Most people don’t enjoy feeling jealous. Jealousy can feel like a knife piercing our gut. And sometimes it can influence us to say or do things we later regret.
The good news is that (with a little practice) jealousy can be transformed into love, joy, spiritual awakening or other happier emotions; that is, if you are willing to see jealousy as a profound opportunity for growth and awakening.
I have found that when we practice the following Four Pillars of Self Care described below, and practice them on a regular basis, our relationship with jealousy changes dramatically.
It’s important to understand that all four of the pillars need to be given equal weight in our growth process. That’s why I call them pillars. If one or two legs on your dinner table break, the whole table may collapse. But when all four legs are strong, you can set out a full-scale feast.
Practice all four pillars and become that strong table: hold a lot without losing your balance.
Vocabulary.com says: If someone describes you as a pillar of strength, they are saying you’re reliable and supportive, much like a pillar or column of a building that helps hold the structure up. I love this description because it reminds us that when we are well resourced, when our pillars are strong, we can offer love and service to others.
Studies have shown that giving to and serving others is the surest way to happiness. Mark Snyder, a psychologist and head of the Center for the Study of the Individual and Society at the University of Minnesota says:
“People who volunteer tend to have higher self-esteem, psychological well-being, and happiness. All of these things go up as their feelings of social connectedness goes up. It also improves their health and even their longevity.”
But we can’t give unconditionally when we haven’t taken care of own hearts and bodies. Like they tell us on airplanes, we need to put on our own oxygen mask first. Read on to learn how to put on your oxygen mask when it comes to jealousy and relationships.
Pillar #1 is: Asking for What you Want
Relationship & communication coach Marcia Baczynski, founder of AskingForWhatYouWant.com says: Your longings are the keys to unlocking real intimacy, deep connection, hot sex and an authentic life.
It isn’t always easy to speak up for ourselves, Here are some of the things that can get in the way:
- Trying to be polite
- Worry about what others think of us
- Worry about how the other person will respond
- Having been told your voice doesn’t matter
- Fear of abandonment
- Fear of being vulnerable & intimate
It takes courage and persistence not to let our old programming interfere with our birthright to have authentic life. A life that includes deep, fulfilling relationships.
Start with baby steps and make sure your partner will listen and will hold a loving space for you. If your partner consistently laughs at you, denigrates you or is abusive in anyway, they are clearly not a healthy partner.
Don’t hesitate to ask for support to change or leave that relationship. You may also need coaching or counseling to help learn to choose healthier partners.
Yet even a healthy loving partner is not perfect. They may get defensive at first. If they do, talk to them later and explain that when you tell them what you need, you would like them to just listen.
They don’t have to respond except for a simple Thank you for letting me know. Tell them they are welcome to come back later to let you know how it felt for them to hear your desires.
There will most likely be bumps in the road when you start asking for what you want. But with courage and consistency, you’ll become more graceful, more relaxed, more skillful, and you’ll be astonished how much your life will improve!
Pillar #2 is: 100% Self Love and Acceptance
The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely. –Carl Jung
This pillar presents us with a life-long challenge’to love ourselves completely and unconditionally. There are so many ways we judge or criticize ourselves that often we don’t even realize we’re doing it.
Here are a few of them: We call ourselves names in our heads; we feel inferior to others; we spew hatred at our bodies; or we let our insecurities run wild.
But 100% self-love and acceptance mean there is absolutely no room for self-hatred, criticism or denigration. Once we commit to this practice, we may begin to notice more and more ways we haven’t been loving toward ourselves. If this happens, love yourself even more.
The reason why this pillar is so important is that we will never change or grow into the beings we are meant to become until we love ourselves and honor ourselves as the precious souls we are. Remember you are one of a kind. There is and never will be anyone like you. You are here on earth to be the best version of YOU that you can be!
If you notice a pattern of self-hatred in a specific area of your life such as money, career, relationships, or health, take some time alone to contemplate whether it might be a younger part of you who’s been left running the show.
One of my mentors, Francesca Gentile says: Our younger parts do not want to be in charge. They want our adult part to love & accept them– and then let them know they (the adult parts) are in charge. Our younger parts act out when they don’t feel seen and loved.”
