Jealousy or Lack of It

I think one of the best things chronic illness has given me is perspective.  Part of coping for me was the realization that there will always be someone better or worse than you.  That in turn practically erased jealousy for me.  I’m human so I still get a bit jealous sometimes, but it’s pretty short lived.  My best friend from high school was consumed by her jealousy of me.  Although the way she put it, I was trying to assert my superiority over her.  I was valedictorian of our high school, thin, attractive, tall (6’0″) but that didn’t change the fact that I spent my high school years wanting to be anyone but myself.  I had my first bout of anorexia at 10 years old and my most serious one at 17 years old, self-punishment for being a failure.  In high school I was jealous of her.  She was more popular, had a nicer family, and things just came easier to her.  I wanted her life.  I realized she never knew me at all, and that perhaps we were only good friends because I was clinging to shadows of the past.

Friends

Me and My High School Best Friend 

Five years ago, when my health spiraled downward, I could barely make it out of the house.  I saw all my friends on Facebook having fun, and I was unable to even get off the couch due to debilitating chronic pain.  I relapsed into anorexia because I just wanted to starve myself until I disappeared.  I remember looking at everyone else and envying them because they didn’t have a torn hip labrum.  Unfortunately my health kept getting worse, and I was forced to try to find happiness where I could.  My friends are amazing people, and they have helped me in my pursuit of happiness.  I lost my real life friends when my health deteriorated, but these friends I made over the internet were like my soul mates.  I had never connected so deeply with others as I did with them.  I have visited several of them, and will visit more once my health improves.

I think joining support groups for those with hip problems and EDS helped me a lot.  I saw some women going through even worse health issues than my own.  I realized that maybe someone else had more money than me, but would I really be a happier person in a bigger house?  No.  Would I be happier if I was more attractive?  No.  My friends love me because of who I am, not for what I look like.  Would I be happier if I was smarter?  No.  Most people that I’ve known that are smarter than me are not happier people.  I think being really intelligent causes it’s own issues.  Ignorance is bliss. . .

I think the concept of being jealous is a bit strange because it doesn’t make sense logically.  Let’s say you are jealous of Person A because they are smarter.  Suppose you become as smart as Person A.  Then there’s Person B that’s smarter than you.  So where does it end?  If you base your happiness on how you compare to others you won’t ever be happy.  I think it’s an instinctual feeling to be jealous, and I remember struggling with it when I was younger.  It comes up and rears it’s ugly head every now and then, but I just lop it off, and keep going on with my life.  In general, I’m genuinely happy when others do well.  A friend of mine asked me if I was a bit upset because my sister didn’t have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome like I did (genetically it’s a 50% chance since our mother has it).  I was like O.O  Wait, why would I be upset because she doesn’t have it?  I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy, and certainly not my sister, someone I love.  I’m so glad she doesn’t have it.  It surprised me that some people think that way.

As you age, do you find yourself less jealous?  Maybe this is something that comes from getting older.

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6 thoughts on “Jealousy or Lack of It

  1. Wow, I’m surprised by that question about your sister too! My goodness. Good perspective to have that there will always be people better or worse off. I guess it’s so hard not to do the comparing thing, but it really is a waste of time. Not comparing is a beautiful thing.

    • Yes, things became a lot better when I learned not to compare myself to others. It allowed me to focus my attention and energy on being the best person that I can be. Yeah, I was pretty taken aback by my friend’s comment about my sister. I’m so happy she’s healthy :$ Sometimes I wish ignorant or cruel people could spend a day or two in my body to give them perspective on how difficult it is to live with chronic pain. But I don’t want anyone to actually have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome or any other sickness.

  2. I find myself feeling jealous all the time (unfortunately) and I hate it. I know I shouldn’t because we all lead different lives, but I always keep wondering, “well, if I’d done something different, would I be in their position now?” It’s especially hard because I know a lot of my classmates from high school have gone on and accomplished a lot of great things.
    For a long while now, I’ve read that the jealousy feeling and caring about what others think of you diminishes as you get older. I suppose it’s a stage we all have to live through :\

    • It’s tough because you can’t help how you feel. I do remember being jealous pf others when I was younger. I think some of it is actually rooted in our culture. Jenna Marbles did an interesting video on why girls hate each other. Not sure if you’ve heard of her, but she is a Youtube star I guess you could say. Most of her videos are comedy, but she addresses serious issues from time to time. Here’s a link to this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfW8deSlsiA

      For me it really helped to take a step back and realize that someone else’s achievements did not diminish my own. In the past year I’ve been working hard to reclaim my life since I shut down several years ago when my health steeply declined. What Jenna Marbles said, letting go of the fact that you will never be the best, smartest, prettiest, most popular, etc. takes the pressure off. I was talking to my husband about one of my friends and he asked me if she was cute. I was like, what does that have to do with anything? Why is her worth in society tied to her looks? I feel like girls are constantly being ranked on their looks, unfortunately.

      I do think you’re right in the fact that the feeling of jealousy wanes as you get older. I think chronic illness sped it along for me XD Just hang in there, and keep trying to be the best person you can be because that is all you can do in life. You are still pretty young and have so much time left in your life to be awesome 😀 It might help to start with little things. That’s what I did since I couldn’t control the big things in my life. It’s much easier said than done, but I think I’m a happier person now with all of my health issues then I was before I even had chronic pain. And being happy made me realize it didn’t matter if I wasn’t the best anymore.

  3. Fantastic post! Through my hip journey, I feel like I’ve really learned to let go of my jealousy of others and appreciate what I have been given. I used to be really jealous of my friend who has never had any bills and will have all of her college paid or of my friends who have graduated already or my friend who got hooked up with a $100k/year job with no experience or education. I’m realizing that none of that matters since I am not them and they are not me. After all, how do I compare myself to somebody with completely different genetics, upbringing, opportunities, etc…? I’ve come a long way with what I have and so have they. This is a great reminder, so thank you!

    • I’m glad to hear it 🙂 It’s definitely difficult in the beginning. I remember I couldn’t even look at Facebook for the first year of my hip journey because I was jealous of everyone that didn’t have chronic pain, which was most people XD But over time I found happiness in places I didn’t expect, and I’m a much happier person overall because my happiness doesn’t depend on material things. Yes, that is very true, life isn’t fair. I remember asking God why me. I don’t think he has an answer or that there is one. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. All we can do is try to make the most of our own lives given the raw material and work on finding our own happiness. It took me many years to realize that. My sister used to remind me how strong I was given my crappy health situation, and I realized she was right. I’ve had a few friends that have had brief run-ins with pain, but it only lasted for like a few days or a week. That was enough to completely change their perspective on chronic pain. You’ve been through a lot hip-wise too, and it’s very tough. But that which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger 🙂

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