Jealousy is a great opportunity to learn what exactly one is afraid of, how to communicate that fear to one’s partner, and how to work together to conquer the fear. The jealous partner could spend some time alone - in meditation, with a journal, some soothing (or raging if preferable) music - to examine the particular fears which define this feeling. Write them down, as a list, in sentence form, or otherwise just name them consciously in your head. Then, do some more hard work: speak them aloud to your partner. ”I am afraid that [this] will happen" or "I think you’ll do [this] and I’ll feel [that].” When addressing the fears raised, determine together if each fear is indeed rational or irrational. This is why naming your fears by speaking them aloud is so helpful. It enables you to separate yourself from them momentarily and get two outside perspectives (your own and your partner’s). Once the rationality is determined, one of two outcomes results. Either one of you works to change your own perspective over time with assurances from your partner that the fear is irrational; or one of you works to change your own behavior as quickly as possible with assistance from your partner because the fear is rational.
Jealousy is just a type of fear. When avoided, or left unresolved (as is sometimes the case with monogamy) such a conflicted feeling will often grow. But when faced and resolved (as can be the case with all lovestyles), especially as a team, such an emotion doesn’t need to be thought about or reacted to in fear, and it can instead be communicated about and responded to with love.
This is a process, however, not a one-and-done type of thing. You’re not going to resolve all conflicts and reassure all jealous feelings in one shot, with one tough little chat. This is an ongoing conversation, that will get easier to initiate and endure, that will change topics, and that will become second nature over time.
I’m referring to a most talented, creative, compassionate, and all-around-awesome human being by the name of Ashley Smith. She’s not just any incredible photojournalist… she’s also agreed to be my wedding photographer.
I suppose it helps that my wedding’s gonna be one of her most interesting gigs. There will be an outdoor handfasting with rainbow-hued ceremonial threads, poetic words of wisdom (and physical gifts!) from the elements of air, fire, water, earth and spirit - in addition to our family and friends; not to mention a fire-spinning officiant, LED-hooping bride, and piano-playing groom.
Here’s another slice of virtual life from Facebook … shared with permission by those who are named (initials for those who did not respond to my request for their blessings)
Ashley The problem is not that there is nothing to do. It is the effort of sorting through the infinite possibilities to find something truly worth doing that can lead us to be overwhelmed and confused. At these points we must not retreat again into idleness, but seek and actualize our potential.
D amen sister, damn!
A Omg exactly. Sometimes it results in me doing nothing.
Ashley That’s what I’m getting at! And it’s something I’d like to help prevent, for myself and for other people.
Just know that you are a beautiful human being, with infinite potential, and the way you spend your days has an unfathomable impact on… the world. Even if you’re only concerned with your own personal world, there are so many possibilities for personal growth… and they’re all a hell of a lot more fun than doing nothing. I can attest to that.
Pollyanna In short: when you can’t decide what to do, do something, rather than nothing.
Ashley Yes, exactly ^
Troy well said. What does it mean to seek and actualize potential? perhaps… At these points we must not retreat into idleness, but venture into the uncertainty of choosing, despite the lack of assurance that we’ve made the best choice.
Ashley Now, one could argue that idleness is, in fact a choice. And sure, it is, but mostly when I become idle I just get frustrated and antsy. I don’t do anything of benefit for myself or others, and I wouldn’t call that the best choice in any situation.
Pollyanna Good point, Troy. Instead of looking at is as too many choices to decide which ones you do, just pick which ONE you’ll do FIRST.
Pollyanna There are a few occasions when I choose to be physically idle, physically, but also simultaneously employ some mental exercises, emotional flexibility, and/or spiritual agility.
Troy I do believe that idleness is very important, rejuvenating and worthy for its own sake. But only when done guilt-free. It’s the “deer in headlights” idleness that its best to avoid. That’s what creates the big hole in the bucket that the value of guilt-free idleness slips out of.
Dear Reader, what do YOU think of idleness? How do you idle, and how do you run?
This link had a paragraph that defined exactly why I do want to talk about race. An excerpt of that paragraph reads:
"There needs to be discussion among people who think of themselves as white. They need to unpack that language, that history, that social position and see what it really offers them, and what it takes away from them.
So I posted the link on my Facebook page and a brief conversation ensued between me and another “white” woman. It’s not much, but it’s a start…
Her: I wonder if we will ever see racism end; I really think all races need to make an effort; if everyone wants to be treated equally, they have to be a part of society; I think sometimes, some folks see our society as “white” so they purposely… try to destroy things, and use the excuse that they aren’t a part of society; we all make up society, and should not be judged on the color of our skin, or gender, or religion, etc. Everyone needs to work together for this goal , so we have to move past the complaining and know there are people that believe in treating others fairly, and yes, some of them are white!!
Me: I wonder the same. I don’t know what you’re referring to re: those who “purposely try to destroy things” but I am certainly trying to do my part to destroy the current perspective that any person is more worthy of peace and happine…ss than another based on biology, psychology, spirituality, nationality, intellect, politics, etc. I’m gonna keep complaining until I’ve got nothing to complain about - that’ll likely be when the rest of the world treats everyone as fairly as you and I do.
