A few weeks ago I came across a Tweet that stuck with me, it read: “Jealousy is love in competition.”
Jealousy, that thing that ‘keeps the haters going,’ right? The desire to have as much or more of what someone else seemingly has. Can you love someone and be jealous of them? Apparently.
I’ve been there. Growing up with sisters (and of course girl friends), it got competitive at times. Although it’s normal, luckily in our case, there was more love than competition; which outweighed those pesky twinges of the self-sabotaging emotion that makes perfectly imperfect people feel less than or cheated. As a teen, I finally recognized what those feeling were, before I had not been able to grasp it–I just knew some times I did not feel good enough in some way in relation to another person. As I realized my insecurities, I began wrestling with them and building confidence. Now in my early twenties, I’m not only identifying my insecurities, I’m striving to learn the root of them so I can grow past them.
Not always easy, but very rewarding. My goal from a young age has always been to not only age, but to mature, develop and not to bring weaknesses from yesteryear into the next. I can honestly say, with much soul-searching and introspection, I’ve learned to nip jealousy in the bud; reminding myself that I received my validation the day God allowed me to enter this world.
While many of us will be the first to scream we have received jealousy from others, not many will admit we are or have ever been jealous of others as well. But being open and honest with ourselves, has healing potential. You’ll be surprised at how others may find strength in your struggle or how much you may grow by challenging yourself to battle your insecurities. Earlier this year Gabrielle Union opened up during her speech at Essence’s Black Women In Hollywood luncheon, bringing many women in the audience to their feet and to tears while stating:
It’s easy to pretend to be fierce and fearless because living your truth takes real courage. Real fearless and fierce women admit mistakes and they work to correct them … Real fearless and fierce women complement other women and we recognize and embrace that their shine in no way diminishes our light and that it actually makes our light shine brighter.
It was an inspiring moment that I believe opened the door for more women to come to terms with our shortcomings. It was refreshing to see a woman who is noted for her beauty and success admit that many times she struggled with something not easily admitted by most. More recently Kelly Rowland has been applauded for sharing her struggles with being in the shadow of Beyonce on the ‘Dirty Laundry’ track.
It just goes to show that whether a celebrity, model, millionairess or everyday woman, no one is exempt from that feeling of self-doubt, sadness or anger that you’re missing something or missing out on something belonging to another. It could even be described as a hollow pain or longing, which as the acronym Queen herself, Iyanla Vanzant would say means: Pay Attention Inward Now.
The raw often untold truth is that we all get jealous. Yes, some more than others of course, but it’s a human emotion that can creep up in the most confident, successful person time-to-time, and is best handled with self-love and inner-evaluation.
It’s easy to feel less than at times when we live in a society that values things over people, assets over attributes and promotes an unhealthy individualistic mindset that causes us to try and one-up each other rather than lift up one another. If I had a dollar for every new song about doing it bigger than the next man/woman in some form or fashion, I’d be … well, doing it bigger than the next person. The insecure desire for other’s to be insecure over one’s possessions or personal achievement—quite the tangled web our culture continues to weave.
Yet, although our social atmosphere can easily stir up jealous tendencies, it’s important that we as women in particular strive to rise above it. We’re often pitted against each other in unnecessary competition and from a young age we’re taught that women are catty and jealous. This doesn’t have to be the case.
It’s important to check this feeling the moment it comes up. And it may come to the point where it’s never an issue. It’s jealousy left unchecked that is dangerous, so in order for it not to turn into it’s much uglier green-eyed, potentially malicious and vindictive cousin, known as envy, whenever we recognize it, we should look into our personal bank of self-worth and constantly work on self-improvement.
If we each are honest with ourselves and put in the inner-work, we can be a part of cultural shift that allows each woman to shine for her personal strengths and talents, without either of us receiving or displaying the J-word.