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Archive for the tag “jealousy”

Motivation Is the By Product of Healthy Jealousy

Many moons ago, before any of you even heard of my blog or started reading it, I did an early post about how high-achieving friends can either make you feel absolutely crappy about yourself, and you can secretly hate them and let that hate and jealousy fester inside you, or you can sail on their tailwinds, watch and learn how they navigate life and get you some of that too.

Now, I don’t mean be a leech. But I do mean really take a look at how they approach life, the things they want and their motivation behind the things that they want. What do they care about? Are they happy? How do they maintain the happy? How do other people respond to them?

The people I know who are doing well at life, are a) just living it.

They are, in my mind fearless. But I’m sure they have their own insecurities and struggles, but they make things happen. They take a deep breath, swallow hard, and just go.

b) they are good people and everyone can feel it.

No one is a stranger. I get baffled at how there are some friends of mine, where I could be in any city with them anywhere and either they know people or the new people they meet fall in love with them, or they know some mutual friend like six degrees of Kevin Bacon.

c) they have a moral compass that guides them and they stick to it.

There are certain things that they just won’t do. Or if something ain’t workin, they let it the hell go and figure out a new plan, but they won’t sell their soul. And if they sold their soul, they are going to admit it. Then when they do, I tell them it’s ok, it was only a lease, you’ll get it back.

d) they are actually playing it by ear. I guess that’s a lot like the first item on my list.

e) they refuse to limit themselves.

The friends who decide they want to leave the country for a while and travel internationally, the friends who go back to school, go back again, start a business, fail start another, decide to join the circus or fix babies in foreign countries with cleft lip. They just say screw it, I’ma follow my heart.

f) they have a past and usually it’s juicy or very weird and totally interesting.

g) they tend to be the least judgemental out of everyone else you know. Hmmm. That makes me think. The most judgemental people I know tend to be the ones who haven’t gone anywhere, haven’t tried anything, don’t have different kinds of friends. I guess that makes sense.

So, in my long-winded intro, the inspiration from this post comes from what I call a tennis match between two friends I know, who I introduced at a concert last night. Both are serious world travelers and are actually a lot a like in terms of just having magnetic personalities. Naturally, they hit it off.

Others would think it was a pissing match of who’s seen what all over France, but oddly, a gal who’s only been to Canada and Mexico, did not see it that way.

I saw people bonding over a shared experience, and fueling my appetite to go, so I can have an awesome time and swap a story or two also. I didn’t feel left out, I didn’t feel like they were elitist. Their excitement wasn’t bragging to me because my spirit didn’t allow it. They were my friends, and it makes me happy that my friends can even do things like that. It was a nudge, saying, “Girl, you better get you some too. We did it, so can you, or better yet, what are you waiting for, let’s go!”

One of the friends, was actually cool with the artist and afterwards, we got to chill and chat!!! I was proud of myself for keeping my cool, even though to even be in the presence of super-talented, super cool people, it makes you wonder if everything you said is corny once it comes out of your mouth. It did make me feel better when he laughed at my jokes while sucking the marrow out of a chicken wing (just like a normal person). I even got a hug at the end of the night. I also love when celebrities introduce themselves and use their first name, like dude, I just paid $40 to see you. I know who you are, but it was still cool, and nice, and polite nonetheless. I guess I’d be pissed if he shook my hand and said, “You paid $40 to see me, you know my name already.”

Even in that moment, I thought I was totally blessed. I know great people who share their gifts and talents and even their celebrity friends. Yes, I walked back to a now 12-year-old car with tape holding up a window that is off track (next on my list to fix), but damn it. It was all good.

You all know I’d been feeling crappy about my lot in life recently.

And hearing my good friends talk about their travels in Paris, and their jobs, and their disillusionment with D.C. and how they do want to make a difference in the lives of others, then flip it back to hip hop and street slang, then talk about how it was such a shame we missed the Vice Presidential debates, I was back in my element. I felt life rushing back into my spirit.

You need at least one super awesome talented friend who leads an amazing life.

And you probably have one.

There’s a fellow blogger who is a friend in my head. She writes a blog called, “The Usual Bliss.”

I kind of lust for her life. It seems the complete opposite of mine and that’s what makes my attraction to her blog so fascinating to me. It’s filled with travel, love, her man and her faithful wonderdog. She’s always either whipping up awesome food, and traipsing through nature’s beauty mostly in Utah and other parts of America, that I really never thought I’d want to visit. (I’m no nature girl. At all. Think the little black girl from Troop Beverly Hills.)

But she’s really got this black chick from Long Island itching to get a ticket to Park City. I’m so serious. I told one of my adventurous homegirls that we got to go.