Her: Sorry; I was referring to people going around destroying property, including where they live; just not giving a crap! Although, I feel that this could be more related to drugs and crime. I’m just saying that we all have to make an effort to end racism; it can’t be up to just one race!!
Me: Agreed - we definitely need to work together. However, I think as members of the “preferred” race, that puts the onus on us to work on ourselves first (as you and I obviously do) in order to show others how we do that so they can start doing it for themselves. So the goal would be for us to work independently, together.
This week I enjoyed an especially salacious “one-handed read” featuring a sort of MMF threesome in the Aug/Sept 2011 issue of Bust magazine (pick up a copy and check it out) and then tonight I read this online:
Having identified as mostly gay myself once, I was quite intrigued with the article’s reference to men being mostly straight. My sexuality has fluctuated all over the Kinsey Scale through the years (hence my coining the term flexuality).
I’ve been single and asexual, monogamous and straight, polyamorous and bisexual, partially open and mostly gay, I’ve even briefly been a very bad lesbian (who knew that’d be when I’d happen to meet and love a a number of male friends?).
Not everyone’s flexuality is so flexible - and that’s the beauty of such human complexity. Some people may only ever happily transition from asexual children to monogamous heterosexual adults. And that single transition is just as valid and acceptable as a plethora of transitions by another person. We are dynamic living beings, not static impersonal things.
Human beings, not human’s been. Keep being you, cause nobody’s better at that than you!
…A good friend doesn’t consider your friendship with him(r) belittled because you have other friends, does (s)he? No; (s)he recognizes that you connect with all your friends on different levels for different reasons and find outlet for the expression of different levels of your personality. Why should the same not go for lovers?
Jealousy needlessly turns love—one of the freest emotions in existence—into a zero–sum game. We can overcome this, and return love to its natural win–win–win–win state.
While reading an article about jealousy, I found my ire rising when I read a couple ridiculously incorrect and misleading statements contained therein. I realized that jealousy and self-esteem do not mean what Maura (the author) thinks they mean, and I want to help her out.
Incorrect quote #1. “Jealousy is a very normal, human reaction to situations in which we feel like we’re being ignored or usurped”
Jealousy is not a reaction - it’s an emotion. The emotion of jealousy is normal and may be healthy to experience - however reacting to that emotion before processing it into rational thought may be normal, but it is also unhealthy.
Emotionally intelligent and psychologically healthy human beings understand that there is a clear separation between the heart (emotions), the head (thoughts), and the body (actions). To confuse one with another, as in this case where Maura mistakes an emotion for an action, could indicate a deficiency in emotional intelligence and mental health.
Don’t make the same mistake - learn the difference. And that’s the thing - emotional intelligence and psychological health can be taught, if you want to be the student. One of the many books that helped me learn healthy relationship skills (for relationships with myself and others) was How To Be An Adult In Relationships by David Richo.
Nobody can control their emotions, but you can learn how to
It can be difficult to
Misleading quote #2. “Self-esteem increases when others like us, and decreases when they don’t”
According to Wikipedia, “Self-esteem is a term used in psychology to reflect a person’s overall evaluation or appraisal of his or her own worth.” It is clear that self-esteem, by very definition, is the esteem one has for oneself.
Healthy self-esteem is affected only by one’s perception of oneself, NOT by another’s perception of oneself. If your self-esteem is increased when others like you and decreased when others do not like you, then you do not have a healthy sense of self-esteem. Alternatively, when someone praises or chides you, it’s your pride and humility which fluctuate.
Don’t worry, I’ve got more good news: self-esteem is a learned skill. Usually this is imparted to us by our parents through the formative years when they raise us. Problem is, many parents don’t have a healthy sense of self-esteem either, and therefore may not be the most effective teachers of this valuable life-lesson throughout our childhood.
As an adult, I learned a lot about how to increase self-esteem by actively forging, fostering, and fueling my only guaranteed life-long relationship: the one I have with myself. That process was most intense in my mid-twenties when my five-year relationship with the man I thought would become my husband and our future child’s father confessed that he no longer (never?) believed in the institution of marriage and did not want to be a parent.
My esteem for him dropped immensely in those days, and conversely shot up for myself. No matter how much I loved him, I was forced to accept that our life goals simply did not match, and there was no compromise to be found which could salvage our relationship. So we broke up and I started dating myself.
During that period, I kept a folder with me at all times, started reading self-help books, and did a lot of healing andgrowth rituals. The folder contained a list of my short-term and long-term personal goals, my financial information (I moved out of the apartment we shared), and random love notes to myself. The rituals included formally ending connections with my ex so as not to be affected by him, shifting my focus to self-love (yes, I masturbated – and I highly recommend it as a healing tool), and committing myself to myself. In short, I gave myself closure because I understood I certainly wasn’t going to get it from him. That’s an internal thing, like self-esteem, and can’t be obtained from external sources.
Some or all of the following self-help and psychology books helped steer my path:
Prosperity Pie – How to Relax About Money and Everything Else by SARK
All About Me. The Story of Your Life – A Unique Question & Answer Book by Philipp Keel
The Power of Your Other Hand – A course in channeling the inner wisdom of the right brain by Lucia Capacchione, Ph.D.
The Art of Happiness – A Handbook for Living by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler, M.D.