Beware of the green eyed monster

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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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I love blogging

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It’s taken me a while to get to this point, but I can now happily say that I love blogging. I have had a few teething problems and worried excessively about making some of my innermost thoughts public, but I’m now sure that it was all worth it. I know I’m several years late to the game, but who knew there was such a fantastic sense of community amongst bloggers? Obviously not this little Luddite, or I might have started sooner ….

I wasn’t even aware that there were blogging conferences and even blogging festivals and now I want to attend them all. Blogging has given me a voice and a chance to express myself, mostly without judgement. More importantly, it has given me a community of potential new friends to connect to. Every time I blog I gain some more followers and that makes me a very happy bunny. I have also had some wonderful comments made on my posts, which reminds me that I am not alone. When life occasionally hands me lemons, I have people ready with the proverbial Tequila!

Even when I published a post which barely made sense to me, losing my religion, I received two very helpful comments. Even though I had admitted, I wasn’t really sure whether I was coming or going, with the whole religion conundrum. (How can anyone miss, what they never really had?) Both commenters seemed to understand, exactly what I was getting at and offered me sympathy and understanding. Plus some great advice – exactly what I wanted from my post and my blog in general.

Then there are the lovely comments I get in private, inevitably life seldom turns out as expected and when things go wrong, its amazing to get such a show of support. These ones are mainly from family and friends; but when the going got tough for me, I certainly learnt who my friends were and how much I meant to them – thanks guys!

There is also something wonderful about blogging that I hadn’t been expecting – the support shown to newbie bloggers from the old hands. Everyone I have asked for advice, has been happy to help. None more so, than my lovely friend who blogs here. She’s the one who started me on my whole blogging journey and has patiently answered all of my inane questions, including ‘how do I use a hashtag on Twitter?’ We have made a pact to attend BritMums Live next year and I’m counting down the days already …. If you get the chance do read her blog, even if she wasn’t one of my dearest friends, I would wholeheartedly recommend it to you. She writes beautifully and inspires me with so many of her posts. I have been meaning to link to her blog for a while, but have only just learnt how to do so. I also now know what to do with a hashtag 😉

Help from complete strangers was unexpected. I was absolutely delighted to not only receive some much needed blogging tips from this blogger extraordinaire, but also a guest blog spot on her blog in March next year. A mere glance at her blog, shows what a busy lady she is, but she kindly took the time to respond to my email. Goodness only knows what I will write for my spot, but I have a good few months to worry about it, so big thanks to Victoria Welton who blogs here. She also runs the marvelous #pocolo linky every Friday, plus several others.

I love the like minded people that I meet through my blog or indeed through their blog. I have considered myself to be a feminist, from the moment I understood the meaning of the word. Well duh, I’m a girl therefore I’m a feminist, was my teen-aged self’s way of thinking and to be honest it still is. I love the strong undercurrent of feminism that runs through many of the blogs that I read and although I’m not sure I’m confident to blog about it just yet (need to read a few more books first) you can expect a post soon. I hadn’t expected blogging to inspire and motivate me to improve my education, I certainly underestimated the power of a great blog.

Blogging makes me feel better about myself and when I get the chance, I love clicking on the same tags that I have just used on my own post. It really does make life, just that little bit easier when you realise that you are not the only one suffering with a health complaint or from a loss of religion. Where else could you connect to fellow IBS sufferers of Mums who also have four boys and learn how to cope with life’s little/big curve balls?

There is a down side to social medial and I am mentally writing a post on that as I type, but I wanted this post to concentrate on the up side. I blog for fun, for answers, to participate in discussions, for advice, to vent, but also to make new friends. I wasn’t sure exactly what I would get from blogging and to be honest, I certainly wasn’t expecting much. Thank goodness I persevered because it really has had a positive impact on my life. I have learned so much about myself and about life in general, that I would recommend blogging to anyone

Finally a big thanks must go to my number one fan (ok, my only fan) who reads every single thing that I write and happily tells me it was amazing. I might test her one day and write something truly dire, just to see what she says. Then again she’d still support me, because she’s my sister and I’ve told her it’s her job, thanks sis!

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TOO SHY SHY

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To those of you who know me, I don’t come across as a shy person. I’m loud, talkative and probably appear relatively confident. The truth is, I’m really not confident at all, particularly when I meet new people. On the one hand, I love meeting new people, I always see the potential for new friendships and enjoy getting to know someone for the first time. Conversely I also hate meeting new people, I really have to push myself in new social settings and always worry that the new person I’m talking too, might not actually want to talk to me.

