I just released my newest project, The Overcoming Jealousy Workbook.
The Overcoming Jealousy Workbook features eleven weeks of writing prompts and journaling exercises for confronting and overcoming jealousy in relationships.
Drawing insights from cognitive behavioural therapy and cutting-edge psychological research, as well as ancient Buddhist and Stoic philosophy, this workbook is designed for any jealousy sufferer who wants to quickly get a handle on their problem, and emerge from the hell of jealousy and possessiveness.
Today, I’d like to share the Introduction from my newest book.
Hope you enjoy.
The Overcoming Jealousy Workbook: Introduction
It is a curious thing to a be a confidant for thousands of strangers.
When I published my guidebook Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy back in 2013, I had no idea that thousands of men and women I’ve never met would open up to me, and share their innermost thoughts and fears.
I had no idea that my guidebook would impact so many people in the first place, as writing and publishing the book represented more of an exercise in personal healing, rather than any kind of marketing savvy. But reach people it has, and today I am enormously proud that Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy has played a part in helping men and women from every corner of the earth confront and overcome jealousy and possessiveness in their relationships.
If you’re reading this right now, I’ll assume that you are currently struggling, or have struggled with jealousy and possessiveness at some point in your life. So when I write about the impact of my first book, I don’t mean to boast, but merely to emphasize the fact that, yes, overcoming jealousy is absolutely possible with the right outlook, tools, and determination.
So if you’ve felt discouraged lately, don’t be: thousands upon thousands of people just like you have put in the work, and put jealousy and possessiveness behind them. I know; I have an inbox filled with emails to prove it.
I didn’t know it at the time, but when I started writing my first book, and putting together RetroactiveJealousy.com, I was embarking on possibly the largest-ever informal research project concerning jealousy in relationships.
Over the past several years I have corresponded with jealousy sufferers of every possible gender identification, sexual orientation, nationality, age, and religious background.
Thousands of brave men and women have shared their stories in emails, coaching calls, and the Facebook discussion group I host for students taking my online course “Get Over Your Partner’s Past Fast.”
Over the past several years I’ve learned, again and again, what works, and what doesn’t, when it comes to overcoming jealousy in relationships. I’ve learned which questions we need to ask ourselves, again and again, to make the most progress we can in the shortest period of time. Since I began this journey, I’ve learned more about relationships and personal development than I could have ever imagined, and this is almost all thanks to the bravery of total strangers on the internet. I owe them an enormous debt for their courage and trust.
And if you’re struggling with jealousy, you probably already have most of the tools, and answers, you need—you just need to draw them into sharper focus. This is where The Overcoming Jealousy Workbook comes in.
As you work to overcome jealousy and possessiveness, one of the most powerful tools at your disposal is your ability to be healthily self-critical, and write down your reflections and goals.
A growing body of research indicates that gaining greater clarity about our past mistakes, and future aspirations, is one of the biggest steps we can take toward becoming the best version of ourselves. Of course, it takes more than simply journaling, but journaling can play an absolutely crucial role in accomplishing any kind of goal related to personal development. My own experience, and the experiences of thousands of others have taught me that this is especially true when it comes to overcoming jealousy and possessiveness in our relationships.
This workbook was designed as a potential supplement to any other personal development book or program you might already be following as you work to get a handle on your jealousy.
After several years of intensive research and daily correspondence with jealousy sufferers, I feel more and more confident in reaffirming that the single biggest factor in overcoming jealousy is taking ownership, and taking action.
However, if this is where you are beginning your personal development journey, I’m confident that The Overcoming Jealousy Workbook will serve as an effective starting point.
Naturally, we all have different needs, and some of us might require slightly different approaches to overcoming jealousy. However, the questions and writing prompts I lay out in this book are designed to be effective no matter what your particular situation looks like. Of course, you may need more than this workbook to overcome jealousy; other books, online courses, and therapists can be enormously helpful. However, I believe the work in this book is crucial for any jealousy sufferer to undertake if they’re interested in achieving meaningful long-term results.
If you bought this book, and are interested in taking on this work, I will assume you know that your jealousy is mostly, or maybe even entirely, irrational.
By “irrational,” I mean that your worst fears aren’t true; your partner isn’t messing around behind your back, or violating your trust in any serious way. I will also assume that you realize you have a problem, and you’re willing to put in the work to solve it. At the very least, I will assume that you at least have a suspicion that your jealousy is based mostly on fiction, rather than fact. You’re looking for ways to gain clarity and peace of mind. You want to save and strengthen your relationship. And you’re willing to hold yourself accountable, as so few others do.
When the American philosopher Henry David Thoreau wrote about the masses leading “lives of quiet desperation,” he was reflecting on how few of his neighbours were self-reflective, self-critical, self-accountable.
