Yes. I said it. Jealousy. It’s that sharp pang that runs through your body and can feel like it’s physically swallowing you.
Your friend meets someone amazing just after you’ve gone through a heartbreak.
Your favorite work BFF gets that promotion you have been desiring.
An ex finally did the thing they said they’d do but they did it with another partner.
You want to be happy, you try to act happy, but inside you are slowly coming undone. This is because jealousy stems from longing and desire. You are having a visceral reaction because your body is giving you information.
Jealousy points you in the direction of the thing that you desire. We have been conditioned to believe that it is one of those ‘bad’ or ‘negative’ emotions. But the truth is, jealousy, along with all of the feels, is natural. There is no moral indictment that comes with this emotion. You are not a bad person or a bad friend for feeling this feeling.
The emotion itself is not ‘bad,’ rather it is the meaning that we assign to it that can cause a lot of pain. Our brains are very complicated and love patterns. A feeling is a response of your brain’s perception of an emotion and the meaning it assigns. Feelings are shaped by personal experiences, beliefs, memories, and thoughts linked to that particular emotion. The meaning we naturally assign is something we do not necessarily choose. However, the beauty of being conscious of our thoughts and emotions and meeting them with curiosity, objectivity, and kindness, is that we get to assign new meaning to it rather than simply going with our default.
Okay okay, so how can we embrace jealousy?
1. Rather than resist or shame, allow yourself to be honest and really feel it. Invite yourself to not think, judge, or immediately force it away. Take a moment, breath in, and feel what you need to feel.
2. Meet it with curiosity and compassion. What is this feeling showing you? What deep desire or longing is it highlighting?
3. Rewrite the narrative and meet yourself with kindness. Kindness is an anchor when our inner critic wants to take the stories that we write about the feeling and run. Kindness toward self is what can bring you back to yourself.
A great starting point for meeting yourself with compassion and rewriting the story you’re telling is to imagine how you would talk to your best friend or what someone would tell you in the bathroom of a club (you know when we could go to them) around midnight. Truthfully, there is not a more encouraging environment than a women’s restroom of a bar or club past 11:00pm. Anyway, I digress. Kindness toward self is rewriting the painful story you have about that emotion.
For example, my best friend found love. I may think to myself, “they’re skinnier, seem more together than me, have longer hair, are more successful… I must have to lose weight, be more put together, grow my hair, or become more successful to fall in love.” The list can go on.
Jealousy can place us in this state of lack, which is why rewriting the story is so important.
Instead, we could try writing a conscious story. For example, “my friend finding love has shown me that I am in a time in my life where this is a legitimate desire of mine. I desire this and that desire is beautiful. I am lovable and my time is coming. There is more than enough love to go around.”
Does this feel kind of cheesy? Yes. But does telling yourself you could have this love IF you lost weight, grew your hair, or got that promotion feel any better? These are all our ego’s way of trying to take control. The reality is that the fulfillment we are looking for is within ourselves. The peace we are looking for comes from these raw, intimate moments with ourselves.
4. And finally- once you have sat with it for a bit and digested the information it’s showing you- how can you make space for this longing of yours that jealousy has highlighted? This is the part where you now have capacity to make room for all that love. If you do not take a step back but instead go with the meaning that is assigned to the emotion in your brain, it can cause a reaction from a place of pain rather than love.
I have personally felt shame for feeling jealousy and then reacted from that shame in a way that I was not proud of. Please take a second and give yourself some grace, because this emotion is a tricky sucker if you’re not conscious of it. We are humans on a journey and we are figuring all of this out as we go. When we process jealousy with curiosity and compassion, we make room for love by loving ourselves well. This is definitely a practice and meant to be an act of self love.
This is the best kind of love. This is the love that makes all the other love so much richer. Self love is not a destination but a journey. It’s not linear. One day we may love the hell out of ourselves and then the next be annoyed AF with ourselves. It is all a part of life.
The important thing is working through jealousy, which makes more space to welcome love in. Cheers to you on this journey. You are not alone. We are in this together.