Before you read on, I would just like to clarify that these are my thoughts and opinions. I’m not trying to lecture anyone. I know we are all human and of course we do all make mistakes – it’s only natural and we shouldn’t berate ourselves or others. Sometimes we do let our feelings/emotions get the better of us; even when we know that it is the worst course of action we can possibly take, we still do stupid things. Things which not only hurt others, but invariably hurt ourselves too. No one is perfect, least of all me, I’m just trying to banish a negative emotion from my life, that in my opinion we would all be better off without. By all means feel free to disagree.
We have all experienced the odd pang of jealousy, when a friend has some really good news; on the very same day that your car broke down, you received a large tax bill and the heel broke on your favourite pair of shoes. I will also be honest and admit that sometimes, it’s been more than the odd pang … That said, over the last few years I have realised what a horrible, negative emotion jealousy is and I have made a concerted effort to try and kick that green eyed monster out of my life.
It hasn’t been easy, I’m insecure about the way I look and a life long struggle with my weight, has only compounded that. We also don’t have a lot of money and if a friend mentioned her latest trip abroad, it would be hard not to exhale wistfully. But I have both witnessed and experienced, the awful impact that jealousy can have on a person. It is such a negative emotion, that I truly wish I could eradicate it from my life and yours, for good.
I was talking about jealousy with my close friend X, at the weekend. We both admitted that we had fallen victim to other people’s jealousy, at various times in our lives. It’s actually a hard thing to talk about so openly, as soon as you say something along the lines of, ‘I think so and so is treating me that way, because she is jealous,’ you are opening yourself up to accusations or thoughts of ‘bighead!’ I only ever come to the conclusion of jealousy, when I have ruled out any other reasons, for people behaving in a certain way towards me.
Unfortunately it’s usually women, being jealous of other women and I wish that we could support instead of envy. At my last job, I was fast tracked for a managerial position, after only 6 months of working part time at the company. This caused bitterness amongst some of my female colleagues. So much so, that the lady who ran the staff canteen, pulled me aside one lunchtime, to warn me of the whispering (bitching?) that she had heard from female colleagues about myself.
The meanness didn’t always happen behind my back, one of the female managers told me to my face; that not only did she not understand why I had been promoted. She had actually called her old boss, who had been part of the recruiting team for the management program, and asked why I had been promoted? I had never worked under this woman and she was new to the company, and to this day, I’m still unsure why she felt qualified to judge me so negatively? Thanks for the support, sister woman! The one person who not only supported me throughout my promotion; but helped me through a bit of a wobble, when I had a really tough day in my new position, was a man.
When X and I discussed our most recent experiences of jealousy, she admitted that she has suffered from it off and on for her entire adult life. Modest as ever, she thought it was because she is small, I disagreed. X doesn’t experience jealousy because she is small, she suffers from it because she is quite simply a beautiful woman. Right at the beginning of our friendship,I once felt rather invisible next to her on a night out. It was of course my own insecurities that were to blame. I remember thinking that this could go one of two ways: I could either let myself succumb to jealousy and distance myself from her, or I could simply let go of any jealous thoughts and love her for who she is.
Thank god I chose the second path, X is beautiful inside and out. I have had a great friendship with her for the last six years and we have gotten closer as every year passes. Now I can honestly say, my life would be a much bleaker place without her in it. How easy it would have been, to let my jealousy rule and choose the other option? More fool me! I would have lost someone who has always been there for me and a friend for life. Yet still, she is continually judged on her looks.
Of course it isn’t always easy; we live in a very materialistic world, where possessions are highly prized and youth and beauty are valued more than almost anything else. Sadly it is almost a given that envy is a by product of our society. In my brief acquaintance with the Twitter world, I can’t help but be aghast at how prevalent trolling is and more often than not, it is women who are the perpetrators. We bitch and laugh at the way a poor celebrity might look in an unflattering paparazzi shot, mainly because it makes us feel better about ourselves.
I read an article on advice from the amazing Sarah Silverman yesterday and I don’t have it to hand, so will have to paraphrase, but it went something like this ‘stop judging/bitching about other women and instead why not compliment your friends. Don’t put people down, just to make yourself feel better. Instead tell your friend she looks gorgeous today, or how about admiring yourself in the mirror, instead of constantly criticizing the way you look.’
Ten years ago, we might have laughed about a certain celebrity with our friends; but now it’s put out there in the social media world and the very person we are bitching about can actually bear witness to our sarcastic musings. Imagine the hurt and insecurity this must cause, it’s hard enough to experience jealousy on a personal level, when it is one on one or if you are particularly unlucky a small group of women/girls; but imagine that feeling multiplied by 1,000 or even 10,000!
The question I have to ask, is why do we do it? Why are we so mean to each other? To our fellow sister women in particular. Even as a dissatisfied size 22, I would see a beautiful woman and definitely experience a twinge of envy that I didn’t look that amazing and never would. Then I would make an effort to let myself appreciate her beauty and try not to let it affect my life in a negative way. It isn’t always easy, but it gets easier the more I do it. That said I’m far from perfect and If I have a really bad day and do let jealousy affect me and get me down, I promise I will never ever tweet it.
Sometimes a touch of envy can be a good thing, it can motivate you into achieving more from life, but don’t let it affect you so much that you obsessively trawl Facebook feeling jealous at every happy status. Next time we feel a pang of envy we should remember that we are pretty amazing ourselves, no one deserves to be bitched about, and we all feel jealousy. I might envy X her slender beauty but she has always longed for big boobs. She also hasn’t had an easy life, she might have been front of the line for beauty but that doesn’t mean everything in life was handed to her on a plate. So don’t be jealous, let that pretty girl into your life, you never know it might be S and by god she’s a friend worth having! I’m off to ask her what mascara she uses, I have a touch of lash envy …. I mean I admire her luscious eyelashes and will compliment her on them instead ;)