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I took a deep breath, gathered all my forces, looked into her eyes, and spilled it all out.
“I feel insecure, vulnerable and damn jealous—and helpless. And I love you.”
It was probably the first time that I managed to express my jealousy, my helplessness and my love, all at once, without trying to fight or run away. My heart felt brittle and vulnerable—and after saying those words, as she silently reached out and embraced me, it cracked open.
Fear, insecurity, jealousy…all melted away in pure surrender and love.
Yes, jealousy is one annoying little bastard; and yet it hides, hidden in the core of it, a beautiful possibility of surrendering into love. But to access this sweet secret, we must use jealousy to our advantage instead of succumbing to its dictatorship.
Our reactions under intense jealousy normally fall into one of two categories. The first one is a compulsive desire to see our partner, ask dozens of questions, demand promises, and expect apologies. We may want to meet our partners as soon as possible and never let them go, for fear that they won’t come back.
Our heart is brittle and vulnerable, and we try to mend it through external reassurance and validation.
The second typical reaction is exactly the opposite: we become distant and cold. If we meet our lover, we try talking to them rationally and from a distance. We don’t want to be touched, let alone be affectionate or sexual, until the jealousy attack has subsided. Our heart, of course, is still brittle and vulnerable, but this time we try to protect it by putting an armor of ice around it.
None of these two strategies is known to be very effective, but they feel so natural. They arise in us almost like instinctual responses, that we can hardly control. We could be tempted to say that “this is how it works:” we can’t help reacting to jealousy in one of these two ways, or a combination of both.
Well, I beg to disagree.
There is a third option, and in consists in not becoming cold and distant, nor obsessive and suffocating, but showing ourselves in all our beautiful vulnerability (or vulnerable beauty!).
Through total transparency and vulnerability, we can use jealousy as a springboard to access a space of complete love and tranquility. This is because, if there is one good thing about jealousy, it is that it makes our hearts vulnerable and brittle. And when our heart is brittle, we are only one step away from accessing a place of complete love, surrender and serenity—by cracking our heart even more open.
It’s not easy, but not that difficult either. We just need to enter into this feeling of surrender—to embrace the realization that, in this particular moment, we are like puppets in the throes of something stronger than us. This doesn’t mean that we should live all of our lives being constantly tossed about by emotions. Yet, when a particularly strong emotion manifests, surrendering to it can bring us to a beautiful place of stillness.
In moments of intense jealousy, we are on the brink of total helplessness. Helplessness isn’t always bad: if we can surrender fully into it, we may find a space of pure, pristine love. We may discover that the superficial message of jealousy, that our partner has an enormous power over us, isn’t actually true. It is love itself that has complete power over us!
On a practical level, here is how we can do it: wait for a moment in which we and our partners are close and connected, and then share with them the full contents of our heart. Express our jealousy, insecurity, vulnerability—but also our love and appreciation. Reveal that we feel completely open, vulnerable and helpless before love. Declare that we are ready for anything—ready to be taken wherever love wants to take us. In that moment, it doesn’t really matter so much whether things develop in one direction or another, whether our partner ends up leaving us or not.
The discovery of a throbbing, vibrant, pulsating core within ourselves is a deep, personal experience that will stay with us forever.
Yes, jealousy hurts, and we all should learn how not to succumb to it. But jealousy can also be a doorway that we can enter so deeply into, it becomes almost impersonal. What matters, then, is not what our partner is or isn’t doing, but rather the intense feeling of vulnerability and helplessness that can lead us into the experience of boundless love.
Jealousy, then, can become the beginning of a personal journey into surrender.
Author: Raffaello Manacorda
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: Nadia Morgan/Flickr