Welcome to the February newsletter.
February, the month perhaps most associated with love, hearts and flowers. I don’t know about you, but I hate Valentine’s Day! It sets all of us up for either disappointment and/or failure. Seriously, how can anyone live up to the advertising that we are subjected to regarding Valentine’s Day? When did love and how much money someone spends on you start to mean the same thing? The ad exec who came up with “a diamond is forever” certainly deserved a huge bonus that year. Unfortunately, knowing this consciously and intellectually doesn’t change the fact that emotionally and internally we are being set up for disappointment or failure.
Enough of my venting, here’s some information about the history of Valentine’s Day and its patron saint, all of which is shrouded in mystery. Valentine's Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. Who was Saint Valentine and how did he become associated with this ancient rite? The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred.
One story is that Valentine was a priest during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Claudius discovered that Valentine was doing this, he ordered that he be put to death.
According to another legend, Valentine actually sent the first 'valentine' greeting himself. It is believed that Valentine, while in prison, fell in love with a young girl who may have been his jailor's daughter and who visited him during his imprisonment. Before his execution, he is supposed to have written her a letter, which he signed “From your Valentine,” still used today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legend is a bit cloudy, the stories emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic, and romantic figure. By the Middle Ages, Valentine had become one of the most popular saints in England and France.
Love, Jealousy and Relationships
By Linda Simmon
Relationships, love and in particular jealousy, presents each of us with an opportunity to better understand ourselves. Jealousy is most often the result of attachment and expectations, beliefs, projections, delusions, envy, guilt and low of self-esteem.
What do you do when you're jealous? You may try to find out if your lover has been with someone else. If he or she has, you might go into a rage. It is a fairly common and immediate response. You are angry. You feel violated. You want revenge. You want to stop what is happening, control the situation, and manipulate whatever you can to protect yourself.
If you can cool down, if you can control this internal, knee jerk reaction that accompanies jealousy, you just might discover that you have a more positive alternative. Often, what feels like jealousy really is a lack of communication. When we leave our needs unspoken, they can lie in wait like a crouching tiger until someone, something or some event exposes them. It is essential to communicate very clearly and explicitly with your partner about your needs and expectations.
A good first step is to clarify to yourself and your partner what you want in the relationship.
How each of you perceives the relationship will affect it from the very beginning. If you both want to create a safe and secure relationship, there is the risk that you may both tend to conceal anything that might rock the boat. Many couples gradually smother themselves in compromises, unexpressed needs and desires, and lack of open and free communication all because they think they are protecting the relationship. Positive Love energy cannot survive in this type of suffocating environment and any eroticism that the relationship may have had will gradually be destroyed.
It is also important to understand the distinct difference between loving and being attached. It is an important distinction because so frequently what we call love is really attachment.
Loving someone means loving the uniqueness of that person. Attachment is something quite different. You can love your partner and want to see them thrive, enjoy, and grow. You want to see them become more of who they are, no matter what that entails. That's the truth of love. It is what some might call unconditional love. On the other hand, you may want to make your partner conform to a preconceived idea of what you think they should be or perhaps to what is convenient or comfortable for you. That is Attachment. This is a distinction that needs to be understood before you can understand your relationship or what needs to be done.
If your relationship is based on Attachment, you will quickly discover and experience the pain of jealousy. When strong emotions rise, it is an indication that the subconscious has recognized an opportunity to resolve an issue. What you focus on, what you think, is what you get. Our life, our surroundings and the people around us mirror what is going on inside us. If you are angry, you will find yourself living in an angry world. You will see the anger in all the people around you and you will feel it. Perhaps in your situation it isn’t anger, but depression or fear or jealously. What you focus on is what you get. Wouldn’t it be far more enjoyable to feel and focus on joy, happiness, fulfillment and love?
Mirrors are a good thing because they give us an opportunity to really observe what is going on in ourselves and take care of it. Unfortunately, one of the most common and ineffective ways in which we attempt to deal with jealousy is by trying to “control” our partner. Whatever illusions you may have as to who is to blame or who is at fault, the jealousy is within you, a mirror of what is going on inside you.
Attempting to manipulate and control your lover is a poor solution. Manipulation of your partner is an external attempt to “fix” an internal problem. Looking inward, you can use the situation that caused the jealousy to bubble up into your consciousness as an opportunity to clarify communication between the two of you, to better understand yourself and your partner.
