October 19, 2016

Jealousy Is Natural – Even When You’re A Strong, Independent Woman

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Unsplash, Gabriel Nunes
Unsplash, Gabriel Nunes

I felt jealous today. A true, stomach dropping, jaw clenching jealousy, fueled by insecurity and uncertainty. A jealousy that provoked an anxiety attack. A jealousy that left my face flushed and heart pounding, and a jealousy that I have not encountered since I was a teenager who consistently lacked any sort of self-confidence or worth.

I couldn’t deal with it. As my heart sank to the bottom of my chest, I was left with the same cruel thoughts in my head that gave me hell a lifetime ago. It seemed like it only took a mere five minutes for me to revert back to a mindset that I’d spent years ridding myself of. The all too dreadful sensation of a fuzzy brain and blurred vision consumed me without hesitation. I threw a book across the room and punched my headboard.

These days, it is unheard of for me to feel jealous for more than a fleeting minute. I’ve become so efficient at talking myself out of it that it’s easily been a non-issue for the last five or six years. I am confident and self-efficient. I am a woman who knows her self-worth, and I sure as hell don’t let the actions of others define my overall quality as a person.

This wasn’t supposed to happen. I was so angry with myself. I was also confused, because it didn’t make any sense. Why now? I wasn’t this pathetic and needy person anymore. I was strong, happy, confident and light-hearted. So why did I find myself yet again on the floor of the bathroom struggling to breathe?

The worst part of it all was that nothing actually happened. The irrational behavior was brought on by me feeling threatened by a woman who had never done a thing to me. With the mention of a name paired with a smile, I suddenly felt small, unimportant, and forgotten.

I couldn’t stop myself from hearing, “He thinks she’s amazing,” and “She will replace you” over and over in my brain no matter how hard I pressed my hands to my ears. I felt sick. I was humiliated by how adolescent my feelings seemed.

A twenty-one year old woman is not supposed to be crying over the fact that a different woman was receiving attention from someone she cared about. The innocent story he was telling about her became a gateway for my self-torturing visuals and scenarios that were nowhere near the reality.

There was no reason for me to be acting this way. I could feel myself becoming hostile, hear my mouth rattling off as many hurtful sentences as I could muster, and most importantly see the puzzled and offended response to the train wreck I was quickly turning in to.

What I was doing was unfair. I had no right to act this malicious towards a dear friend. Frankly, I knew all of this while I was unloading spiteful comments one right after another. It’s pretty crazy how jealousy is able to make someone unrecognizable; maybe that’s why they call it the little green monster.

And as someone who normally prides herself on being sympathetic and kind-hearted, I still don’t understand why jealousy gives me the ability to feel satisfaction from making undeserving people feel like they’ve done something wrong.

And even though the self-deprecating thoughts in my head today made me terrified I was truly still just as insecure and petty as I once was, I can’t let myself believe that. I have changed drastically as a woman, and while I will never fully understand why it happened to me, I am much better off reminding myself that it is in fact normal and human. I hope I don’t have an episode like that again anytime soon, but I think I have a lot to learn and grow from.

To listen to the negative thoughts in my head is to give up, and the day that I stop fighting them is the day they become true. TC mark

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