She usually takes a bunch of snapshots from her life and she just shares them. She’ll write about some of her adventures or recipes, and her pending nuptials (so awesome happy for her). Whether it’s a glass of wine sitting on a table, or her dog chasing something across a calm stream, or a photo of her hanging with her very best people, her words and photos really make you feel like you’re spending time with a friend. She’s made me think of  going to places like West Virgina to see the leaves change one weekend. I totally dig and get her point. You’ve got to stop and find the bliss in the little things.

I don’t even know her personally, but I can bet she lives by the list of things I mentioned the friends I’m jealous of in a healthy way live by.

I just thank God, I didn’t have a spirit of, “wow, my life sucks compared to yours, “but instead, “wow, I need to figure out a way to travel internationally, like now,” or, “maybe instead of killing myself to find a job in this area, maybe I should widen my net.” I’ve moved before, and it’s opened me up to so much.

Instead of comparing and sulking and assuming their lives are better, I used that moment to be opened up to more possibilities.

That’s a huge gift my über awesome, successful, smart, connected, caring friends gave and continue to me. I’ll always love them for that.

I smiled all the way home, listening to the C.D. of the wing-sucking, light-hearted, nerd at heart (we discussed number 2 pencils, mechanical pencils and how they suck and made up periodic elements and whether or not he makes fun of people in the audience in his head while performing) musician I’d just met, who thought my “black nerds unite” shirt was awesome.

Then I thought, “Shit. I should have worn a shirt I DESIGNED!”

P.S. Aside from the Sister Act 2 Fundraiser featuring Whoopi singing “Get Up Off That Thang.” “Cookie Time” from Troop Beverly Hills (featuring the sassy little girl I mentioned earlier) is one of the best fundraising scenes in a motion picture film.

It’s Friday. I’m feeling generous! I’ma give yall a bonus. “Get Up Offa That Thang/Dancin In the Street.”

Rant Warning: The Dangerous Act of Comparison

Grau Cordin/Freedigitalphotos.net

A good friend who is in her 30s told me over a few glasses of wine, that if women were truly honest with themselves and especially their women friends, our relationships wouldn’t be so complicated and we could combat the jealousy that sometimes seeps in.

She’s right.

In that moment, I told her that there are times I am downright jealous of my friends– her included.

I want what they have. There, I said it.

Some of my friends have awesome cars. I have an 11-year-old car that’s hanging on that I won’t finish paying for like two months from now.

Some of my friends have beautiful homes. I have a modest apartment in an ok neighborhood.

Some of my friends make way more money than me.

I watched a friend purchase a handbag that cost more than the rent I was struggling to pay at the time. She wanted me there not to rub it in my face, but because she was proud she could finally afford something like that and wanted me to be there. We both dreamed of shopping in those stores as broke college kids. She had arrived. Me, I’m still stuck in traffic right about now.

I was there, I was proud, but at the same time I was nauseous, envious and bitter. I was paying for gas with couch change and waiting until my direct deposit kicked in so I could eat at the McDonald’s dollar menu at 12:01 a.m.. Those were the worst financial times for me ever.

Back to the honesty, I eventually told her how I felt that day and I knew she didn’t set out to make me feel like a broke-ass loser, and after a teary exchange, all was well.

Some of my friends get to travel around the world. I’ve been as far as south as Mexico (had to work two jobs to get there) and as far north as Canada.

Some of my friends are in solid relationships. Well, you saw my blog, the one I wasn’t afraid to write anymore. I’m totally not a candidate for a solid relationship right now, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting the same thing too.

Comparisons are a bitch. Facebook doesn’t help. I say over and over again Facebook is a PR machine for regular people. You can edit your life and make it seem kick ass to everyone else. You can bend the facts. Case in point: A friend of mine told me about his 11-year-old student whose Facebook page lists him as a graduate of Georgetown University and CEO of Chuckie Cheese.

It makes no sense to me, because the people who really know you know the truth and think you are stupid for lying and there’s no need to impress the people you aren’t really that cool with anyway. They really don’t care. Or if they do, they are lying about their lives too.

My life really isn’t that bad. I’m thankful for what I have, I really am. But I just have these moments. It’s torture, because I don’t wish bad things on these people. These are my friends. I’m just temporarily jealous.

I even said a prayer to God, to look ahead, and not look around me. To stay focused and actually get the strength to make my life better on my own terms, take control of the things I can control and not try to compare myself to others.

I’m competitive by nature. And to me, the essence of competition is comparison. Performance has to be measured and someone is just going to always be better than someone else at something. That’s life.

The thing is, for every great thing that’s happened to each of my friends, they’ve totally paid a high cost for it and worked hard to achieve it. I roll with great people. They’ve gone through things I probably couldn’t have handled. While those material things are sweet, there are situations and struggles I know for a fact those friends would gladly exchange those material things for.

Part of being grown is being honest.  Some days when I feel crappy about myself, I compare myself to other people. Real talk. Even when I know in certain aspects, their lives aren’t necessarily “better” than mine, I’m still jealous.



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