Instead of feeling a spark of inspiration when I hear success stories about people my age and younger, I am knocked down by a wave of jealousy. Knowing there are others out there who have reached their destination long before my feet have even hit the gravel of my path makes me feel horrible about myself. It makes me feel like I am not good enough and will never be good enough.
I am slowly learning the main reason for my unhappiness is comparisons. I compare my success to my peers. I compare my beauty to the smooth-skinned, flaw-free women I follow on Instagram. I compare the amount of money I make. I compare my love life. I compare my voice and my smile and my laugh.
I am never satisfied. I never feel good about myself. On the diamond-rare occasions when I look in the mirror and actually feel pretty for a change, the feeling never lasts. It fades away the second I step out of the bubble of my house and see another girl with shinier hair and better contour. When I realize that, no matter how hard I work on my appearance, I will never be the most beautiful one in the room.
I am slowly realizing how self-destructive my jealousy has become. I can never fully enjoy a moment because I am stuck inside of my head, listing out all of the ways I could have done better. I am always stressed. Anxious. Paranoid. Insecure. I feel like an outsider in every room because, in my mind, everyone has something I do not have. Everyone has a handle on themselves except for me.
I am slowly learning how invasive my jealousy has become. It has ruined relationships because I have had trust issues with people who did not deserve my doubt. It has ruined my friendships because I have gotten defensive with people who only wanted what was best for me. It has ruined my self-confidence because it’s hard to think highly of myself when my mind is constantly replaying a highlight reel of my most embarrassing moments.
I am slowly learning how tiring it is to suffer from jealousy. I am sick of feeling like I am not good enough. I want to look at others without judgement, without malice. I want to like them. I want to like myself.
I am slowly learning to stop hating myself as a result of admiring others. I am attempting to replace my anger with admiration. I can appreciate someone’s beauty without feeling like I am a witch in comparison. I can celebrate someone’s success without criticizing myself for falling behind them. I can be happy for other people without feeling sorry for myself.
I am slowly realizing life is not a competition against others, but against myself. The only comparison I should ever make is the me of today versus the me of yesterday. As long as I am consistently stepping forward instead of letting myself slide backward, I should be proud.