Self-improvement needs to be banished from my mental dictionary. Self-improvement for me has always been about banishment. I will banish these extra pounds and get a new body, a better, more desirable body. I will banish jealousy from my heart. I will banish fear from my life (which translates into I will avoid everything). Jealousy is not bad. Jealousy is an emotion one that we’ve all experienced in varying degrees. Jealousy can be a devastating/destructive emotion that translates into vile behavior but the emotion itself is not the issue, it’s the behavior. That’s great news because we can’t stop feeling but we can respond differently. We all understand the emotion vs behavior concept intellectually so I am not saying anything revolutionary here and yet most of us are still avoiding and still trying to get rid of those pesky/unwanted emotions.
I believe jealousy has a function, just as sadness teaches us gratitude and compassion, jealousy probably keeps us from getting too complacent in our relationships, it drives us to continue wooing even after we’ve acquired the desired partner. I am actually very jealous which shouldn’t surprise you given how insecure I am! When I say I am jealous that does not mean that I go around punching any girl that gives Sam the once over. I am saying I experience the emotion regularly and in variety of different scenarios not all of which are romantic.
For a long time I thought I am just going to stop being jealous but the result was the opposite. I became more jealous but because of the repression I was blind to my passive aggressive behavior. Deciding to stop having an emotional response that is uncomfortable is pretty much ignorance by definition. The problem with self-improvement and the reason I find it so debilitating is because it encourages us to oust negativity/conflict (whole parts of ourselves) rather than to look at ourselves objectively and compassionately. It also encourages us to label everyone and everything in very black and white terms. Lots of people when starting a diet completely alienate their friends and family. We become obsessed and unbalanced and accuse everyone around us of being a saboteur. You can’t get rid of conflict in your life period.
I am absolutely devastated by the amount of people who end their relationships simply because things aren’t 100% smooth sailing. Whoever told you relationships were easy when you’ve found the right person is an asshole (even if a well-meaning one). Relationships like life, take work and commitment. Sam and I had some obstacles to our getting together like 8000 miles, limited cash, and a controlling/paranoid father (not mine). We could’ve said this wasn’t meant because it is just too complicated/hard but we were willing to fight. When you have found the one everything in your life does not become perfect, you still have shit to deal with unless you drop dead shortly after. Your happiness/sadness is not someone else’s responsibility. You don’t become happy by amputating/modifying parts of your personality and/or physique either. You don’t become happier through acquisitions. Happiness I really think is just about being present and embracing whatever that moment has to offer. It’s about embracing your “youness”.
Sam has some major OCD traits. When we are standing in line at the checkout he is meticulously lining up our groceries so the bar-codes will present in the easiest possible way to the cashier. These traits can very distressing and yet as a computer programmer they are ideal. I have my share of “bad” traits many of which are absolutely essential to my writing. The reality is this if you did manage to ditch your competitiveness you might become lazy and unmotivated. Everything has a purpose. There is no life in perfection if you define perfection as being “static” as “always or never” if you define perfection “of itself so” then we are perfect just the way we are. This doesn’t mean I am amoral (though I think I might be slightly amoral. I am not immoral though.) it just means that I think self-acceptance is about facing your demons head on, once you do that self-improvement kind of takes care of itself.
I felt like I lacked the objectivity and sanity to formulate a decision. I worried that my wishes might bring misfortune to others, that they might be punished for being selfish. I had started to think of the Universe as a hostile/unforgiving place and myself as a mistake. Fear took over completely. I started to think everything was against me. If possible I made myself a little more crazy. The Universe doesn’t judge by human societal standards (does it even judge? Probably not because that would involve an ego). I believe the Universe does provide for us. I need to get my head out of the sand or out of my ass or out of whatever dark orifice it has elected to reside in.
You might be wondering why I wrote this again (didn’t I write something like this before?) it is because I needed to remind myself.