You're Just Jealous. Well, Yes I am

Jan 27, 2022

I’m jealous. It irks me that after all these years of consistently hiking the challenging path of self-development, I still stumble and get hung up with unappealing, downright hopeless feelings. 

But then I remember, and .…I remind myself that I am a human being, and we trip up along our way, especially when we’re adventurous, open-hearted beings, willing to take risks to authentically live our lives.
It just so happens that my small book club is reading Brene Brown’s newest book, “Atlas of the Heart”. 

I’m going to diverge here for a moment and tell you that Brene Brown is one of my heroes. I’ve read multiple times, every single book she’s written.  Her words speak directly to my spirit. She may not be aware of it, but we’re kindred souls. Her writing, research and wisdom have contributed greatly to my spiritual, physical, and emotional healing. But back to her most recent book and the definitions she offers for “envy” and “jealousy”.

“Envy occurs when we want something that another person has.”
“Jealousy is when we fear losing a relationship or a valued part of a relationship that we already have.”

Brene (she’s my soul mate – I’m on a first name basis) goes on to explain that jealousy usually involves three people and that the person who is experiencing the jealous feelings is worried that they may lose the affections of one person because of his relationship with another.
Bingo! It’s right on and there’s no getting around it. I’m jealous! Dammit!

So…my adult son has all kinds of friends, colleagues, and acquaintances. He’s a busy, amazing man and I have always encouraged him to shine his light and to be everything he authentically is. I’m his number one fan, hands down.

Since they were small children, both he and his sister have had a special place in their hearts for older people. I always said that Billy was born a wise old man and felt most comfortable around older folks.  I’m proud that my kids don’t discriminate and value the wisdom, experience and intrigue in their senior friends.

My son and I have always had a very special relationship and one that has shifted to close friendship over time.
However, our friendship has detoured since the pandemic quarantine and we both moved a little further from one another physically and perhaps, emotionally, as well. 

His career has skyrocketed and mine has quieted. Since I now work for him from home, we often talk about business, but our mom/son/friend talk has dwindled, and we seldom see each other. On top of that, in the midst of the political and pandemic uproar, I am transitioning from mid-age to old age – and it’s also an interesting, somewhat challenging process. Our relationship is changing, and I have been feeling disconnected from him.

On the other hand, one of his friendships with an older friend has become much stronger. Their mutual enjoyment of laughter, writing and wine has fed a deep and meaningful alliance. They spend hours each week in thoughtful conversation and writing frenzies. They walk together, ride bicycles, their two families share meals together and they get pedicures together (like he and I used to). 

Slowly and slyly seeping in while I was preoccupied, I didn’t initially notice the jealousy, and not quite ready to take it on, I’m sure I made a few passive-aggressive remarks expecting my son to see what was happening and make amends to me.

It didn’t happen. He’s on his own self-development path and expects me to take responsibility for my own thoughts, actions and….feelings. Damn!

The hard truth is I took this personally and my feelings were hurt tremendously. I felt like the strength of our relationship was threatened and it scared me to death, I deeply value it and didn’t and don’t want to lose it. To justify my painful feelings, I began to create my own false story. Thankfully, that’s a BIG red flag for me.

As a result of this, I stepped way back and analyzed the situation and my feelings towards it, and I discovered I was the one who was out of alignment…and I think I know why.

Over the last ten years I’ve experienced more loss and grief than I ever had. As I get older, I’m aware loss happens more often, and I’ve worked hard to get a grip on it, but it still hurts like hell.   I’m coming to more fully understand “loss” as part of the circle of life, and instead of thinking of it as devastating, I’ve chosen to feel gratitude for the blessings the person, experience or opportunity brought into my life.

But alas, fear still occasionally rears its ugly head, and it did once again. Fear of loss, fear of feeling that take-my-breath-away, heart-wrenching grief and knowing it’s also a part of life.

Lucky for me, I’ve gained some coping skills along the way to help me sort through my own crapola. Before I react to painful, angry or fearful feelings, I reflect on what I’m feeling and why, and that makes a huge difference in how I choose to respond. 

Finally, I’m realizing that these two people – my son and his dear friend have forged a strong friendship…and it’s okay. Matter-of-fact, they often invite me to participate and it warms my heart to see their friendly banter and kinship.

He and I have a deep, loving relationship that will prevail, and I know there’s enough time, kindness, laughter and love to go around. We’ve just got to keep moving forward in love and compassion, the best we can until we can do better.

Jealousy crept back into my life when I thought it was long gone, reminding me to consistently keep tabs on what’s going on in my psyche.

Life gives us what we need and in this season of transition and evolution I received the gift of FEELING insanely human. I AM HUMAN. May I always be aware of my humanness – my light and my shadow – attending to and accepting each without judgement.

There was time in my life, I might have dramatized my feelings a bit more and felt terribly mistreated. But because I listened and stopped myself, reflected on the facts and truth of the matter, I was able to see things with clarity.

I took responsibility for my feelings and am slowly transforming them to be in alignment with the person I choose to be, creating the healthy relationships I deserve and desire. 

As a side effect, this limiting jealousy shadow is no longer an obstacle blocking the positive energy and loving vibes! Instead, it’s catapulted understanding, humility and healing, because we courageously chose to face the shitola and wrestle with it. 

I clearly and calmly communicated my feelings and intentions. Instead of ignoring me or brushing me off, my son stepped up and is encouraging me as I make my way through and in doing so, supporting and developing our dynamic relationship – which means everything to me and is all I needed.

Life is Good and, in the end, Love is all there is!


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