JEALOUS? WHY YOU SHOULD BE AT PEACE WITH YOURSELF BEFORE ENTERING A RELATIONSHIP
I remember my first true encounter with the green-eyed monster known as jealousy. It was summer 2006 and I was one-year strong in my first “mature” relationship. The relationship had been going so well that I was sure I had been living out some Disney fairytale, until this one day, which seemed like any other. I had just gotten home from a job I’d snagged for the summer, I raced to my bedroom to call my Prince Charming whom I hadn’t heard from all day. “Hello,” I said eagerly as soon as I heard him pick up the phone; however, something wasn’t quite right. I heard a female’s laughter in the background. “Who’s that?” I asked twisting my face up, hoping he would say a cousin or relative. “Oh, that’s Shamika, the girl from across the street.” I sat on the other end of the phone silently. My heart sank. I felt like my face was going to crack and I was overcome with an intense feeling that I had a hard time identifying. I’d later come to know this intense and overwhelming feeling as jealousy. My logic told me that there was probably nothing up with this girl from across the street, but my imagination and emotions went running in a completely different direction.
Jealousy is one of those erratic and unreasonable emotions that can transform a fairly mild-mannered woman into a ranting, probing, lurking lunatic. A jealous woman can be like a terrorist to a man in a relationship. You know the deal: checking cell phones, cracking voicemail codes, Facebook passwords, Twitter passwords, cell phone company records, etc. You name it, I’ve done it. Little did I know, jealousy would be a frequent visitor in my relationships.
After my second or third encounter with this feeling, I began to realize that I had a problem. The crazy part is that I knew something about it was off and would’ve traded almost anything to get rid of those feelings. They were practically consuming me. It was as if a “Shamika” had been assigned to every last one of my relationships and just when I thought I had overcome it, the overbearing and suffocating feelings of jealousy would resurface. I would always try to work through it, convinced that this time I would beat this feeling. Each time I failed. I had no peace. After awhile I began to realize that these feelings were stemming from something internal, and if I were to ever truly overcome them, I would have to start addressing the issues that lie within. It was a quest that I would have to take on alone.
Jealousy is defined as an emotion that typically refers to the negative thoughts and feelings of insecurity, fear, and anxiety over an anticipated loss of something that the person values. Jealousy is not to be confused with envy. One thing that took me awhile to realize is that jealousy is never about the other person, it is usually about the individual battling this emotion. You can almost guarantee that when these intense feelings do arise, you can find insecurity somewhere in the background, acting as a puppeteer pulling all of the right strings. Many women tend to hide behind the “Most men are dogs” or “I’ve been done wrong in the past” philosophies to justify their jealous behavior; however, these generalizations do not apply to all men walking the planet.
Once I actually began to look within I received profound revelation. Although outwardly I looked perfectly fine, internally I was a mess. I had deeply-rooted issues with insecurity that I had never truly taken the time to realize were there. As I began to pull back the layers of myself, I found a little girl who had always wished she looked like someone else. Although I had since grown from that awkward little girl into an attractive young woman, I still carried the same feelings and emotions of that young lady. I had to come to terms with the fact that I barely liked myself, so of course it would be hard for me to understand why a man would like or even love me. Then, it all began to click. No wonder why it would drive me crazy for my man to be in the presence of a “Shamika.” Already feeling unworthy of his love and affection, I feared that if he spent enough time in her presence he’d discover some hidden gem within her that he didn’t see in me. What I failed to discover were the hidden gems within myself and how valuable I actually was. That day I made a vow to thoroughly love myself before ever committing to loving another person again, no matter how long it took.
I remember my last encounter with the green-eyed monster known as jealousy. It was summer 2010. A “Shamika” emerged on the scene and I was determined not to be shaken. I had my suspicions about this “Shamika” as always. This time my suspicions were correct. My relationship ended that fall. I remember reflecting on the situation and laughing. My fears had finally come true. A “Shamika” had swooped down and stolen the affections of my man. But guess what? I didn’t die. My heart didn’t stop beating. My life didn’t stop. I picked up the pieces of my brokenheart and continued on. After battling my personal demons of jealousy it dawned on me that he didn’t leave because she was better than me. He left because he was a wanderer and that is what wanderers do. It was in that moment that I realized that jealousy is a wasted emotion, but confidence and the realization of self-worth are the anecdotes. The confidence of knowing that no matter the outcome, remembering that you’ll be alright can and will take you far. A person is going to do what they wish to do regardless, whether you choose to obsess over it is up to you.
If you find yourself battling intense feelings of jealousy you have to ask yourself why. Is it because you have feelings of insecurity or inadequacy? Is it because you’ve had your heart broken in the past? Is it because you place too much value on your relationship as opposed to other things of higher priority in your life? After doing some soul searching, I am sure that you too can find the answer to this question. I’ve kissed jealousy goodbye and so can you.