Jealousy can obliterate a relationship. Even worse, it can be the source of unnecessary, self-inflicted wounds. Check out these three steps for conquering “The Big Green Monster.”
Jealousy is a nasty word in our culture. It is such an abstract term that sometimes it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what it is.
Jealousy can include a plethora of feelings: insecurity, abandonment, envy, loneliness, invalid assumptions, loss of identity, humiliation, shame, deception, unfairness, fear of unknown, lack of trust (usually from within), loss of control, etc.
We are raised in a scarcity-based system, which makes us think that another person’s love is just as limited at any product at the market. Because of this fear, jealousy is one of the biggest obstacles in romantic relationships—particularly polyamorous ones. Yet the people who practice polyamory have often faced big J head on and grown stronger because of it. Regardless of the relationship structure one follows, we can all learn a thing or two about this emotion and how to deal with it from the poly crowd.
While at the Rocky Mountain Poly Living Polyamorous Conference I went to a workshop on jealousy taught by The Ethical Slut author Dossie Easton. We participated in a meditative technique where we dove down deep and confronted out jealousies within.
It was an interesting meditative journey for me. I closed my eyes and imagined myself walking along a mountain path. I came along a big water hole in the ground and I jumped in. I swam and swam all the way down to the most beautiful spot in the world; it was full of fragrant colorful flowers, green green grass and a stream with a bubbling waterfall. I rested up next to a big warm rock with the sun shining on my face.
We were then asked to invite jealousy to join us and this is where it got a little bit weird. The space darkened and then jealousy appeared looking like the Big Bad Wolf—tall, broad, with gnarly teeth and out-of-control black and gray hair. Yes, my manifestation of jealousy was a big, hairy wolf. When I asked him what his point was for existing in my life, he told me he came around to make sure that I was good enough and to protect me.
It suddenly made sense. All of those negative feelings I felt were just me trying to protect myself from getting hurt, but when I actually felt them they were usually based in wild assumptions that had no basis in reality. They were, after all, emotions; I could deal with them maturely or I could bury them and let them eat away at me forever.
Easton told us to tell Jealousy what we needed to say.
I informed the Big Bad Wolf that I didn’t need him in my life, that I could protect myself just fine on my own. I decided to leave him down there. When I said farewell, he was swinging on a tire swing smoking a joint. I think he is sufficiently chilled out now.
Of course it’s not that easy. One little imaginative mind trip down a water hole won’t keep the big bad wolf of jealousy at bay forever.
Here are three tips for Dealing with the “Big J”
1. Recognize the emotion.
Because there are so many feelings that can surface within the confines of jealousy, being able to see that’s what is actually happening is an important step. Maybe you’re suddenly sad or territorial or really angry, recognizing the connection between the emotion and the situation is vital. Remember the feelings are all within you and are often a running story of assumptions that are not based on any facts. It’s okay to feel the feelings, but be aware that that’s all that they are for now.
2. Step away.
Those negative emotions don’t make anyone feel good and usually when people don’t feel well they want to resolve it as quickly as possible. Jealousy brings with it a sense of urgency, but it’s often better to step away and allow the full scope of the situation to unravel. One excellent tip is to think of five good things for every one bad thought. That will start getting the mind at ease and reminding you of all the positive things that are happening around you.
3. Treat it like the flu.
The best tip I ever heard was to treat jealousy like you would if you came down with something. So, take care of yourself first. Rest, relax, take a warm bath, perhaps mediate for a bit. It is a feeling like any other feeling, except that it can cause unnecessary mental anguish because it’s such a yucky emotion we’ve often over-dramatized its existence. Luckily though we all have the capability to self-treat it and move on to better emotional states.
In the end, whatever caused the jealousy and the emotions that were brought up with it can be worked through. Allowing jealousy to be a teacher will make any relationship—with yourself or others—stronger.
[image: via meow508 on deviantART]