Jealousy has such a bad reputation. The word keeps being associated with all kinds of nasty behaviors. That is not entirely fair, because those are acts motivated by jealousy. Not jealousy itself.
Because jealousy is an emotion. Google the word and what comes up is:
Jealousy is an emotion, and the word typically refers to the thoughts and feelings of insecurity, fear, concern, and anxiety over an anticipated loss or status of something of great personal value, particularly in reference to a human connection. (Wikipedia)
As with any emotion, the important thing is how you deal with and act on it. Recently I have been thinking about what a great thing a little bit of jealousy is for me personally. I will have to confess, it feels delicious. Every time I feel a little pang of jealousy I am reminded what a great personal value I place on my relationship. And even as if fades after a moment, it helps me not take anything for granted and reminds me to let him know how much he is appreciated. I think jealousy is at least party responsible for keeping the butterflies alive.
Now I have found out what a great motivator it is. I gain weight very easily. I spend large parts of my life overweight. Not that I care all that much about what I look like, I think I carry weight well and to be honest I’ve never lacked much attention at any weight. But it’s uncomfortable, I get tired and heartburn when over weight and shopping is a bitch. That’s why I really want to keep under a certain weight. But because it’s more an inconvenience than anything else, I can’t keep myself to an exercise routine unless I build it into my day in ways I can’t get around it. Or at least, that’s what I thought.
Turns out I was wrong. All I needed to keep myself exercising was a little bit of jealousy.
My man is handsome, kind, smart, charming, all of that good stuff. He’s also on the other side of the Atlantic. I’d be lying if I said that didn’t bother me sometimes. I trust him completely to act ethically at all times. But I do consider the distance to be my disadvantage. I have no illusions that I am the only good match for him in existence, no matter what he says. Frankly any woman would have to be dumb not to consider him a good catch as is, but recently he got himself a set of weights and started working out. His looks are only a small part of the package, I know. Lets be honest though, looks are the first thing to catch people’s eye. And with the results of working out he will be catching more eyes than he did before.
So when he told me he started working out, and after my initial lusty daydreams calmed down a little (the things one can do with just a bit more upper body strength…oh my…*fans self*) the thought that sneaked in was “Damn, I need to up my game”. I need to stay competitive. My disadvantage is not something I can solve right now, so I do feel an urge to keep my edge on every other aspect. That feeling is nothing else but a little bit of jealousy.
Whether or not the idea is correct is pretty much irrelevant. The feeling is there. And the feeling has me on my exercise bike for half an hour every day. If I do miss a day, I notice it. But instead of thinking “see, I can’t keep to exercise” and giving up, I think “Hm, better make sure I make time today.” Even better, when I am faced with temptation like chocolate chip cookies, instead of convincing myself I can have a cheat day, I convince myself not to sabotage my hard work. So I eat two instead of five. (Hey, they are chocolate chip cookies. I said I suddenly have motivation, not that I suddenly have iron strong willpower)
My jealousy has nothing at all to do with him. That is about my own fear about my own perceived flaws. I don’t look to be assured. Not only does that not work -if I want my fears to go away I need to do that for myself- but I don’t want to lose this feeling of jealousy. So far it is working out great for me. But I do from time to time confess feeling a little jealous. Because of jealousy’s bad reputation. I worry about feeding it. It’s not a problem now, but could it become a problem in time? I don’t know. I’ve never actually been jealous before. Insecure, yes, but that was of the self-loathing variety. Not this vague worry that comes with the realization that there is nothing you can really do to control the heart and mind of the person you love. That all you can do is be the best person you can be and it’s up to you to be that person.