About one-and-a-half years into what is shaping up to be a four-year engagement, my future brother-in law proposed to his then-girlfriend. I love these people very, very much, so naturally, I was filled with excitement, happiness, love, and… jealousy?
Yep, jealousy. I was envious that her wedding was coming together in four months when it seemed like I was waiting forever for my day to come. I was frustrated by the fact that so many of her wedding details were so similar to mine, from the engagement ring, to the style of wedding dress she bought. I was jealous that she was getting to start her married life years before I would. And I was angry with myself for getting jealous in the first place.
I mean, this is a person I hold so very near and dear. How could I think of her wedding celebration with anything but light and love in my heart? How could I allow myself to infuse such a negative feeling into my reactions to her planning process? How could I be such a petty and small person toward two of the most important people in my life?
I was filled with guilt about my reactions. It ate into me, and fighting them caused me hours of anxiety. It got to a point where the positive emotions I did feel were getting blotted out. I was spending so much time berating myself for feeling jealous that I was eclipsing any other positive reaction I had. On top of that, I worried that my negative reactions would mar my experience on their wedding day. What if I could not think of anything except mean thoughts on their happy day?
So, I just gave in to my jealousy. I embraced the emotion and allowed myself to fully experience it. Then I moved on.
By letting go and allowing my natural reactions to wash over me, I was able to realize that my negative thoughts were not inherently bad. They did not make me an evil person. They meant I was human, and humans are imperfect. We cannot be continuously full of light and love.
Once I stopped resisting, I was able to process through the emotions and understand that most of the details that were causing my negative reactions were not so serious in the grand scheme of things.
Sure, my partner and I are having a long engagement, but we had an extremely short courtship. Our long engagement is helping our families feel more comfortable, and it means we can save up for the exact wedding we want.
Our wedding details may be pretty similar, but does that really matter? Who will really notice? I mean, my wedding was never some original, special snowflake to rule, find, bring, and bind all the weddings. Plus, my sister-in-law and I have very similar personalities and tastes. It's what makes us such good friends, and of course, it means we will pick similar details for our weddings.
And I may be waiting a while to start my married life, but what will that really change? Have I not made all the same commitments I would at my wedding to my partner long ago in my heart and privately to him? What will truly change, aside from some legal aspects and other people's perceptions of us?
The most amazing benefit of embracing my jealousy, however, was the fact that I was able to move forward into even richer, positive feelings about their wedding and union. I was able to reclaim my full response and get excited and happy and joyful all over again.
And guess what? When their wedding day came, I felt only love and light for them. I was filled to the brim and overflowing with my happiness, and if I could relive their day with them a few times over, I definitely would.