“I love you and I am so happy for you. But if I don’t sound that way, I need you to understand, it isn’t about you. I am just feeling a little jealous to be honest.”
“What? Jealous of what exactly?” the sharpness of her tone cut through to my heart. I immediately regretted opening my big mouth.
“Uh-um-uh, of you and Chris I guess.”
“I mean, do you like him or something?” she questioned, her tone had shifted to something resembling a combination of anger and panic.
“No no no!” I explained. “It isn’t like that. I just mean that we started this journey together you know. I know I’ve struggled with my purity over the years, but I am trying. I always feel like it happens for everyone but me. These big romantic stories and I can’t even catch a date. Just makes me wonder when mine is coming. Is mine ever coming, ya know?”
“Seriously, Kristen? It always has to be about you. You’re so selfish. I just told you that I think this man is the ONE. The freaking one! I mean you’re the one who kept telling me he liked me in the first place! But now, instead of being happy for me it’s all about why you can’t get a man. Way to let your loneliness ruin my moment. THAT is exactly why you’re single.”
“Janae, I’m so—“the call dropped before I could finish my sentence. I held the phone to my ear paralyzed in terror and sadness. Did I just ruin the greatest friendship I’ve ever had? I didn’t mean to. I was just trying to be honest. She called me lonely. I’m not lonely. How dare she. Somebody finally wants her and now she’s on a high horse? I throw my phone across the room and roll over, hugging my pillow tight and bighting my lip to fight away the tears that stung the corner of my eyes. Jealous? I’m not jealous of anyone who is such a bitch.
Ok, so this didn’t really happen. None of it. I mean, the part where I told her I was jealous did. The rest of it though, yea I made that all up. But I bet there are several of you who thought that the result of me admitting I was jealous went something like this. Heck, there were probably a few of you who hoped it happened that way. Because if it happened any other way, you may have to admit I have a good point and begin to acknowledge the jealousy you have in your own heart. Or even harder, let people safely come to you with their’s.
But since I’m all about being honest and talking about feelings and stuff, that is the scenario I played in my head before I told her the truth. We do that. When we have to face difficult or uncomfortable conversations, we create worst case scenarios in our head. We act out the role of the other person, practice our rebuttals, rehearse the defense and plan our escape routes in our minds. And sometimes we let these made up stories dictate our decisions and avoid the hard conversations all together. For a moment, that’s where I was. For just a second, I was crippled by the fear that I would deeply hurt someone I love. I was also afraid I wouldn’t be understood, that my truth would leave the very wounds that caused my jealousy open for infection. I was afraid admitting I was facing insecurity in the status of my singleness would leave me single forever. None of that is true.
But what if it did backfire? What if me attempt at honesty did the opposite of what I tried to accomplish? What if Janae was angry and never spoke to me again. What if I was left with my self-doubts, areas of pain and weaknesses completely exposed. It would hurt. But what was better, walking away with a wounded heart or becoming the character assassinating murderer, slowly killing your own soul with the poison of jealousy? I’m not sure about you, but the wounded heart thing sounds better to me. After all, wounds heal.
So what really happened? We are still friends. Very best ones. We didn’t even have an argument. But just in case you can’t take my word for it, I went straight to the source.
Me: How did it make you feel when I told you I was jealous of you?
Janae: Well I already knew. I know you so I knew that there was something going on, but I just couldn’t pinpoint what it was. So when you said it I was like “ohhhh, ok”. But how did it make me feel? I was proud of you for having that kind of courage.
Me: Proud? That’s unexpected. Why?
Janae: Well for just a second, I was confused. I was like what? She doesn’t like Chris he isn’t even her type. But as you explained I quickly realized that it wasn’t about him at all it was about you and a soft spot you had. It was about the insecurities you had from the past being triggered. It took a lot of courage to admit that so I was proud.
Me: Are you glad I told you?
Janae: Yes, because it helped convict me. No one ever talks about jealousy. There were times where I knew people were jealous of me and I could not understand why. Now I could see it was about them,, not me. It even helped me recognize areas of my life that I may have had jealousy in. It also let me know how I can be a batter friend to you and exactly how to pray for you.
Me: Do you think it made us closer or caused a rift between us?
Janae: Closer now. Not at first. I was never mad at you but more so mad at the reaction. You needed space to deal with how you felt. So you weren’t calling as much, you weren’t texting. You told me you needed some space to focus on God and prepare for the conference you had coming up. I felt like it was about me and I thought “this is the beginning of the end.” But now we are great!
Me: What’s your advice to other people receiving that kind of confession?
Janae:Find the courage to receive it because you must look past the jealousy and at the person. You must see this is someone I love and there is an insecurity or a pain in there and understand it isn’t about you. I’d prefer to talk about it though, other wise it will cause problems later.
Me: Thanks for letting me interview and thanks for receiving my confession so well!
Now, I am going to take a whole second to brag here because I am very aware that the friendship I have with Janae is unique and special. The level of transparency, honesty and support we give one another is one that even I have never experienced before. But I can almost bet that, for most people, those who love you would behave the same way. They would allow you to be honest and accept your feelings.
Let me just encourage you to understand that you can be happy for them and jealous at the same time. You can be both secure and insecure at the same time. You can be both weak and strong at the same time. Both things can be true.
Now, I am not encouraging you to go to your boss tomorrow and tell he or she, “Look. I am jealous of your position here because I always wanted it.” And definitely don’t go to your crazy cousin’s house, ya know the one who is a bum living off of your grandparents with two deadly assault charges , a short temper and a creepy lazy eye, and tell them “I’m jealous that grandma always let you do whatever you wanted. She always favored you.”
I am asking that you examine your heart and find the places where jealousy has been masking itself as some other emotion. I am asking you to find a safe place and the courage to talk about it. I am asking you to be that safe place for someone else. I am asking you to heal the wound instead of drinking the poison.
OK! Love you bye!