Friday, July 13, 2012

Jealousy rears its ugly head

Sometimes it's so hard for me not to be consumed by jealousy.

Most of the time I'm not jealous at all. In fact, most of the time I'm genuinely happy when things work out for people close to me or for people I tangentially know through these interwebs. I like seeing people's lives work out for the best. Sure, it's a little hard to stomach when I hear someone's just married into a seven-figure relationship, bought a manor in an exclusive gated community (and they're my age) or become an overnight celebrity off some YouTube video or blog post. But most of the time, I'm pleased with other people's progress. Much of the time I even look up to these people, and want to be "just like them," which is awesome because then I have Real Life rolemodels, and not just ones on television shows or in the pages of People Magazine.

But last night, as I was casually browsing Twitter -- something I haven't done in the last six months -- I decided to check in with a handful of bloggers I used to follow and converse with through blogger comments and the like. So I clicked on each name like a fool, happy to see where they were now and how much they'd done in the last year or so. Some had Baby #2, others moved to bigger and better jobs, some had bought houses.

Everything was roses and sunshine until I clicked on a certain blogger's name and noticed she'd changed her profile. Drastically. Like her resume had undergone some huge, made-for-TV makeover and now she was living in a completely different echelon of life, all thanks to some fateful things that happened to her within the last six months or so. The stars, it seemed, had more than aligned for her. And what was the first thing I felt? Complete and utter jealousy. So much jealousy, in fact, that in the middle of the night, while J slept next to me, the recent events in her life kept gnawing at my brain like a teething puppy, and so I took my smartphone to the bathroom and sat there on the toilet at 2am, googling her and and trying to figure out how this had all happened.

Why did I do this? Because what happened to her is EXACTLY what I've wanted for the past five years. (The details of which shall go unwritten since I don't want to disclose her identity.) I needed to wrap my brain around the fact that this type of thing did happen to normal people like her (and well, not me. . .yet). I know I should be happy for her even though I don't know her in "real life," but it's so hard to be happy for someone who now has what you've always wanted. Did she earn it? Of course she did. I'm not saying everything fell into her lap without (probably) a lot of hard work, but I can't help but think that she got what she got thanks to hitting a sweet spot on a current trend and cashing in. Her timing, most likely not planned, was flawless. Maybe that's just my jealousy talking.

I try to "rise above it" and "be an adult" and all those other things you hear when you're man (or woman) enough to admit that yes, something someone has or has recently experienced (like the stars aligning perfectly) makes you see green, but it's hard. How am I supposed to "rise above" something that I wish for every. single. day. of my life?

I woke up feeling totally blah today, thanks to fumes of my online discovery still fresh in my mind. I'll probably feel this way for the rest of the day. I don't know if even retail therapy can help. I wish I hadn't checked in with people's profiles last night because what did I expect? Someone was bound to have become a huge success during the last year. All the bloggers I followed were bright, inspirational women -- this one included. Her good news should come as no surprise to anyone, including me. My mother always taught me not to compare myself, but sometimes it's so hard not to. In situations like this it feels like the natural thing to do, even though rationally I know it isn't.

How do you rise above jealousy?


Anonymous said...

Sometimes, it's hard, but at the same time, it's good to remember that other people are looking at your life, and feeling jealous too! This happened to me when a friend of mine had elements in her life that I've always dreamed of all my life - meanwhile, she was jealous of my life successes too! We both were happy for each other but wondered why we hadn't had the other elements, and had no idea the other felt the same. :) It really reminded me of all the wonderful things I have in my life and how happy I am, and also, that the other elements can come in time. (Writefrmmyheart)

eemusings said...

I feel on you on this. Just this week I had a dream that one of my favourite bloggers got a whole bunch of books published, and the intense envy I felt, well, is just too embarrassing to talk about.

I often feel the same way. I get jealous of travel bloggers. Of people who have bought houses. Of people who make six figures. But I also read blogs about people who are still struggling to pay off debt and get ahead in their late 20s and 30s, which makes me feel a little better. No matter how bad we have it, somebody else has it worse, for what cold comfort that's worth.

Jessica @ Wanting Adventure said...

That is SO tough. I find myself battling with it too, but even closer to home. When friends get promoted and my husband is still in law school, and I just want things to start happening for us. It's really hard to be happy for them when you're wondering when you're gonna get your break. I try to concentrate on being happy now, and knowing I'll think back on this time fondly when things are completely different for us.

Cristina said...

I definitely understand how you feel! I recently wrote a post about the potential benefits of jealousy but sometimes it's hard to see it that way. I keep an Evernote of my accomplishments so that I can refer to them when I'm feeling envious of someone else's life :)

Crystal said...

It's nice to know I'm not the only one that feels this way at times!! I think one of the worst things about it, too, is that it's such a petty thing to admit, so the feeling is very isolating because who wants to come out and say "I'm jealous"?! I haven't admitted this jealousy to anyone except J and my blog (I guess I'm too prideful), so it's nice to know I'm not alone.

Karin said...

I think one great thing to remember is that you are doing something that so many people really want: to get pregnant and have a baby! As someone who was diagnosed with potential fertility problems, I am so incredibly grateful to be having a healthy pregnancy so far. Despite my career successes, from the moment I got pregnant I thought "This is going to be the most rewarding thing I have ever done!"

And as a New Yorker, I'm totally jealous of your house! :)

Crystal said...

@Karin: You're right -- I do feel very thankful that I'm about to have a beautiful baby girl. I'm so grateful to have this opportunity!!

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