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.
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.