So I cover my nerves/shyness with a ‘bubbly persona’ and chat away as if I really am confident. Sometimes I’m glad I somehow manage to find the courage to talk to strangers and other times, I want to run away as fast as my little legs will carry me and hide under my duvet. This affects me even when I’m talking on the telephone and although the person on the other end of the line can’t see me, I still feel my legs start shake with nerves, even as I pick up the phone.

Unfortunately a great deal of my social anxiety, probably stems from a lack of self confidence. I dearly wish that I could just assume that everyone I met, was as interested in me as I am in them. I also wish, I could stop worrying whether they liked me or not and just let things progress naturally. Instead I have a small, but very noisy voice in my head, that constantly throws doubts into my mind. Then of course there is the fear of being judged and equally the worry of being too judgmental yourself.

Having been erroneously judged myself, I am very aware of not doing it to others. I try hard to have the attitude, that I like everyone until they and they alone give me a good reason not too. It’s all too easy to allow yourself to be swayed by the opinion of others, so I try not to listen to gossip or speculation and form my own opinion. However that’s not always easy; I think to a certain extent we all judge someone within a minute of meeting them. It’s a natural human trait and at a guess, I would assume it’s some long lost instinct for self preservation; from way back when our lives depended on recognising, whether or not someone was a friend or foe.

I think some of that initial judgement happens sub consciously and can be wrong. How can we possibly know someone within such a short space of time? On my part I often reflect it back on myself and worry someone doesn’t like me because …. When in actual fact they were just having a bad day. Sometimes you think you have judged someone correctly and it can be years before you realise that you got it completely and utterly wrong. Unfortunately your gut instincts can fail you and even a friend, can turn out to be duplicitous and the last person on earth you should have befriended. Other times your intuition is spot on and it isn’t too long before you are proved right for having had your suspicions.

First impressions do count and unfortunately can be all too easy to mess up. I gave birth to my fourth child, ten days after moving to Gloucester from Devon and spent the next year practically housebound; tied to a grumpy, colicky, constantly breastfeeding little boy. I finally emerged from a very demanding year with an almost psychotic desperation to make new friends and finally have a social life again. As a result I drank one too many glasses of wine with a potential new friend and ended up telling her all about several skeletons in my closet. To my intense embarrassment she remembered everything the next morning, but kindly laughed it off and she is now one of my closest friends. Thank goodness she didn’t trust her initial judgement, as it was probably ‘who is this drunken lunatic?’

I’m still not sure I will ever lose my social anxieties but I have learnt to keep wine to a minimum when I am trying to make new friends. Maybe half a bottle of vodka instead?!

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Regrets, I’ve had a few …..

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This is a quick post to remind you to keep in touch with your friends and loved ones. My beloved Gramp was suddenly rushed into hospital this afternoon and along with feeling upset, my other thought was ‘I haven’t spoken to him in a while, why didn’t I just pick up the phone and call him. Will I ever get the chance again?’

Regrets are horrible and I try and live my life with as few as possible. For every mistake I make, I try to see the positive, even if it is only learning, never to make that mistake again! Inevitably there are always going to be a few things you regret.

When my Nanny died I hadn’t seen her for eighteen months and I still regret that to this day. There were many reasons, for most of that time we lived in Durham, my Grandparents were in Oxford. I had been heavily pregnant and then had a not so portable small baby. We tried to arrange a Christmas visit, but one of the boys had a cold and Nanny never liked visitors that brought unwanted germs with them! Of course I could go on and on. The sad thing is, they are all great reasons not to visit at the time. As soon as you lose someone dear to you, those reasons seem ridiculous and you would give anything to see them again. Germs, babies and all!

The last time I saw my Gramp was two months ago on his birthday, so that makes me feel a little better. But and there’s always a but, only last week the thought that I should ring him popped into my head, but I was busy so I resolved to ring later and of course the thought popped right out again, until today.

I know you can’t spend your life thinking what if? It isn’t practical and no one wants to spend their every waking minute worrying about what’s round the corner. So I thought I would write this post as a little reminder to all that read it; life is short and can turn on a sixpence. If there is something you have been meaning to do or someone you have been meaning to visit or phone, then try not to put it off until tomorrow, because unfortunately you never know what tomorrow might bring.

Get well soon Gramps!

 

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