Reunions can bring a lot of different emotions to the table. Anxiety, excitement, curiosity, etc. For me, I couldn’t wait to see my college sorority sisters after ten years. Ten years sure went by quickly, but it didn’t feel like it. Thanks to social media, I knew most of the things that were going on in the group…but I looked forward to hearing the details. And, of course, I wanted to share details about my life as well. The cool part was that we met up on our old college stomping grounds…which always brings back memories and makes the time together even more enjoyable.
Surprisingly, everyone was exactly (ok, maybe just mostly) the same. Sure, someone got a boob job, someone was going back to school, someone was pregnant, someone was getting married….but everyone fell into their “role” as soon as we got back together. It was like time travel.
We ate a lot, we talked a lot, we probably had too much to drink…but it was a blast. Yet, one thing that was brought up a few over the weekend is the tendency to compare yourself to others. Why am I not in the same place, or why don’t have the same things, or why did I choose this path, or why is your kid better behaved…It is easy in this kind of setting to size up how people live their lives in comparison to others. Since then I’ve revisited this topic in my mind over and over. Comparison to one another likely happens CONSTANTLY…again, thanks social media, but we don’t really talk about it much and the jealousy, guilt, self-consciousness, or regret associated with it.
We’re consistently told to be confident in who we are, be proud of what we’ve done, and don’t give any f-bombs about what other people think. But the bottom line is that often times we measure ourselves up to others and we totally care what other people think. And ya know what? I think it’s ok. Yeah…I said it.
It’s generally not good to be envious or jealous, but since we feel that weight regardless, sometimes it’s a great motivator. That sounds terrible, because nobody says it…but I think it’s true! Do you want to live in a fancy house? Educate yourself, do what it takes to get a good job, and buy one. Do you want to be married with five kids? Get out and find your like-minded mate! Do you want to be fit and live a healthy lifestyle? Clean out your fridge and start exercising.
I realize that all of those things (and many of our goals) are waaaaaaay easier said than done, but it’s all about small steps, short term goals, and keeping your expectations realistic. Goals likely won’t be accomplished overnight, but you can achieve them and get what you want.
Additionally, people tend to put a lot of pressure on themselves to achieve their goals alone. That’s me. I’m that person. I can do it all and I can do it alone! I’ve learned the hard way over and over again that asking for help or advice makes the road easier…especially from people you admire (or perhaps have a little bit of jealousy towards). Clearly those particular people have it figured out. They have the answers. They have what you want…so why not ask how they got it? It’s the most obvious cheat sheet that nobody uses. The good news is that people love to share their story and offer advice, so don’t be afraid to ask!
A word of caution to this tale: embrace your feelings, but don’t obsess over them. Jealousy, competition, envy can be the push you need to reach your objectives…but don’t snuggle into these emotions until you get what you want. There is a quote that says, “Jealousy is love and hate at the same time.” It’s very accurate.
I love my friends and I’m proud of their accomplishments, but I’m sometimes jealous of their disposable income. I hate that I can’t travel anywhere I want go or furnish my house with that farmhouse style crap that is so stupid adorable. But I would never boycott my friends or be angry with them for something I don’t have. It is my choice to be a stay at home mom, but it is also my choice to try to make a little extra money on the side if I’m feeling strapped for cash. So that’s what I do…and I work on finding new ways to be with my kids, do what I enjoy, and make a little dough. Maybe eventually I’ll save enough to buy that rusty, dirty, white-washed fence inscribed with a cute saying to display in my family room.
Same goes for the fitness aspect. Who doesn’t want to be healthy? I used to be jealous of people in my life (or athletes or celebrities for that matter) for being in good shape and living a healthy lifestyle…so the competitive part of me decided to jump in. I can lose weight and be fit, too! Is it easy? No. But I feel better! Not only physically, but emotionally. I’m no longer jealous, and that is one weight that I don’t mind lifting!
What do you do when jealousy rears its ugly head?