Whenever I encounter a less than comfortable emotion, and I want to squirm away from it and move on to something lighter and easier, I remember an excerpt from the book Tuesdays with Morrie.
It’s the part where he speaks about the importance of being within an emotion. Taking it on like your favorite flannel shirt—the one with patches on top of patches, and being present within it. Without rushing to fix it, shift it, or get rid of it.
“Turn on the faucet. Wash yourself with the emotion. It won’t hurt you. It will only help. If you let the fear inside, if you pull it on like a familiar shirt, then you can say to yourself, ‘Alright, it’s just fear, I don’t have to let it control me. I see it for what it is.’
“Same for loneliness: you let go, let the tears flow, feel it completely—but eventually be able to say, ‘Alright, that was my moment with loneliness. I’m not afraid of feeling lonely, but now I’m going to put that loneliness aside and know that there are other emotions in the world, and I’m going to experience them as well.”
~ Morrie Schwartz and Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie
That being said, we don’t have to stay here. We can experience an emotion, see how it serves us positively and negatively, and then let it wash away. It’s almost as if our emotions are our nanosecond soul mates and lovers, showing up to teach us, and then carrying on their way.
But there is truth to Morrie’s words: we must feel it all first.
And not half ass, kind of, one arm in the shirt feel it.
I have danced with jealousy. Most people have encountered her within their life. She has called to me countless times, enticing me to dive in, to follow her into a labyrinth and leave my power behind me.
When we engage in jealousy within our relationships or on our own, we are momentarily handing over our power.
Jealousy is seeing something, perhaps a trait in someone we wickedly admire—and instead of openly acknowledging our admiration for someone’s brilliance, choosing to go to a place of smallness.
We may hear someone contribute something brilliant to a discussion at work, or be present for a woman to crack a funny joke and make our lover laugh and immediately feel fear. Is that person more brilliant, funny, beautiful than me? Why didn’t I think of that? Are they smarter than me? Would my lover be happier with them?
When we are jealous, instead of looking at that person who raised their hands and contributed, and saying, “Wow, that was awesome,” and not allowing it to go any further, not allowing it to take an inch of our power—we do. We let it invisibly take something away from our own brilliance.
We see the woman making our lover laugh and instead of hearing her joke and laughing alongside, we feel frozen in fear. We worry there is a better mate for our partner, and let our power run away with its tail between its legs.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
~ Marianne Williamson
So how do we play big with jealousy?
We walk up to that sucker and make friends with it. We ask that flexible-like-Play-Doh yoga goddess in our class we silently resent if she wants to go for coffee sometime. We walk up to the coworker who made the brilliant contribution and tell her how incredible her input was and ask where she came up with it. We laugh warmly at the joke making our lover keel over in giggles and feel grateful that this woman just made his heart lighter.
Jealousy is a valuable teacher. She shows up with things we admire and gives us an opportunity to lean into them, discover them for ourselves. She gives us the chance to stand bigger, taller and deeper into our power by playing big within the moments she creeps in.
We are mirrors for the world. If we choose to exist from a place of fear, of insecurity, of jealousy and smallness—not owning our magnificence, we will walk through the world and see this everywhere. It will dominate our interactions and relationships, making it impossible for truth and love to seep through.
I have created distance and ended relationships with wonderful, loving men who were enamored with me because my own fear manifested into make-believe situations. There are men who have thought the sun shone from my ass, but I didn’t see their love or affection—all I saw was my own shit. My own fear, staring me in the face and blocking the truth, and love’s ability to seep in.
By being jealous you are withholding the person you love’s ability to grow, expand and flourish. You are taking away the chance for their soul to stretch within interactions and connections with people who stumble upon their journey—limiting their growth and brilliance.
This next bit might sound crazy, but I implore you to take your hands stubbornly off your eyes and ears and hear me with compassion when I say:
if the person you are with crosses soul paths with another and feels a magnetic pull and connection, there is a good chance they will leave you.
I say this to disintegrate that unnecessary fear building up within your chest at times. I speak this to the part of you that builds a web of stories—I want to nip your insecurity in the bud like it deserves and allow you to shine bright.
You are worthy of a love that isn’t ruled by fear, jealousy or insecurity. You are worthy of someone wanting just you. You have it all inside of that beautiful red beating heart in your chest, right now.
It is a fact of life that we have multiple soul mates that we walk hand in hand upon this planet with, sometimes for long delicious stretches and sometimes only momentarily. They all stretch us so wide and give us more space to love further and deeper. I’ve met some of mine, you probably have too.
You cannot suppress the inevitable, there is a chance the person you are with will not be your “forever,” or “the one.” But, they are the one right now. The one you get to share your juicy soul with and love relentlessly. So be present—be there.
Make peace with the fact you don’t hold the reins to anyone’s heart…sometimes, not even your own. It is impossible, and exhausting, for you to clench fearfully to another’s heart in the hopes they will stay forever.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Travis May
Photo: Pixoto/ Eugene Goldin