Beware of the green eyed monster

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jealous

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 😉

 

 

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Sisters are NOT doing it for themselves

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fat quote 2

 

I have been writing this post in my head for a few months now. On Saturday something happened and it made me decide to finally commit these thoughts to text. Why on earth are girls/women so mean to one another? It’s something, that sadly most of us encounter at one stage or another in our lives. Starting from the playground and taking on a life of it’s own during teens. I had hoped our sex, might at some stage, finally grow out of. Sadly at the age of 41 and having been insidiously insulted by an older woman, over my appearance, I fear that women being bitchy to other women, is here to stay. That said, I’m rather hoping that when I hit my 80s, other ladies won’t be bitching about my using Tena Ladies (I’ve had four children, I’m preparing for the inevitable,) or the fact that I have bucked the trend and gone for a pink rinse instead of the usual blue ….

So what happened on Saturday to make me so mad? I had a much longed for night out, dealing with chronic IBS and being on so many strong pain killers, have meant my nights out have dwindled into non existence. In fact it had been six months since I had thrown caution to the wind and let my hair down. So I was ridiculously excited to be going out, a chance to have time away from my children. A chance to let off steam and have a good old girly catch up with one of my closest friends. Plus I got the chance to put on makeup and wear a pretty dress.

We chose our favourite bar in town, one which we have frequented over the last few years, mainly because we like the atmosphere and inclusivity. I love a bar where you can meet a seventy year old man one evening, or spot a guy with an excellent mohican the next. Anyone and everyone is always welcome and that’s what makes it a great bar. No pretentiousness and no need to be under twenty five, always a plus in this old gals book. On the flip side, this makes being judged on my appearance by a random stranger, all the more annoying.

Why do other women feel the need/right to comment on other women’s appearance, in such a negative fashion? Friend and I were having a grand old time, drinking wine and catching up, we were putting the world to rights, at least our small corners of it. Then a random lady decided to talk to us. We politely listened to a lengthy tale about her quitting her job and privately sighed with relief when she let us carry in our own conversation. Sadly though our previous politeness meant that, she felt the need to talk to us again later and this time she brought the insults. She wasn’t down right rude but almost worse it was thinly veiled insults, dressed up as well meaning concern. She criticised the pair of us, about our appearance.

To me, it was you’re a big girl, but it’s alright because you’re well proportioned. You’re a large girl but it’s alright because you dress well. My son wants to dance with you, because you remind him of his fiancee before she lost four stone in weight. Now as a bigger girl, I’ve had a lot of these sorts of comments over the years, sadly almost always from other women. This time they were twice as painful, because 2 and a half years ago I weighed 15.7 stone and have since worked extremely hard to lose over 4 stone and have managed to keep the weight off for 18 months. Now I’m a size 14 and extremely happy about that. Not the worst comments a girl could hear, but for me my weight is my Kryptonite. I’ve long been judged for my appearance and quite frankly I’ve had enough

Don’t get me wrong some mean comments have come from men, but the majority are from women. Shouldn’t we be sticking together as a sex? We know only too well what it’s like to be objectified. We often feel immense pressure from the media and society in general, over the way we look. If I had but a penny, for the amount of times I’ve cried over my weight, I would be a rich woman. So why do it to each other? Most women on a night out have put a lot of thought and time into their appearance. Even when you have simply looked in the mirror and thought, ‘sod it ,that will do.’ You never go out and expect negative criticism on your appearance. Any such criticism invariably hurts, even confident girls can feel it’s cruel bite.

Shouldn’t we be kinder, more supportive to each other? It can be a wonderful thing to receive a compliment, particularly an unexpected one. May be we should remember that it really doesn’t matter how we look and cheesy as it may be, what’s inside really does count. So give it a try, pay a compliment to another woman, fight back against the ridiculous socially constructed idea of beauty! Stick up two fingers to the media and tell a girl you like her dress/hair/makeup/figure. I bet you she will thank you for it.

 

good quote