A couple of centuries later, the world is still full of the masses lacking direction, vulnerable to the whims and desires of their peers, and those in power. Rare is the person who asks themselves, each and every day, “Who am I and what do I want?” Rarer still is the person who writes down their vision for the future, refines it over time, and holds themselves accountable to achieve it. With this workbook, I aim not only to help you overcome jealousy, but also to encourage you to become one of the rare individuals who takes deliberate aim at a personally meaningful and fulfilling life, whatever that looks like for you. Simply put: it is next to impossible to accomplish our aims in life if we don’t know exactly what we’re aiming at. This workbook will help.
The Overcoming Jealousy Workbook is intended to help you keep track of your goals, mistakes, and progress on the road toward overcoming jealousy.
The Overcoming Jealousy Workbook is intended to support and guide you through some intensive soul-searching, reflection, and future planning. The writing prompts will not always be easy to complete; they are designed for maximal effectiveness, in the shortest period of time possible. I designed this workbook with great care and consideration in an attempt to get to the heart of the problem, and potential solutions, as quickly as possible.
That said, there will be no “overnight solution” to be found in these pages. This is not easy work.
The workbook is divided into ten main “weeks,” or sections, with a writing exercise to be completed each and every day, followed by a week of review. That said, of course it is alright if you miss the occasional day, and want to “catch up” by completing two or even three exercises in one day. However, for maximum effectiveness, I’d recommend that you approach these writing prompts as they were meant to be approached: in sequence, one by one, day by day, over the course of eleven weeks. I have also included a number of quotes throughout which I find inspiring.
Some have asked me about the ideal time of day to sit down and journal. There is no “one size fits all” answer, however, either first thing in the morning, or just before bed at night, seems to work well. The time it will take you to complete each writing exercise will vary; some may take you ten minutes, others an hour or more.
Regardless of the number of words you write, or how long it takes you to write them, my advice is this: keep this workbook private, and write as truthfully as you can at all times.
Don’t show it to your partner, don’t show it to your friends, don’t show it to anyone. Above all, as you write, treat yourself with the respect you deserve, and be honest with yourself. You will accomplish very little unless you confront the problem, and investigate possible solutions, with maximal candor. And of course, if you’re reading this as an e-book, you’ll need a physical journal, or some kind of pen and paper, as you go along.
Before we get started, I’d like to take a moment to commend you for being one of those rare individuals who is willing to work to get what they want. By purchasing this workbook, you have made an implicit commitment to hold yourself accountable, soberly examine your past, and plan for a better future. And as one who used to struggle with intense jealousy and possessiveness in my relationship, I can tell you with absolute confidence: this work is worth it.
For jealousy offers us false hope, false comfort.
It represents a delusional impulse to “control” other people and events, and bend the world toward our will. It’s trendy nowadays to promote the idea of “letting go,” so I won’t add my voice to that chorus, only to tell you that you have nothing to let go of in the first place.
You do not, and can never, “own” or “control” your partner, or the world more generally. You cannot change your partner, or their past. You cannot prevent your partner from noticing other people, or other people from noticing your partner. So the only thing you really need to “let go” of is the notion that you have anything to “let go” of in the first place.
It’s also worth noting that I define “overcoming jealousy” as not necessarily the absence of jealousy, but rather, demonstrating the presence of mind and awareness to be stronger than jealousy.
Just because I have managed to overcome jealousy and possessiveness does not mean I still don’t get the occasional jealous “pang.” The difference now is that I know what I’m dealing with, and furthermore, I know I am “bigger” than my jealousy. I can experience a jealous thought, confront it, and overcome it a moment later.
Today, I “lose” the occasional moment to jealousy, rather than losing an hour, a day, a week. I have discovered that even the most enlightened beings (of which I surely am not) still experience jealousy, but they don’t let their jealousy bother them. In time, if you put in the work, you’ll feel the same about your own jealousy; a jealous thought may appear in your consciousness, but like noticing a dark cloud in the sky, you’ll have the power to ignore it, redirect your attention, and let it drift away peacefully.
In time, you’ll find that overcoming jealousy is like easing a hundred pounds of weight off your back, one pound at a time.
You’ll feel better, the people around you will feel better, and you will approach each day with a sense of optimism and possibility, rather than anxiety and dread. You’ll be more fun to be around, and your partner, and others, will notice. Above all, you’ll realize on a deeper level that life is far too brief and precious to waste on the things that don’t matter, and your effort is always best spent on focusing on what you can change, rather than what you can’t.
All of this is to say, this fight is worth it, my friend.
Thanks for letting me lend a hand.
Let’s get started.