person I want to share my life with?” Bring the focus back to the present.
Don’t focus on building a great life with your partner 20 years, 30 years from now. Focusing on building a great day, just having fun with them. Enjoying their presence for whatever it’s worth.
The more you bring your attention back to the present moment, the more you realize how much power you have to shape whatever you want it to be. So again, long-term thinking. The enemy in some cases when it comes to retroactive jealousy. So make your frame of reference smaller. Bring your attention back to the present moment.