For the past four months you’ve coached me through one of the most volatile periods of my life. Guided by your wisdom I’ve grown into a joyful woman filled with immeasurable energy and self-love. Discovering and solidifying my values has been magical and empowering, and my relationships—especially the all-important one with myself—are flourishing. What I’m trying to say is… Thank you! It’s been several weeks since we last connected, and I’ve discovered a very important and deeply-rooted issue that I’d like to explore with you. That issue is Jealousy.
Jealousy has been a persistent shadow in my life for as long as I can remember. Without the right tools to coax it out of my garden, I’ve had no choice but to watch it linger and sometimes flourish amongst the lovely things that I purposefully nurture. Jealousy has taken many forms throughout my life but most recently has manifested itself in a new relationship with a young man I’ll call “Roman.” We met on a road-trip and spent the following week of winter break in almost constant contact. I quickly became smitten with him. Naturally (for me), whenever he showed affection toward our female peers, I became green around the gills. This blood-boiling possessiveness is a loathsome feeling to hold in the body, and I often became upset with myself for not being able to control it.
Immediately after parting ways with Roman I happened upon a book by Susan Page titled “The 8 Essential Traits of Couples Who Thrive.” On the whole, I think the book is fabulous, but one section that particularly struck me was that on intimacy. Page asserts that one cannot give OR love themselves fully if they don’t know themselves fully. She says that the “inner self” is where we harbor our most private pleasures, dreams and insecurities. The deep, hidden realm where our wounds, self-doubt and fears live is called the “snake pit.” According to Page, the snake pit is something that we all must accept and face without fear if we are to love ourselves completely. I’m inclined to agree with Page, and am willing (if not eager) to being charming my jealous snakes, for if I don’t know them, I can’t love them.
Thankfully I am not wont to envy other’s looks, possessions, or status, but this issue is nonetheless quite serious. Melissa, what questions would you ask me to help discover the roots of my jealousy and start to slowly ease them out? What do you do when you feel jealous? Do you think it can ever be completely eradicated? If I am to have an intimate relationship with Roman I wish to harbor no jealous feelings, and I know it would make me a more joyful person overall if I could let go of the general jealousy I sense when others become close to my best friend. As always, any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
It’s not easy being green
Dear, “It’s not easy…”
Ah yes, the green-eyed monster. You feel it. I feel it. We’ve all felt it…and hated it, and felt terrible for feeling it. After going through an intense experience myself this past fall that brought up some major jealousy, I decided that it is one of the worst combinations of human emotions that one could experience. If you want to know a bit about some of that journey you can read about it here.
Jealousy happens because we experience a perceived threat to something we 1) believe we need, and 2) is outside of us, and 3) therefore, out of our control. Do I think it’s possible for us to fully eradicate jealousy? Yes, I do–jealousy and any other emotions that cause us pain come in response to attaching to thoughts that are untrue. With that said, be gentle with yourself and let your jealousy teach you rather than trying to resist it. In this case, as you found yourself falling for Roman (fun name, btw…:), it was these other ladies who shed a wonderful light on your own “snake pit” and suddenly there was the belief followed by the feeling that you have something to lose.
But answer me this: What do you REALLY have to lose? First of all, you’ve only just met Roman, and while I’m gathering that you’ve been mutually enjoying one another, you have only caught a glimpse of the surface of each other. Have fun with that, and know that it is YOU that you “lose” when you slip into the idea of “we” so quickly. This is what your jealously has so lovingly come to show you. You feel loathsome and out of control because you’re putting your focus in the direction of things that you will never be able to control. How does Roman feel about you? How does he feel about your female peers? Does he choose YOU? Can you trust him? Can you trust those girls not to take him away? Are you enough for him? These endless questions that start to float about amidst jealousy are none of your business–you will never be able perceive or affect the answers to these questions.
Here is what IS in your control: What does in mean for you to trust YOURSELF? What does it mean for you to be fully available to yourself, to never leave you, to make YOU feel cherished? What does it it mean for you to fully accept and approve of YOURSELF? These are all things that you can take care of yourself. THIS is your business, to choose yourself. In what ways were you beginning to compromise yourself in the context of this relationship? You will understand the wisdom of your jealousy by focusing in there.
When the jealousy comes on, allow yourself to take some space and fully feel it. It’s a great time to take a step back, take the focus away from relationships and remind yourself of all of the other kickass stuff you have going on in your life. You’re asking great questions and tapping into some great internal wisdom! Be gentle with yourself and know that you are growing in leaps and bounds. I’m honored to be a part of that. 🙂
As a final aside, as you continue to grow in your capacity to approve of and choose yourself first, you may find that you simply do not want to spend time with guys that freely share affection with other women–that’s ok to own. That doesn’t make those men WRONG, it just simply means that you prefer something else. It’s your party. You’ve already got the love. No need to contort yourself into uncomfortable positions for someone who approaches relationships differently.
:)Melissa A.K.A. The JoyDiva
©2012 Melissa Simonson