If you find it difficult to love yourself–all of yourself–chances are a younger part of yourself is feeling unaccepted, unloved or unseen. Talk to that wounded part of yourself. See if they will tell you how old they are. Then ask them what they need.
Sometimes I find it helpful to journal. You can even try journaling with your non-dominant hand. When you write with the hand you don’t normally use for writing, it taps directly into your subconscious, where those old memories and old limiting beliefs are stored.
In summary, 100% self love involves changing habits: giving up calling yourself negative names, ceasing to nurture feelings of disappointment in yourself, letting go of comparing yourself to others, and eliminating all self-judgment of your body or mind.
Replace these habits with saying nice things to yourself such as:
- I am doing the best I can
- I have a lot of great qualities
- I am a kind and loving person
- My body is amazing the way it carries me and keeps me alive.
You can also give yourself a bubble bath, a self-massage, or a meal out at your favorite restaurant, savoring every bite. A Google search of the phrase how to love yourself will yield countless ideas for this practice.
Pillar #3 is: Having a Passion Hobby
A few of us humans are blessed to have careers and livelihoods that align with our true essence and purpose–famous entertainers and artists, super successful business owners, and the like.
But most of us mere mortals hold down a job, or run a small business to make ends meet, when we would be happier lying on the beach, spending more time time with our children, grandchildren or other beloveds, or taking an exciting trip to an exotic place. That’s why we need a passion hobby.
A passion hobby is something you utterly LOVE to do. For some people, it’s playing music, painting, photography or writing. For others it’s a sport such as windsurfing, rock climbing or kayaking. It could be something as simple as knitting, volunteering at an animal shelter or practicing yoga. It’s that thing that you can never do enough of.
The reason having a passion hobby is so important? When you’re feeling jealous, for any reason, but perhaps especially when your partner has a date on a night when you couldn’t get one, you always have your passion hobby to keep you company.
Be imaginative. If your hobby involves the outdoors and you can’t engage in it at night, spend the evening planning a magical next outing. Set up a group trip with friends. Connect with others who share your hobby. Or share pictures or your journal of your last splendid trip.
Maybe you don’t have a passion hobby right now. If so, make it your passion to discover what that passion is. Try different things, go to Meetups, ask friends what they enjoy–and if they’d invite you along next time!
Imagine a rock climber ascending Half Dome in Yosemite. As she ascends the massive rock with the beautiful valley spread below her, she reaches toward the next hold to pull herself up, getting closer, move-by-move, to the top.
Do you think she might be feeling jealous? Hell no! In that moment, she is wholly engrossed in her passion. She is 100% in the present moment. There is no room for jealousy. She is doing what she loves.
When we have a passion hobby, we are never bored. Any free time that pops up unexpectedly makes us excited to have time to leap back into it.
Pillar #4 is: Practicing the Who Am I? Meditation
We all have the potential to become enlightened, to recognize our Buddha-nature. –The Dalia Lama
Who Am I? is a Zen koan. A Zen koan is a paradox to be meditated upon; it is used to train Zen Buddhist monks to abandon ultimate dependence on reason and to force them into gaining sudden intuitive enlightenment.
Few of us will attain permanent enlightenment in our lifetimes. However, this practice of Who Am I can give us tastes of it.
Mystics see the energy fabric of the world as a tapestry of love.
When did we ask the question Who Am I? we eventually tap into that fabric of love and realize that we are part of it. Logically, that means we are love.
I meditated upon this koan for 3 days once and had a bone vide spiritual experience. I truly knew that I was connected to all things and that everything was beautiful and perfect. That experience lingered for about an hour and then disappeared. But I remember it, and can consciously take myself back to that place when I take the time.
My amazing meta more Joy Chiu wrote: I haven’t read a single book about poly or open relating. For me, love has always been infinite. And the practice of love has ethics built into it. Love is one word and it’s easy to remember.
I am a direct experiencer and love is my guide. I have always trusted love’s wisdom even as my heart has been pierced, shredded & crushed to smithereens. Love itself is what encourages me in my freedom and intimacy in any relationship.
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Practicing the four pillars of jealousy transformation on a regular basis may not prevent you from ever feeling jealous again. However, when you do feel jealous, it will remind you to check the Four Pillars. See if there’s one or more that need attention. Ultimately, you will see jealousy as a divine guide, steering you in the direction of who you are meant to be.