Notes on jealousy

When I was in my early 30s, one of my best friends of many years whom I used to spend a lot of time with got married in the peak of our friendship when we were traveling together and having fun being single (of course all the while both of us, longing for a relationship and venting about the unsuccessful dates). I remember when she started dating her husband and spending more and more time with him, how I felt betrayed. I wanted to be happy for her. And I was, but I also felt that our lives went from equal to hers being happier and mine being less happy (she gained a boyfriend who was doting on her and not only had I not, but I had also had lost her as my comrade).

I remember me those days. How much I didn’t want to be around my friend, to see her walking next to her tall man, who was kissing and loving on her, her giddy eyes and smile and me wishing I had the same, feeling those unwanted feelings of jealousy, followed immediately by shame and guilt.

So really in avoiding her, I wanted to avoid me, the jealous me, the guilt-ridden me. I wanted to run away from the me that couldn’t be overjoyed for my friend’s romance and her giddiness.

And all these many years later, and watching many more friends giddiness or hearing their stories of adventures with their boyfriends and feeling the same feelings at times, I see that the only choice is to accept me. Because isn’t it true that if I was given a choice, a genie in a bottle that said; you get to pick, you can feel jealous or you can feel happy for her and not feel jealous, pick one! wouldn’t I pick not jealous? yes of course I would. I would in an instant. And yet, the jealousy is here at the moment that I feel it. I can’t get rid of it no matter how much I’d wish it. If I can’t get rid of something no matter how much I hate it and don’t want it, then is it my fault? should I feel guilty for it?

It is interesting that all these years of therapy, learning about different paths of spirituality, mindfulness, and now the work of Byron Katie, just takes me to one truth, more and more, the undeniable truth…. judging me for feeling jealous doesn’t make the jealousy go away. Feeling guilty about it doesn’t make it go away. Feeling ashamed of it, doesn’t make it go away.

On the other hand, what if I loved myself? how would that even look like? What if I imagined opening my arms to the jealous part of me. When I do this visualization, I see that the jealous girl in me, just wants to be loved. That actually the reason she is jealous to begin with is because she thinks she is not loved, that she thinks that her friend walking next to that tall man who is kissing her is eternally loved and lovable and is having a blast and she is not. as opposed to hate, shame and judgment?

I have heard this saying before, you can’t fight darkness, you can only shine a light on it and it is no longer there. Today I was reading the book “A thousand names for joy” and this came up “The darkness, the space that the mind is terrified to enter, is the beginning of all life. it’s the womb of being. Fall in love with it and when you do, it will immediately be taken from you, as you witness the birth of light”

For me, when I imagine opening my arms to the jealous girl in me, the one who wants to feel loved, the one who feels lonely, etc, when I accept her as human and scared and love her, then jealousy is not even there anymore. When I don’t try to make the jealousy go away, but say to it “it’s ok that you are here, you belong, you are loved” then it is not there at that instant, only love is there.

As Rumi says “the wound is where the light enters” When I remember to open my arms to the one I reject, all I find is love. and then I forget again. and then the pain moves me to remember again.

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