Your Jealousy Isn't Flattering

Please don’t tell me “I want what you have” — not unless you want me to run for the hills and hide. Image: Thinkstock.

Jealousy is vampiric. It’s parasitic. It chips away at the foundation of human connection.

“You do realize you’re disgustingly happy right now, don’t you?” she asked, with a furrowed brow and a thin veil of a smile. The smile barely served to mask her scowl — a scowl which was trying with all of its might to shove its way to the fore.

I was happily married and she was going through a tumultuous breakup for the hundredth time… with the same guy. I had spent hours upon hours talking her off ledges, painting hopeful scenarios for her imagination, and serving as a listening ear.

I wasn’t judging her predicament, as I had been in a similar situation a couple of years prior.

I had become well-acquainted with the looming phantoms of heartache and regret.

However, I had since fallen in love, gotten married, and worked with a fierce determination to climb out of the ditch I had spent too long rolling around in. I had started anew, and I wanted to be an example that she, too, could rewrite her script to contain happier pages.

My friend readily expressed how happy she was for me. Although I badly wanted to believe that her happiness was genuine, her contrasting symphony of vibes and occasional passive-aggressive jabs told me otherwise.

One day she called me as I was undressing for a massage — a massage I was receiving in hopes of relieving the unrelenting stiffness which had plagued my neck and, thus, robbed me of a decent night’s sleep for weeks.

I sent her a text message: I know you’re having a rough day. I promise I’ll call you when I’m done. I’m about to get a massage.

Her response was: Ugh. I’m so jealous of your life.

Really? Eww.

How did she expect me to respond to that? Was I supposed to be flattered? Was that designed to entice me to continue serving as her emotional and mental cheerleader? To encourage me to further chant and perform high-kicks for the possibility of her happiness, while she expressed opposition to my own?

I stood there next to the massage table — nearly naked, shivering, stiff, and in pain — while scratching my head with a blend of annoyance and disbelief. I was unsure as to how I should respond.

I know not everyone is in a position to get a massage, but she didn't even consider that that decision had a context. I hadn’t enlightened her about the details of my ailment because I didn’t care to unload my problems onto her already-burdened shoulders.

I also didn’t think I needed to hold a press conference to announce that my neck was fucking killing me.

She was so hyper-focused on her own problems, it likely would have blown right past her anyway.

I’ve never cared for the way our culture uses jealousy so flippantly. Frankly, I find it a little creepy. When someone informs me that they are jealous of any aspect of my life, it makes me feel as though they are eager and ready to suck my blood — like they’re secretly concocting a devious plan to juice my every victory and savor every drop for themselves.

When a person expresses that they are “jealous” of the flowers my husband gave me, the beach vacation I recently documented, or the latest publication I received — no matter how much I may otherwise enjoy their friendship — it makes me want to slip quietly out of the back door, never to be seen by them again. It makes me want to gather everything that I hold most dear and politely swim away with the dignified gracefulness of a swan.

Jealousy is vampiric. It’s parasitic. It chips away at the foundation of human connection.

I believe we have a responsibility to be gentle with one another’s feelings. If a friend or family member of mine is walking through a dark valley and I am standing at the top of a peak, I am careful not to dangle my victories in anyone’s face. I try to be delicate.

We all go through struggles in life that aren't our fault, and I am sure I will expect the same courtesy in return during any future storms I may weather.

However, I do not believe any happy person should be nailed to a cross or confined to a puddle of penance just because someone they know is wallowing in misery. I should not be made to feel guilty for the victories for which I’ve worked hard — not a single one of them. I will not apologize for them, disregard them, throw shade over them, or discuss them in a hushed whisper. No one should have to.


 

Why is jealousy such a prevalent epidemic? It isn’t productive. It doesn’t serve to remedy anything. It never brings forth any level satisfaction of the jealous party's desire.


 

One person’s successful venture or exalting victory — regardless of what it is — does not take away the possibility of anyway else’s. This world is vast, and there is plenty of room for everyone’s love and success stories (if they desire them).

So, why then, do we often indulge in such a toxic concoction?

My mother died when I was 6 years old, and although I was blessed with a wonderful step-mother whom I love dearly, I’ve still always observed mother-daughter pedicure/shopping sprees with glittering eyes and profound longing.

I wanted to be like all of my friends who inherited their mother’s smile or mannerisms, and complained about how “annoying” and intrusive their mothers were. I wanted the phone to ring too many times in a row so I could roll my eyes and announce to every listening ear, “Ugh, that’s my mom. She won’t stop calling.”

I wanted to be annoyed and intruded upon by a mother, too. However, I've always carefully warded off jealousy and resentment within myself. In fact, such observances always injected me with delight — with hope. They brought to mind all of the things I intend to one day share with my daughter (in the event that life grants me one).

Similarly, when I felt confined inside of the walls of a toxic relationship, I never begrudged my friends any form of romance or bliss I encountered within my social media feeds. In fact, it gave me hope and inspiration. It reminded me of what would one day be possible in my own life.

So why, then, is jealousy such a prevalent epidemic? It isn’t productive. It doesn’t serve to remedy anything. It never brings forth any level satisfaction of the jealous party's desire.

All it does is spread like a venom and destroy the possibility of true connection (which is what we all want at the end of the day, anyway).

So, please don’t tell me you’re jealous of me. Please don’t tell me “I want what you have” — not unless you want me to run for the hills and hide.

In the wise words of Oprah, “You can’t be friends with someone who wants your life.”

If you like this article, please share it! Your clicks keep us alive!

Articles You'll Love