Jealousy is like an onion, layers of misunderstanding, misperceptions and misleading which can be overwhelming and so difficult that it makes you cry. When you attempt to blame and control your partner, you refuse to acknowledge that these layers are within you. If you work at peeling off the layers, you can reach the core of the problem, you can achieve the possibility of self-understanding and freedom from the hurt and pain.
The first layer is your subconscious ideas and feelings about how one is supposed to act in a relationship. What do you believe and where does this belief come from? Do you believe that your partner is your possession? Can one person actually be the possession of another? Should they be? If you believe that you must possess the other person, then you are not in a loving relationship. Whatever control you think you exert over your partner, you cannot really touch the inner uniqueness that comprises a human being. You may occasionally control your partner, but you cannot make a person love you.
Moving inward to the next layer, it is important to recognize that every person has their own individual and unique sexuality and each person must take responsibility for their own sexuality as best they can. You are not responsible for and cannot truly control the sexuality of another. You do not own it. It is their own. This insight, this realization can help with jealousy more than any other. Again, I cannot stress enough, it is essential to communicate with your partner about your needs and expectations. Nothing can destroy a relationship faster than deceit.
As you continue to go deeper inside you reveal even more layers of this “onion” including projection, envy and guilt. By peeling away these layers, you can reach awareness. Projection, envy, and guilt are nothing more than pointers to the truth behind your feelings. Becoming aware of what you are actually feeling and discovering the source behind it can give you the power to alleviate the pain. If you can reveal the true feelings, separate them from the perceived jealously, it is possible to relieve the pain.
The primary emotions I have discussed at this point have been sadness, resentment or anger. These all grow out of expectation. You are angry with your lover, you are sad because he or she has violated your expectations. Once you release the anger, the resentment and the hurt, once blame is removed from the equation, you can see that at the core of jealously is fear. Fear of loss, fear of being alone, fear of not being worthy of love. All sorts of self-doubt can surface. You don't have enough money. Something is wrong with your body. You aren’t clever enough or exciting enough. You start projecting your own fears and low self-esteem on to another’s actions.
All of these layers have one thing in common; they tend to have more to do with illusion than with reality. They come from our past, from childhood, or perhaps from a prior bad relationship or relationships. If you are experiencing jealous feelings and you start looking deep inside at these feelings, you can begin to see how frequently they are not real, they are an illusion and that you are torturing yourself because of fear.
When you attempt to possess another person, you become yourself possessed. You become vulnerable. The stomach-churning pain of jealousy and fear of abandonment comes from that vulnerability. If you try to possess, if you have a preconceived, fixed belief about what a relationship should be, if you have a lover that you jealously attempt to control, what you are actually doing is blocking your ability to truly experience love. Out of fear you miss the opportunity that your relationship offers you to experience bliss. You are so controlled yourself that you are unable to allow yourself to be overwhelmed. And the ultimate experience of love and excitement can only reveal itself when you allow yourself to be overwhelmed.
If you love someone, go deep into your own unique experience of what that love is, and just let that be who you are. Surrender to it. Open your heart and mind to it. You do not need to experience jealously. You do not need to control another and you do not need to be afraid. You can choose to move away from those feelings. Hypnosis can help. You can be experiencing love itself deeper and deeper within its own fullness.
Linda Simmon, C.Ht.
Having a happy social life may be as important to your health as not smoking.
People in a study who not only made good physical health decisions, but also worked on maintaining a satisfying social life, were more likely to be completely healthy compared to people who only followed physical health guidelines. Keep your social network strong by picking up the phone this weekend and calling an old friend.
Your brain doesn't know you're kidding.
Random thoughts such as, "He gives me a pain," or "This job makes me sick" are viewed by the right brain as instructions. Think healthy thoughts!
A forgiving attitude in close relationships may be especially helpful to your health.
Research suggests that forgiving someone who has wronged you can enhance feelings of well-being. And a recent study revealed that the association between a forgiving attitude and enhanced well-being is particularly strong in the context of a relationship with a life partner.
- Struggling to hide your true feelings may not always be the best health bet.
A recent study revealed that when people discussed a controversial topic but suppressed their emotions about the subject, their blood pressure readings tended to climb. Over time, chronic spikes in blood pressure could prematurely age the cardiovascular system. Let your partner know how you really feel about important matters.
I hope you learned something new or interesting and I hope that you enjoyed this
February/Valentine’s Day Newsletter.
Linda Simmon, C.Ht.