A few days ago I read an article online about a woman whose best friend had lost weight. On the outside she was happy to see her friend look healthy and beautiful. But on the inside, she was dying because of jealousy.
This young woman was getting married soon and she invited her newly thin friend and others to a lunch to plan. The other girls gasped and complimented the friend on her successful weight loss, leaving the young woman feeling worse about her own body.
After lunch, the young lady wanted to go try on wedding dresses and get opinions from her friends. She tried on several, but found they were too small. One of the workers kept commenting loudly that she needed a size 15, embarrassing the poor girl even more. She began to feel shame for her outwardly appearance, making her feel ugly inside.
Her thin friend gave her a bag of her old clothes, all cute and in nice condition, saying she didn’t fit them anymore. The woman snapped and accused her friend of reminding her of her large size. The friend apologetically told her that isn’t what she had meant. The young woman’s anger ebbed away when she realized her friend truly saw her as beautiful, just as she saw her friends. Her self-respect soon came back and she was happily married, feeling more beautiful than ever.
This article was a great reminder to me of self-confidence and jealousy. I think everyone can relate to both. We all look at someone and wish that we had something that they have. It soon can become an obsession, eating us away inside and slowly demeaning our own self-worth.
I am guilty of this. I have a friend who is tall, blond, blue-eyed and beautiful. She is successful, has a great boyfriend and lots of adoring friends surrounding her. She is outgoing, easy to talk to, smart and full of creative energy. She always has the cutest clothes and perfectly styled hair. She is thin and long-legged like every girl in the school wants to be. I am not even kidding when I say this girl belongs on the cover of a magazine.
Throughout this year, I have struggled with my own self-worth because of it. I would look at myself in the mirror and wish I had her long, curly hair. I tried to grow mine out and it’s coming along, but not as fast as I wish. I see her converse easily with anyone she meets, making them laugh and feel right at home. Then I notice how shy and awkward I can be when it comes to socializing. I hear her complain about her weight when I am 13 pounds heavier than she is, making me self-conscious. I have had the chance to read some of her amazing writing and a twinge of envy always strikes me because I wish I could write like that. She would show me her perfect report card and I would want to cry because I worked so hard on mine and it was still lower than hers.
This pattern continued for months, making me begin to loathe my friend. It would surprise me when I found myself wishing to be like her. I became more competitive and sour towards her. All in all, I wasn’t a good friend to her. It made me hate myself all the more because of it.
Then I read the article about the overweight bride to be. It opened my eyes. I looked in the mirror and instead of myself, I saw an ugly green monster obsessed with jealousy. I had focused so much on trying to be her, or better than her, that I had lost who I am. I slowly became ashamed. I next apologized to her.
Once again I looked in the mirror. This time, I saw someone with a unique and rare hair color, cute little freckles on her nose, a small smile and a glow about her. The ugly green monster was no more. I thought back on the year and realized, I had things she wanted. I had my own unique set of talents that set me apart from everyone else. It didn’t make me better than anyone, but it also didn’t make me worse.
I was who I was supposed to be: myself. I found my own self-confidence that day all because I let go of the jealousy I had held inside. It was an important life lesson for me, which I hope will help someone else by sharing.
Next time you are around a mirror, look into it. Don’t just glance in and grimace at the pimple forming. Really look into it and see yourself. This I can guarantee: you will see the person who everyone else sees. Yeah, there will be some flaws. No one is perfect, but among those flaws you will see talent, beauty and that little glow I was talking about. It may not be bright, but it will be there.
Jealousy is a natural part of life; however, a lot of people, including me, choose to let it run the course. I let it consume me and it did me no favors. When you can step aside and let it go, seeing yourself for who you are, you will find beauty, more kindness, and new hope in the world.
Peatross will be a senior at Tooele High School this fall.