I spent much of my youth comparing myself to my best friend, who in my eyes, was the epitome of perfection. I met her in fifth grade in a class where I had no friends and I was just excited to see a familiar face. She had no idea who I was, but we became quick friends after I endlessly ran to her every time the teacher asked us to partner up. Thank heavens she was a genuinely nice ten-year-old and was always happy to be my partner. She became my best friend from then until, well, now 🙂
As we moved from elementary to middle school to high school, boys started to flock into our conversations, and our twosome became a groupsome with lots of different personalities and it really was a great time to be alive. However, as I look back, I spent a lot of that time never really appreciating who I was and what I contributed to my friendships. In fact, I never understood, and maybe still don’t understand, why in the world my best friend considered me as her best friend. I’m not good at hiding my emotions, and I’m sure it was written on my face every time something good happened for her, I was pinched with so much jealousy that I could never fully be happy for her.
In my mind, this was the two of us:
I was smart, but she was way smarter. In a higher math class, graduated early, got excellent grades not only academically but gym and the arts were also her forte.
I was cute, but she was hot. As I’ve mentioned before, I was the funny fat friend, and she was the innocent girl who did not know just how beautiful she was. Guys loved it. And they knew I was close to her and countless times they used me to get to her. I’d like to say that I drove some of them away because if they really wanted to date her or whatnot, they should just ask her themselves, but I have to admit, a lot of it was jealousy. I received so much attention and flattery and when I found out it wasn’t about me at all, the sting was too much to take, and I ended up being very vocal to my best friend about how I felt about these guys, even if she returned their feelings.
I was fun, but she was more pleasant company. I was painfully annoying now that I see myself in hindsight. Desperation to stand out made me quick with the jokes, funny or not, and unabashed in including myself in most everything, and not taking anything seriously. See, if I purposely screw up, then people will be laughing with me, not at me. She excelled in so many talents because she took things seriously, and again, I wished I was her.
Don’t get me wrong with this post. I loved my best friend. She was always there for me, a perfect example of who I thought I should be and what I should strive to do in my life. If I could go back, I’d spend less time wishing I could be her and more time appreciating just how wonderful she was. I’d jump for joy in her accomplishments and I’d recognize that her achievements and mine are separate entities, and there is such a goodness in that. I ache to apologize to her, but I am unsure of how or if she was even aware of my consuming jealousy.
Presently, I deal with the green-eyed monster on a daily basis. It’s so easy to be consumed in comparing yourself to those in the same field of work, whether you be a writer like me, or a reader or blogger like I know many of you are, or a mother or father or wife, husband, neighbor, friend… I have to remind myself every day that my accomplishments are in no way diminished by the success of others. I want to look back on this time ten years from now and not regret the way I felt when one of my colleagues reached a list or signed a big deal. I want to say that I felt genuinely happy for them and celebrated those accomplishments without that jealousy eating me from the inside out.
I had an interesting conversation the other day with a friend who told me that she has stopped scrolling her newsfeed on Facebook because of the way it made her feel. I tried this for a few days, but of course, didn’t last long because of boredom and laziness and habit. I did notice the difference though. I didn’t want to just take the temptation away because it would always be there when I was weak and I could fall back into that pattern. No, I wanted to defeat the temptation altogether.
So as the new year approaches and resolutions anew, I want to write down here the only thing I truly want to make a habit of.
Be 100% happy for other people.
I don’t want to feed the monster by comparison any more. I want to take their stories and accomplishments as inspiration and celebrate with my friends in their happiness. It’s a great time to be alive, and I want to appreciate that.
Spell for the day,