Life is nothing but movement; change; progression; flux.

Be it from one day to the next, one room to the next, the hands of the clock on the wall, or the passing of cars on the highway, our lives are defined by motion. As I write about in my guidebook, human beings are much like whirlpools; constantly moving, transforming, changing. Our lives are much the same way, with a rotating cast of characters and circumstances that keeps the whole game interesting.

This game called life is most interesting, isn’t it?

Have you ever considered the fact that your retroactive jealousy is interesting? Although it may certainly be “challenging,” “painful,” “inconvenient,” etc. it is also, simply, interesting.

What an interesting diversion, this so-called “retroactive jealousy. Hung up on hallucinations based around an imaginary past… What an interesting experience.

How can I learn from this? How can I grow from this? How might I remember this experience in a year’s time? Will this even matter in twenty years?

Why can’t I just be happy?

You can.

We all get carried away by dreams of the past, hopes for the future, anxiety, tension, stress. We spend half our lives waiting for the “good stuff,” and the other half letting it pass us by.

This is the good stuff. This moment can be great, if you let it be.

Let’s start by stripping “retroactive jealousy” of its supposed grandeur, its illusory power over us, and simply observing it. That’s all. Just observe.

The next time you experience a jealous thought, or anxiety around the threat of jealous thoughts in the back of your mind, simply say to yourself “Interesting.”

As you may observe a cloud in the sky, without passion, without judgment, without scorn; simply observe the thought, and see it for what it is — momentary, powerless, fleeting.


Some of us have strong emotions associated with certain thoughts, ranging from shame, to fear, to powerlessness, to elation, to jubilation, and everything in between. A thought may appear in our consciousness and we may become agitated, angry, upset, embarrassed, happy, joyous, nostalgic, etc. Always remember that you can, at any time, decide to interrupt this pattern, as you always have a choice to react to a thought, or not.

An emotion is never inherently connected to a thought. An emotional reaction is an option, not a certainty. For example, you may think of your partner’s ex and become instantly agitated, but you chose — either consciously, or subconsciously — to have that reaction. Learn to simply observe an unwanted thought as you would a cloud in the sky and the thought loses its power over you. When you start to practice this, you realize how powerless thoughts can be if you observe them for what they truly are.


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.