Transcending Jealousy and The Shakespeare Challenge
The coining of the word “kiss” is often credited to Shakespeare and i think it is an especially brilliant name, further solidifying his genius status in my mind. Perhaps it was called just “snogging” before old Bill came along and saved the day. In this spirit, i have asked Rabbit to come up with a better term for compersion, which is slightly poorly defined as the opposite of jealousy. What compersion really is is feeling excited about your romantic intimate having other romantic intimates. Great idea, terrible name. Oh, and it turns out Shakespeare did not coin “kiss”, but has the first attestation of it (first recorded printing).
A talented group of organizers is putting together this Loud Love conference in June (you can register on line for it). The content is potent and eclectic, including: how to date a sexual assault survivor, how to have a brilliant break up, honest seduction, blues dancingas non-sexual consent practice, transparency tools, how to explain polyamory to your kids, crafting sexy consent, BDSM/kink, becoming a drag king, multiple parallel honeymoons and much more. One of the workshops i am most excited about is on how to transcend jealousy and learn how to be excited about your lover having other intimate relationships.
In polyamory discussions one often hears “Do i have to transcend my own jealousy to be polyamorous?” The answer is no. The stock reply is that you do not have to transcend jealousy to be in a poly relationship, but you do need to be willing to look at the feelings underneath it and communicate honestly about them with your partner. If you can communicate about these and other tricky feelings, you maybe able to navigate through your jealous experiences and maintain multiple relationships. If you can’t talk about it, you are sunk.
There is a fair amount of good stuff out there in the world on how to manage jealousy and there is precious little that i have found on how to build compersion. And by the time Loud Love is actually happening, i am confident we will have found useful stuff on this important topic, and/or we will have found a capable facilitator for this workshop.
And hopefully Rabbit will have found a better name for it by then as well.
I prefer to define compersion in the positive: the experience of joy at witnessing another person’s joy.
I like that. Maybe compersion could be seen as another way of spreading joy around.
This post has different images from your email version, which had a picture of a woman perhaps dissolving into hundreds of butterflies, captioned something like “I don’t know why this image comes up when I google this subject, but I like it.”
Here’s why that image comes up.
The ubiquitous posters, around 1970, mostly showed a butterfly being set free.
Brittany from Twin Oaks came up with a brilliant replacement for compersion. Metajoy. Until i have a better one, i am going to use this.
Buddhism has a more general term for compersion: Mudita (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mudita)
I think we need an english translation for this word, I see no need for a word that is specific to romance or sex. I feel happiness when my daughter has fun on a rollercoaster, I feel happiness when my friends succeed. The naming of things changes how we think of them. The english-speaking world would benefit greatly from a word for Mudita becoming part of the vernacular.