He flirts and I feel insecure

-- Question for John --

I have been with my boyfriend for a year and living together for 2 months. My problem is that I have insecurities that developed in my previous relationship. My ex cheated on me several times and I guess I’m scared it will happen again. My boyfriend is very friendly, as am I, and sometimes I feel that he is flirting. I know that he loves me, but I get so jealous.

I hate the way I feel, and I know that he’s done nothing wrong. We’ve had discussions and he always reassures me that he loves only me and he’s very understanding. But I’m worried that if this keeps reoccurring he won’t be so understanding. What can I do to help get rid of my insecurities?

-- Answer from John --

First, I appreciate that you are reaching out to try to overcome your jealousy. As you know from your own experience, jealousy is very upsetting for the person who suffers it. It also becomes a big problem for the other person, because of the way the jealous person acts. This you also know. Jealously can actually cause the other person to want to escape. So the risk of damage to a relationship is quite real. It is worth any and all efforts on your part to overcome your jealousy. I’ll tell you something specifically to start doing in a short while to begin to overcome it.

But I need you to start now by looking at the emotion as something that happens inside of you. Sure, maybe he looks at other girls. That is pretty normal. But you make it more. It triggers insecurities within you that maybe these other girls are going to take him away…. or something like that… like they will get his love and you will lose it…

This insecurity is something that exists in YOU. Most of us are insecure. There is nothing wrong with that. The key is to know what to do with it and how to work with it inside yourself. This is what you need to focus all your attention on. And whenever jealousy comes up, you need to switch your attention from what is happening OUTSIDE of you to put your attention back INSIDE of you.

It is a matter of how to care for yourself — inside yourself. To make yourself stronger inside, by giving yourself the love, respect and nurturing that will build up that strength. And then, you won’t be as triggered by the outside stuff. Because you will be in the core of your own inner strength.

Giving yourself absolute love and acceptance is the way. The issue is not how your guy looks at these other girls. It is how YOU look at them and compare yourself to them… and somehow give them more value (in terms of sexiness or whatever) than you give yourself. This is the place where you need to turn it around. INSIDE yourself.

Respect and love yourself, first and foremost. This is your only way to heal jealousy. Love yourself EXACTLY as you are, right now.

How do you do that?

Commit yourself to doing it, no matter what.

Then practice it.

Here is the practice I suggest for you:

Bring up within you right now as you read this all the love you have for someone you love — maybe this guy, maybe someone else, maybe even your cat, I don’t know… you pick.

Just close your eyes and see that person (or cat) in your mind’s eye… and then let yourself fully feel pure love, all the way down to your toes. Feel that love in your heart, literally in your chest. The warmth of it. Breathe into it. Let it expand. When you got that feeling… hold onto it fully… and make a picture in your mind’s eye of YOU! Yes, you! And keep feeling that love fully… and send it towards the picture of you.

Do this practice for awhile. It is a self-love meditation. Do it somewhere where you can be alone, and relatively quiet. Do it three times a day for the around 5 minutes it might take to do it. Do this religiously, as proof of your commitment to raise your own self-esteem and overcome your jealousy.