In my younger years I was a very jealous person, I suppose I could laugh about it and say that’s why God gave me green eyes. I definitely suffered from the Green Eyed Monster. I use the term suffer because that’s how it felt. It was painful and all-consuming and made me bitterly unhappy. I assume it stemmed from low self-esteem and insecurity and parents who from time to time would comment on my weight in such a way that made me feel their love was conditional based on my size. Ironically I was a normal size then. Now I am bigger than I would like but am slowly making my way down again.
When my husband and I were first married I put him through an awful time due to my jealousy, although I feel this was heightened by being on the pill which seemed to magnify my emotions. I could not cope with him being with other girls, talking to them, laughing with them. I was convinced there was a hidden agenda. He never, ever gave me a reason not to trust him but I still could not. I recall one particularly embarrassing time we ended up having an argument in church over this matter and I stormed out. How immature I think now. Do you ever look back at moments in your life and just cringe? Jealousy was like a demon sitting on my shoulder whispering malevolent tales into my ear. It made me question everything and doubt his love for me. It was a sorry time for both of us.
Even though we were married and I had so to speak won and he had chosen me, it was not enough. I was convinced he would leave me if a better option came along. This may be rooted in my own Father’s adultery and my parents subsequent divorce. Anyway he could not do right whatever he did.
I knew , really, that he loved me and I was being irrational but couldn’t seem to see a way out of it. There was no magic formula for us. It took great patience on his part combined with huge doses of reassurance and if I’m honest the stability of many years for it to dwindle to a manageable level.
For anyone reading this, hoping for a quick fix, I’m sorry, in my case there wasn’t one. I have given you one example of how jealousy undermined my marriage but before I met my husband and married him, jealousy was a prominent feature in my life. I was jealous of my friends for a myriad of reasons, not just that they might have been prettier or skinnier than me. If they seemed more popular amongst our circle of friends I was jealous. If they got selected over me to sing a certain song at church I was jealous, never mind that their voice may have been better suited for it. I was jealous as well when my friends were friends with other people.
If you’re reading this thinking well you can’t have been very nice company you should know that most times I hid it very well. I knew it was wrong. I tried not to let it take possession of me. A friend of mine once told me when I was broken-hearted over a certain boy dating someone else “Just smile and put a brave face on it and one day you’ll be able to do it for real”. Sage advice I still employ.
It may always be part of my nature to tend to insecurity and jealousy, to feed the old man, as the Bible says. I don’t however have to encourage it.
My title is Why I’ve given up being jealous (almost) and my reason is because I choose not to live that way. I choose not to let it have dominion over me. It’s no way to live.
Other than the worry of wrinkles, growing older is freeing in a way. I realise now there will always be people prettier and thinner than me, more gifted at singing and writing, more talented at life generally. But with age comes wisdom and now I know that other people’s gifts do not come at the expense of my own. I am not worthless. I still count.
Yes, it is an ongoing battle. I still suffer a momentary pang when my friends look better put together than me, I still worry when they spend time with others sometimes but to a far lesser degree.
I realise there is enough of my friends and my husband and my family to go around.
Please don’t allow yourself to be crippled by jealousy like I was. Please don’t sit in a corner feeling insecure and worthless and unliked. Those feelings are lies. You are not worthless, you do matter. You have to make the decision to not allow those feelings heart room. To nip those jealous thoughts in the bud before you are hopelessly green with envy.
Please don’t let jealousy and comparison of self with others steal your joy.
Till next time.