On Jealousy

November 20, 2011

I’ve found that jealousy comes when you attach your own self-value to someone else’s behavior—and that’s always asking to be hurt.

There’s a certain distance you have to maintain in a healthy relationship, like a planet orbiting the sun. Get too close and you get burned; get too far away and you freeze. Finding that comfortable space for good interaction without losing yourself in the other person is part of the dance of male and female.

Sometimes you can be closer, or farther away, depending on circumstances. This requires close attention to the relationship, your own feelings, and your partner’s feelings so that you both understand whatever is going on between you.

They say that a relationship is work, but I disagree. A relationship is like a garden that you tend lovingly and gently as you watch it produce plants and eventually fruit. The bigger the plants get, the stronger they are and the less attention they need to stay healthy—and big plants can weather a storm much better than seedlings.

Work comes in relationships when you aren’t attentive and you let weeds sprout up all over the place. Then it’s up to both of you to pull them, together, and if one partner doesn’t want to, that’s where the work gets hard. If you let things go too far outside of your attention, it takes (sometimes painful) energy—from both of you—to bring them back and create the understanding that all else must come from.

Attention (but not obsession!) prevents having to do this painful work later. If someone isn’t worth that kind of attention—if it isn’t a pleasant process for you to tend delicately to your partner—I think that’s a sign of a bad combination of seed and soil.

If you plant your seeds in the right kind of soil, they will grow easily. If you understand your partner, jealousy withers like a weed in the sun.

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