Feeling Jealous Can Practically Be Second Nature, But It Negates The Unique Value of Who We Are

Feeling Jealous Can Practically Be Second Nature, But It Negates The Unique Value of Who We Are

The problem with jealousy is it negates so much truth.
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In middle school, I wore t-shirts from Justice, t-shirts from Old Navy that were “scratch and sniff,” and big headbands that pushed back my bushy hair. Most importantly, though, in an age of conformity, I was unapologetically myself. To some degree, I still am.

However, jealousy is an all-consuming shroud that blindfolds me. It is a maze in which I cannot find the exit.

I’m jealous of the way people look: the size of their bodies, the beauty of their eyes. I’m jealous of people who have had good experiences in the same areas I’ve had bad ones. I’m jealous of people with happily married parents and siblings. I’m jealous of people who get better grades than I do. I'm jealous of girls who have boyfriends.

Jealousy is not easy to talk about -- it feels shameful and vulnerable and reeks of insecurity. It’s a way of saying “I’m not perfect,” and it’s not a positive characteristic.

But oh, how it’s real. Brene Brown often talks about how sharing our shame and vulnerability brings us the true connection we long for. Olivia Gatwood talks about how we find each other in the details. I believe in both of these concepts.

The problem with jealousy is it negates so much truth. It negates how we have some things other people want. It negates the strength that comes from struggle and the vast differences of our stories in totality. It negates the fact that every detail of us was created in detail and rooted with purpose.

Olivia Gatwood approaches this through writing odes to aspects of her body that society shames. She finds the good and the authenticity in experiences, body parts, and aspects of herself that may not be widely appreciated. She seems to do so with ease, but I can confirm that finding the positive aspects of the parts and experiences I’m jealous of and ashamed of isn’t my first instinct, and it usually doesn’t win.

However, we must still try.

For example, for the majority of my life, I have struggled with my legs; I often find myself wishing they were smaller. But how blessed am I to have legs that work and carry me to the club meetings and friends I love so dearly. Legs that allow me to dance at parties to my favorite songs. The idea that legs that touch make us one step closer to being a mermaid. The fact is that I am not the only one who doesn’t feel super confident about the size of my thighs. Also, the problem is not really about my thighs.

We did not come out of the womb disliking our bodies. We have not always associated our worth with the space between our thighs. The dislike of our thighs -- or whatever body part or experience or aspect -- comes from the underlying feeling that we are not enough, that we can be defined by one piece of our whole being, that bigger is not better, that we should feel ashamed -- and that’s simply not true. We have to fight the ideas that have been ingrained into us our entire lives. We have to listen to our body's cravings, even if the world tells us we shouldn't. I myself am still figuring out how.

If you are still figuring this out as well, remember this: we were born as enough. We were enough when we fell over and over again as babies trying to walk. We were enough when we failed tests and gained weight. We are enough despite the “weaknesses” we deal with as well as the successes we have achieved.

We were created with mindful purpose with talents and beautiful characteristics that we may not see, but are regardless true and seen by others. We were created to connect with other imperfect human beings. We were born to be happy, to praise the one who created us, to love all people, and to create meaningful relationships and change.

Shame was taught, not inherent. It teaches us that we are bad because of one experience or characteristic. It teaches us that we are not full beings completely built with talents, relationships, inspiring qualities, the ability to connect.

We must fight against this with the truth by knowing we make people laugh and that we are not our bodies, but people within a vessel. We are the ways we support others and live to the best of our abilities. We get up in the morning and we try. We are family members, friends, activists, lovers, artists, athletes. We are the ways we have grown from our struggles, the lessons we have learned, the strengths that comes from pain, the uniquely positive experiences we have lived through, the ways we have loved, and the qualities that no one else has exactly the way we do. We are the strengths we have and the ways our individuality shines and makes us stand out. Recognizing someone else's beauty is not the absence of our own.

I grew from my bad experiences. I have had good experiences that others have not. I have a body that works and therefore fulfills its sole purpose. I may not have married parents, but I have both of them. I may have lesser grades, but I have other accomplishments. I may not have a boyfriend, but I have fulfillment elsewhere and more time to pursue it.

This story is yours as well, in one way or another. Hold onto this when you’re struggling. Know it to be truth, even when it doesn’t feel that way. Feelings aren’t facts.

“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, and more loved than you’ll ever know.” --Winnie the Pooh

Cover Image Credit: Jamiatul Ulama

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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The Subconscious Line Between Empathizing And Sympathizing

Be there with the person instead of for the person.

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Whenever we see someone we love and care about going through a hard time, we always want to make sure that they know we are fully there for them. It's the line that we draw sometimes which we don't even see that establishes the way that we handle these situations. Although we may think it's apparent that those we love know that we care about them, yet it's difficult when we believe that just words can mend a broken heart or person. We tend to forget that actions speak louder than words and those acts of kindness have the ability to speak volumes to someone who's hurting.

We begin to sympathize and check in on people to see how they are doing to make sure they know that we are there for them and present. Even though that is absolutely amazing to text or call someone, we tend to lose touch of the impact we could make by a kind gesture that could make someone's day. Sometimes it's nerve-racking to do so because we don't fully know what someone's going through as we aren't directly in their shoes. If you think back to an experience in your life that you had difficulty, even though the other person supporting you didn't exactly walk the same path as you, there were able to help you get through it.

That's when empathizing comes into the picture which is an act that any human can perform by just listening and feeling out the situation. There's so need to evaluate or figure out what is wrong with another person, your job is to solely listen and show compassion and kindness towards that other person. The more that we do that, the less we have to worry about the difficulty to open up and show emotions and feelings. You'll find that even better friendships and relationships are grown through empathizing and allowing yourself to be there with the person instead of for the person.

Sometimes we subconsciously draw a line between what we think is right versus what could actually be right for the situation. We tend to draw this invisible line of sympathizing for a person rather than empathizing and not allowing for a space to be created for a conversation about something difficult. We tend to fear trusting others and to let them into our clouded windows due to it being too difficult or complicated to understand. The more we allow love into our lives, the easier it is to let that in and explore those relationships and experiences that could be absolutely beautiful.

It's easy to say these things but living them out is another story, it's not simple and it never will be. Yet it's worth a try and letting some emotions into your life and perspective may alter the way that you view your personal relationships and the things that may be keeping you from letting yourself fully feel. Just feeling something is worth a thousand words, but the second that you feel everything it's worth a million.

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