The Ugly, Green Monster
Throwing jealousy in to the mix of aspirational, anxious millennials
We all know of the Green Monster. They've possessed us and will forever live on among us, feeding off of success stories and all the good things in life. This is dedicated to just those people who cannot, for the sake of everything, just be happy for their friends' successes.
The jealousy I'm talking about is an all-consuming bitterness, something I've personally been noticing in certain people and social circles at this stage of my life. To set the scene, I'm in my early 20s. Everyone seems to be all over the place: internships, work placements, full-time jobs, getting married, travelling the world, or have completely vanished off of social media all together. I guess the keyword here is "seems," specifically in the sense of social media. People post what they want others to see, standard right? I'm definitely not going to post about my recent relationship breakdown or failed job offer, because no one likes an over-sharer. Yet, these people, those with the little green monster whispering sweet-nothings into their ears, seem to believe you have everything you have ever wanted handed to you on a polished silver-platter.
According to them, you've never seen hardship or had to lift a finger for your successes. Because you're naturally clever, you don't need to study. Because you're naturally confident, you can network easily. Because you're a natural artist, you can draw a still-life in a matter of hours, with your eyes closed! You get the message.
This bitterness builds up until they burst or is delivered to you in snarky, snappy comments, gift wrapped in that so-called "biodegradable" wrapping, which takes its sweet time to degrade, so it ends up sitting, uninvited, in your ecosystem for a while. And then you feel shit about telling someone, who's meant to be a friend, about an up-and-coming project you've been working sleepless nights for. Do I even deserve this good thing? This cycle of events, is always followed by forgiveness, because they haven't done anything wrong, right? Just slipped their opinion into a conversation, and covered it with a laugh, nothing to worry about... right? Wrong! At this rate, they should be paying rent for tying those little knots in your stomach, and frankly don't deserve to hear about the amazing things happening in your life.
Your friends/ partners/ family should uplift you. They should thrive off of your happiness and achievements from doing the things you love. I've realised that allowing these people to sit on your mental picnic table of loved-ones ultimately just leads to negativity consuming you're headspace. You'd much rather have an empty table with no worries than one with years worth of chewing gum to scrape off before you feast! Distancing yourself from this energy allows you to bask in the sun and drink as much pink lemonade as you body can take without a worry.
This doesn't necessarily mean jealousy is a bad thing, though. It is a natural human emotion—I'm pretty sure evolutionists have conjured up a theory or two about why we need it for survival. It can be a helpful kick up the backside that forces you to finally finish that piece of prose you haven't touched since last November. But it doesn't mean you have to put up with burdening bouts of it. Ultimately, you should be proud of your success, whether that's getting out of bed in the morning or nabbing a stellar job that thousands of people applied for, after months of gruelling interviews. Don't let people steal your victories. They are yours to relish in and frame for as long as you like!
(PSA: this applies to us as well. If you catch yourself swelling with bitterness, ask yourself why. Maybe you need to stop comparing yourself to others and realise your path is yours and yours alone to change.)