For as long as I can remember, jealousy has been one of the problems that is most prevalent in my daily life. It’s a horrible feeling. When I get jealous, I feel a sickly combination of fear, anger, and anxiety burning in my heart. I hate feeling this way, and it happens much more often than I’m willing to admit.
I felt it when I was four years old, and my first crush told me that he liked another girl more than he liked me. I felt it when my middle school crush decided to pursue another girl in our class because she had bigger boobs than I did. I felt it when I saw my ex boyfriends Facebook messaging other girls sexually/romantically, while we were still in a relationship. I feel it when my parents do nice things for my siblings, even though they deserve it. I feel it when I see pictures of my friends from Guam doing fun things together when I can’t be there. I feel it when I see my new best friends hanging out with other people instead of me.
Sometimes my jealousy is reasonable, but more often than not, it is unreasonable.
Today, I watched one of my closest friends laughing and chatting with one of our newer friends and for a second, I felt a pang of jealousy. I looked at her having fun with someone who wasn’t me and felt threatened. But why? I love my friend and I think she deserves to be happy, all the time. I want the best for her. But when I began to think critically about why I was jealous about something so irrational, I realized what I was truly afraid of.
I was afraid of being abandoned. Over the past few months, I’ve made many new friends, but this particular friend has stuck with me since our first week of college. She’s seen me at my absolute worst and was there to comfort me and listen to me bitch for hours on end about everything. Looking at her being happy with new friends made me worry that she’d like them better than she likes me. Maybe then she wouldn’t want me anymore. Then who would I call to come over to my apartment to talk to? Who would watch scary movies with me? Who would go to Jack in the Box with me late at night when I need comfort food? I care about her so much that just seeing her have fun with other people scares me.
But it isn’t just her I’m afraid of losing. It’s everyone. I get jealous over the tiniest things with everyone in my life, and it’s a problem that has plagued me every day for years.
I may seem like I have my shit together and I might appear happy and sociable, but deep down, I’m very scared. I’m scared people will leave me and find something better. I don’t mean to badmouth/disrespect my family in any way, and I’m really happy with the family I do have as a result of divorce and remarriage. But as a product of a divorced family, I think I will always have deeply rooted abandonment issues. And it’s sad because my jealousy isn’t just about the fear of abandonment by family or romantic partners; it extends to the way I feel about my friends and other parts of my life on a micro level.
There are a few ways through which I can approach my jealousy issues now that I’m more self-aware of its roots. I can continue to let jealousy rule my life and keep living with the fear that the people I love will eventually abandon me for someone else.
Or I can accept that my past is the past. It happened and it’s over. In the present, I know that the people I love care about me and love me for who I am. There’s no rational reason for them to leave me because I make it a point to show them how much I care for them.
But at the same time, I know who I am. I know that I am smart and I am strong and I am worthy of love. And if people decide that they don’t care for me, I can be content knowing that I’ll always have myself, even if (for whatever reason) everyone does leave me.
Self-love is the strongest weapon you can have to combat negative feelings and deep fears. It’s changing my life every day and it’s what keeps me going. I’m beginning to realize how powerful self-love really is and it’s becoming my mission to help everyone else achieve healthy levels of self-love too. And just so you know, to whoever is reading this, you are awesome and deserving of love too.