There are two ways to keep a butterfly in your hand: you can hold onto it real tight so it won’t fly away, which is a contraction that usually kills the butterfly. Or, you can lovingly intoxicate it by putting some sweet honey in the palm of your hand. This approach is an expansion and the butterfly flourishes.
Energetically, jealousy is a contraction. The self-talk with jealousy is: “I’m not good enough. You’re going to leave me for someone who is better than me.” The opposite of jealousy is a consciousness of self-confidence. When we express self-confidence, energetically we’re expanding. The self-talk with self-confidence is: “I’m the best because I’m strong and healthy. If you leave, you loose, because I’m wonderful.”
We can’t control anything or anyone outside of ourselves. We can only control how we react or how we respond to what is going on outside of ourselves. So when something happens, we can either contract or expand. It’s a choice. You might not be aware that there’s a choice, but if you are watchful you can catch yourself choosing to expand or contract. If you’re contracting, your jaw will get tense, you’ll bite down on your teeth, you’ll start holding your breath, your pupils will dilate, and your mind will start racing. You’ll feel stressed. You’ll feel anxious and jealous. On the other hand, if you choose to expand, your heart rate slows down, your breath smoothes out; your mind relaxes and expands. You’ll feel confident. You’ll feel peaceful and loving.
The key here is to be aware of your self-talk and be aware of the pictures you are holding onto in your mind’s eye. By learning to expand at the moment of contraction you can begin to take control of how you’re feeling. You move away from being a victim, where terrible things happen to you and your partners leave you, to being a person who is choosing to know your own value as a loving human being.
I’m not suggesting that this is an easy process, if it was it would be rare to find someone experiencing or living with jealousy. However, if we can choose to be free from jealousy, then we can also choose to be self-confident. My challenge to you is to be watchful. Notice when you’re contracting. Notice your self-talk and what you’re saying to yourself. Notice the pictures you’re holding onto in your mind’s eye. Notice the solutions or the lack of solutions that seem to be present. At that moment of awareness, take a deep breath and expand. Spread your arms out and breathe deeply. Don’t think. Just breathe. Keep taking deep breaths until you relax. Once you start to relax, allow yourself to expand. Allow yourself to stay in this expanded state until you are feeling confident in who you are as a human being. Be aware of what you are saying to your self. Are you saying positive things? Are you celebrating all of your wonderful qualities? What pictures are you seeing in your mind’s eye? Are you seeing your partner lovingly holding you, sharing loving words?
Expand at the moment of contraction. Joy will be there waiting for you.
There is also another part of the jealousy pattern that is interesting. If you are feeling jealous, there is very little I can do to change your feelings, because I can’t change your self-talk. You are the only one who can do that. An old adage goes like this: “Don’t confuse me with the facts, my mind’s made up.” If you think I’m cheating on you, eventually you will get to be right, at least in your own mind. On the other hand, if I’m feeling self-confident, there are things you can do to make me feel insecure. Therefore, one of our jobs in a relationship is to do and say the things that produce security and feelings of love in our partner. Not in an unhealthy co-dependant way, but rather in a loving caring way. It’s important to speak kind words, to lovingly touch and hold our partner, to do things we know our partner likes, to offer gifts, to take time to look into our partner’s eyes and to listen to their concerns. Behavior that demonstrates that we are there for our partner creates an environment where love can flourish.
You might be saying all of this is nice, but what if my partner is seeing someone else, or is saying and doing things that are inappropriate? What do I do then?
If your partner is not treating you the way you feel you deserve to be treated or is having an affair, you have some decisions to make. When I work with a couple, my first direction is to see if the issues in the relationship can be worked out. That often involves setting healthy boundaries, learning how to communicate clearly, and discovering how to create a loving, healthy, long-term relationship. If everyone is willing to do the work, change occurs and the relationship goes through a transformational process. If however, everyone involved doesn’t have a willingness to create a change in the relationship, then ending the relationship, hopefully in a conscious manner, is often the solution.
Jealousy is like holding a butterfly really tight. It can kill any relationship. Find ways to bring more honey into your relationship. If you are giving and receiving the attention, appreciation, loving and nurturing we all desire, your relationship will flourish.