Nobody likes jealousy — not even the person who’s feeling it. Since we can’t do a lot to control our emotions (only the way we react to them), jealousy isn’t exactly a feeling we can stop ourselves from experiencing. It’s not fun to be jealous of anyone, especially someone super close to you like a sibling, S.O., or BFF. That’s why overcoming jealousy can be so pivotal for relationships. We talked with Pam Willsey, a life coach for teen girls, about how to be happy despite a bite from the green-eyed monster.

In order to understand how to deal with jealousy, it’s important to understand where it comes from. Women and girls, Willsey suggests, are actually more prone to this emotion because of our aptitude for social connection. “Jealousy begins with our expectations of our friendships, our lives, and of ourselves,” she explains. “Fear is also at the core of jealous feelings toward our friends.”

A woman side-eyes her friend

There are a few core factors that influence jealousy in relationships, Willsey tells us. Some of them include competition, abandonment, dependency, comparison, and attention. For example, you might feel like your bestie’s new job will cause them to need you less or make you feel inferior because they’ve moved forward in their career. In terms of attention, some people might compare the way that people perceive one person versus another. It makes sense that these complicated feelings have adverse effects on friendships. “We feel threatened when a friend has something that we value that we may not even be aware of,” Willsey shares. “Jealousy can put us up against our own connection with ourselves, especially when we are feeling more insecure and vulnerable.”

The key to solving this emotional conundrum is awareness. Once you’re aware that you’re feeling jealous — and, importantly, what exactly you’re jealous of — you can take steps to mitigate that feeling and be happier for your friend. Willsey says that jealousy can actually act as a wake-up call that will help you take action toward improving yourself, rather than focusing on others. “It’s important to understand that jealousy is only destructive to our relationships and ourselves if we do not explore its deeper message and meaning,” she encourages. “Remind yourself that the more fulfilled you feel in your life, the less jealously you will feel toward others.”

How have you dealt with feelings of jealousy toward people you care about? Let us know @BritandCo!

(Photo via Getty)