I’m envious of many people. Incredible business success (that comes from massive amounts of hard work and many air miles logged) has afforded my brother and sis-in-law a life I only dream about (and one I happily take advantage of whenever I visit.) But, I’m so wildly proud of my brother and what he has achieved that that overshadows any feelings of animosity. My sister-in-law has had the luxury of not working outside the home (note V that I did not say “stay at home”) and has truly been able to fully volunteer in her son’s school and in the community, learn new things of her choosing, and manage (very well) a home that is rarely still or empty. I have friends who travel extensively, shop exclusively and/or have access to luxuries that make me squeal like a 9-year old girl at a Justin Bieber concert. I may envy some of these things but know it is simply not my life and most of the time I accept that graciously and live vicariously through them. Jealously just doesn’t enter into these relationships.
But…..there are times when that green-eyed monster does rear its ugly head. I’m not talking about being jealous of the awesome tickets a friend scored to a concert or because they went on a fabulous trip. I’m talking about being jealous of them in a way that makes you (or me) behave badly. It’s not often and generally not directed at any one person overall. More often than not, it’s situational – isolated to once incident or one topic
I know I’ve been quick to point out flaws or the possible downside (no matter how remote that possibility may be) to good news or a spectacular achievement. I try and catch myself but sometimes the jealous edge slips in and I hear that my words of congratulations were curt and less than genuine. I don’t always understand why someone would do “that” when another option (likely more in line with something I also could achieve) is out there. I may respond with “That’s great but…..” I’m not proud of these moments but I can’t criticize someone else doing it if I’m not willing to own up to my own inner jealous bitch.
I’ve been on the receiving end of this, too. There was one instance where someone blew a gasket – I mean really yelling at me about something I was doing (that had nothing to do with them and had no affect on them whatsoever). This person was clearly projecting crap they were experiencing but when I tried to remove myself from the conversation, I was told that I can’t just run away from my problems. WTF? I have had to pull back (or stop altogether) communicating with some friends because their reaction to something I chose to do was so angry and resentful (and unrelenting) that it actually made me question my decision. Was I doing the right thing? Was I making the right decision? I don’t know who I was angrier with – them for projecting that onto me or at myself for allowing them to make me question myself. Note: to my friends that talked me down from that ledge – you rock!
Being on the receiving end of someone else’s jealousy pretty much sucks. Some relationships have survived and some are forever changed. I’ve been told more than once that it’s not me – it’s the other person’s issue and as right as that may be – it still sucks. I’ve certainly tried to learn from it. I’m so much more conscious of how I react and push whatever jealous feeling I may have to the back, be happy and wish my friend the very best. Because I really do want that for them.
There is much to envy about my friends. In some cases, they are what I aspire to be when I grow up. In other cases, they are doing or have done things I only dream about. And really, their generosity is overwhelming. But jealous of them? No. Jealousy is a bitch and I just don’t want her around.