Transforming the Energy of Jealousy
The energy of jealousy may be our greatest untapped resource for infusing our relationships with passion and excitement. When you learn how to approach and channel that energy through love instead of through fear, jealousy has the potential to contribute to your relationship in ways you may never have imagined.
TRANSFORMING JEALOUSY INTO APPRECIATION
We can only fully appreciate the gift of having someone in our lives when we completely grasp the reality that we could lose them in an instant—with no warning and no opportunity to say good-bye. Although we all know this on some level, most of us seldom think about it. We’re with our partner so much that it can be easy to slip into the habit of no longer seeing them as the lovable human being we once knew them to be.
One powerful way to maintain your appreciation for your partner is to intentionally focus on what life would be like if he or she weren’t there. Take a moment to contemplate the loss you’d feel if your loved one were suddenly taken from you. Imagine getting the phone call and hearing the voice tell you that your partner has been in a serious accident and has just died. See this all as happening right now.
Now think back to any ways in which you’ve taken your partner for granted. This could be as simple as not noticing the everyday things they do for you or complaining or feeling disappointment about the way they do them. Then imagine how you would feel if he or she had really just died and how your life would unfold from this point forward. Make your mental images as realistic as possible, all the while feeling for the depth of your love for this incredible human being and all you’ve shared together.
This visualization quickly strips away the unimportant details of your relationship—the resentments, the expectations, and the other stuff that’s accumulated between you—and leaves you with the essence of your connection. Through this practice, you will cultivate gratitude for your relationship and be less likely to waste the opportunities you have right now. This is especially true when you realize that this visualization will give you only a hint of what it would really be like to lose your loved one.
Knowing that visualization is a powerful practice for manifesting our desires, some people fear that imagining the worst will eventually bring it about. In this visualization, though, note that your focus is not on manifesting particular experiences or possessions. Your focus is on raising your awareness and appreciation of what you already have, so appreciation is what you will manifest.
Use this visualization to transform your experience of jealousy into one of gratitude. When you feel jealousy coming on, rather than feeding it with more jealousy-producing thoughts, focus on your visualization. Put your attention on your feelings of appreciation for having this human being in your life. Get in touch with how deeply you love this person and with how much this relationship deserves to be cherished.
Sharon and Daniel have been married for three years. Daniel’s daughter, Emma, attends high school in a neighboring state. Daniel sees his daughter frequently, typically making the two-hundred-mile drive on Friday and returning late Saturday. At first Sharon was jealous about these trips. She intensified her feelings with thoughts like “He always puts Emma first. He only spends Saturdays with me if she has something else to do.”
When Sharon decided that she wanted to let go of her jealousy over this issue, she made a promise to herself that every time these feelings started up, she would focus instead on all the things she loved about her husband. Because she knew she wouldn’t be having children with Daniel, she also used this opportunity to appreciate his “daddy” side. She’d think about what a loving father he was and how happy he was when he spent time with his daughter. In addition, she would contemplate what her life would be like without Daniel in it.
Sharon finds this approach very effective. “I feel so much love for Daniel when he’s visiting his daughter now. It’s infinitely better than spending the time feeling neglected and upset!”
CHANNELING JEALOUSY INTO DESIRE
We can also transform the energy of jealousy by using it to increase the passion and desire in our relationship. When we’re faced with something we believe is threatening—like the thought that our partner will leave us for someone else—our body responds by flooding our bloodstream with adrenaline. The heightened state of alertness this hormone puts us into is similar to the state of sexual arousal.
With practice, we can learn to reinterpret the rush of adrenaline that’s generated by jealousy as excitement and have it be a reminder of the passion that’s underneath.
Eric likes to use the idea that someone else finds his partner attractive to connect with his own attraction to her. “When a guy’s paying attention to my girlfriend and I start to feel jealous,” he says, “I take another look at her, like it’s the first time, and try to see and feel what he’s seeing and feeling.”
If you get good at this, a little bit of jealousy might even become something you look forward to. “I like being reminded what an interesting and sexy woman she is,” Eric says. Juliana practices turning jealousy into desire when she’s out with her boyfriend. “When I let myself experience the jealousy that comes up when he’s talking to another girl, I can feel my desire for him too.” Bryan, a wedding photographer, has a similar perspective. “When someone has an interest in my lover, it makes me see him in a new way, and I want to step it up.”
Lauri, the ballroom dancer, has found another way to channel jealousy into desire. “I realized the comparison game just wasn’t one I could win. So instead of being threatened by other women’s beauty, I decided to be inspired by it—to enjoy it myself. I would think, ‘Wow. She’s beautiful. No wonder my partner likes looking at her. I like looking at her too!’”
APPROACHING JEALOUSY AS A HEALING OPPORTUNITY
In a truly connected relationship, jealousy provides an opportunity to participate in one of the most profound healing experiences possible.
Remember, jealous feelings are an automatic response to thoughts of comparison, inferiority, or inadequacy: “You think she’s prettier than I am.” “If I were enough for you, you wouldn’t need to flirt with anyone else.” Thoughts like these make us feel threatened, even when in our hearts we know we’re not. Any jealousy that arises in us is an indication that we are still holding onto insecurities and limiting beliefs about ourselves.
Transforming those beliefs with the assistance of a loving, supportive partner is an especially intimate experience. Situations that draw out our jealous feelings are exactly what we need to identify and release our limiting beliefs.
Craig and Samantha know firsthand about the profound healing that comes through dissolving insecurity and jealousy in the safe space of a loving relationship. Craig is a natural flirt. For the first five years of their marriage, Samantha says, “I wasn’t comfortable with that, but I knew it wouldn’t be good for our relationship to try and change him.”
Then the couple was introduced to the idea that Craig’s naturally flirtatious behavior could offer Samantha an opportunity to heal her insecurities. Though apprehensive, she was willing to try it out.
“The next time it came up was at a friend’s house,” she says, “when Craig ran into a woman he knew from college. Soon they were talking about all their old friends, and the jealousy came on strong. I immediately started paying attention to what I was thinking.”
Samantha identified several thoughts that were triggering her insecurity: “She’s cuter than I am.” “Did they have sex?” “Is she interested in him?”
Later, at home, she shared her thoughts with Craig.
“What we realized,” he says, “was that Samantha still had doubts about the strength of our connection.”
Craig responded to this discovery by putting into words exactly what he felt made their marriage so special.
“I reassured Samantha that she is beautiful, sexy, and very important to me. I told her that while I did have a sexual relationship with Claire and still find her attractive, I have no interest in gambling on another relationship when I have such an incredible one already.” The couple then created a replacement belief for Samantha to use whenever she found herself feeling insecure: “Craig loves this incredible relationship we have.”
“This reminder really helps me let go of my jealousy when it comes up,” Samantha says. “When I use it, I immediately feel close to Craig again.”
Excerpted with permission from The Soulmate Experience: A Practical Guide to Creating Extraordinary Relationships by Mali Apple and Joe Dunn.
Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.