Recently, I've been told that I am the target of some jealousy and that's made me laugh. I've had people try to "take me down" because they don't want me to think "too much" of myself. I've had people refuse to help my daughter's fundraising efforts for a service trip because our family has "had it so easy".
Let me put this into perspective for you and show you how misguided jealousy truly is. The outside facade doesn't show the truth of anyone's life:
In the past 7 1/2 years alone...
- Our household income decreased by 2/3 in less than a blink of an eye when my husband died.
- My kids have endured grief therapy and anxiety issues because of the trauma of witnessing their dad's death at the ages of 7 and 8.
- I suffered through such a dark depression that, at times, I didn't even know if it was worth getting out of bed...even thought the kids may be better off if I were gone.
- I nearly lost the house because of the above depression.
- I gained nearly 50 pounds after my husband died because I stopped taking care of myself and poured my focus into simply surviving.
- We navigated the grief alone, suffering loss of friendships and judgments along the way.
- I rebuilt my career to become a published novelist, but only because I work 7 days a week and after years of rejections and near surrender.
- The kids are now honor students and athletes in high school because they worked damn hard for it--nothing has been easy for them.
- I've re-entered the dating world only to be called "too old", "too intimidating" or "too fat" for love, usually by men who aren't nearly the man my late husband was.
- I still find myself lonely and sad more often than not when I realize that the kids will be off living their own lives soon while I remain solo (at least for now).
But people are jealous of us? Of me? How silly.
When you see a pretty girl who is smiling, don't be jealous. For all you know, she is a lonely soul who puts on a smile to hide a broken heart.
When you see someone succeed, don't be jealous. They have probably scrambled and fought and clawed their way to the top after failing again and again. Their success is well earned. Admire rather than resent their achievement.
When you see someone who is thin, don't be jealous. They take care of themselves--for all you know, they were once 50 pounds overweight and in the throes of depression.
When you see someone who is laughing, don't be jealous of their apparent happiness. Perhaps they've overcome great sorrow and now appreciate the joy in life.
When you see someone in love, don't be jealous. Perhaps they've been on a lonely journey for many years and have finally found that one person in the world who lights them up from the inside out.
Jealousy says more about you than the person you're directing it at. If anything, it highlights your insecurity. We've all been there...I know I have in the past, usually when I was in a dark place of my own. But now I know better. When I see someone in my dream car, I think "good for them, I can't wait until I own that, too."
Comparing our lives to another's is ridiculous. None of us knows the truth of another's life. I took the kids to see Jekyll and Hyde last weekend in Denver. The theme of all of us being both good and evil, of the facades we wear to the world that hide our truth, struck a chord not only with me but with my kids as well. We talked about it afterward, about the truth of the story. No matter how much we think we know about our friends, our family or that weird neighbor next door...we only know what we perceive to be true. That is all. It's best to not compare and to simply accept and appreciate.
Jealousy does a disservice to you and to the person with whom you're jealous. Stop the madness.