Wednesday, May 23, 2007

someone wash away this green

Yesterday, I found myself attacked by jealousy. Attacked probably isn't the right word at all, as I don't think of jealousy as some external enemy that preys on us. I think of jealousy as something that each of us hold within us, something that we must fight within ourselves with love and contentment. It's so crazy to feel such an irrational jealousy rising up toward one of my closest friends. Feelings such as that remind me that as nice as I am to others, as much as I want to make others happy, I'm really rather selfish deep down and usually want my happiness over others. I'm not a Calvinist, but I sorta do believe in the total depravity of man. I don't agree with Anne Frank, I don't think people are all good at heart. I think just about everyone wants to do good, but I think the natural tendency is self-satisfaction over sacrifice and love for others. Whatever the natural state of man, I hate these feelings of jealousy and selfishness and possession within me.

Yesterday I felt jealous, but today I don't. How did I fight this jealousy? I employed love, reminding myself that I loved the friend I was jealous of, and that I shouldn't feel a sense of competition with her. I prayed, remembering the cross, remembering the one who humbled himself, and asked for the jealousy to be taken away, and asked for His humility and love. I used reason, and told myself that in this case, there was no logical reason to feel jealous, that she didn't even have what I wanted, that I was being irrational and emotional. I tried contentment, I remembered my blessings and was thankful for all the wonderful things in my life and for the place that I'm in. And today, I feel content and I feel at peace. Mostly.

I hate that this isn't the first time that I've felt jealous of this friend. I hate that when I'm around her, I often compare myself to her and feel that she's my competitor. I hate that I let her little comments against my appearance or abilities get to me so much. I know she loves me as I love her and I know that she doesn't mean any harm. It's all playful jest, but it still hurts me. It doesn't hurt me in the typical way, I don't want to run and cry, it makes me want to stand up and prove myself. Prove that I am beautiful, successful, smart, and all that. But why do I feel like I should prove anything to a friend? It's not her, it's me. But maybe it's not. I don't feel this way around other friends. I feel unconditionally loved and accepted with all of you, and I have nothing to prove and nothing to hide. Maybe it is her. Maybe I either need to suck it up and try not to worry about proving myself, or maybe I need to talk to her about it. I have no clue how to start a conversation like that. It scares the shit out of me.


Cara said...

kelly, i have been so guilty of being jealous of close friends. in fact, i think i get more jealous of close friends than people i don't know. i think the first steps in combatting our jealousy is recognizing it and praying about it. i know that has helped me. (oh, not talking about jealousy we have toward one another, by the way. at least, i don't feel jealousy toward you. except your hair. and your car. okay, and maybe your waist...) moving on; i just wanted to let you know that i have so been where you are, and the thought of starting that conversation scares me too, so i never have.

if walled in climb up said...

Oooh, Kelly, that is such a difficult feeling to quench. :/ I'm sorry you're having a hard time with that. Maybe it might help to remember that people most often say derogatory things because they have insecurities deep down and need to make themselves look better than others in order to feel good. In fact, I'm pretty sure we've all done this at some point or another. It is so hard to only compete with ourselves instead in others. Dr. Phil says that only you have the capability to define your personal version of how to win at life. (I think this has some truth to it, although I think there are some pre-defined methods of winning at life, as defined in Christianity.)

Not sure if I was going anywhere in particular with that. But if you need to talk, I'd love to listen. And if I ever say anything that makes you feel like that, please gently tell me! Kelly, you have so many qualities and things that would make the vast majority of the world jealous: you're truly and deeply compassionate, have wonderful people skills, are one of the most emotionally healthy people I know, are extremely smart as well as industrious (which are not always common together), you're beautiful (inside and out!), you have a strong life calling both religiously and career-wise... Many people would give more than you'd know to have just a few of the things in that list.

But I'm not saying all that means you don't have the right to get jealous from time to time. That is human nature and I think it is part of how we develop as people--sometimes we get jealous and then have to sort it out how to deal and how we may want to change to fill certain voids.

Well, this is a long comment. I guess all I really need to say is I love you so much for exactly who you are. : )

Martha Elaine Belden said...

i can pretty much guaranteed... it's a little bit of both of you... but a lot of her.

i have a person in my life who draws this sort of thing out of me, and it's made me very confused. i (like you) am not competitive by nature. i'm rarely, if ever, competitive with anyone else, in fact. but her insecurities lead her to say hurtful things to me under the guise of jest.

but it's still a sin pattern that's being drawn out of you... and you're right to despise and fight it. i'm proud of you for praying through it and recognizing it. if this friend is anything like my friend... talking to her will most likely do nothing but anger her. this may be one of those friendships in which you just have to step back, beg the Lord to make your love for her like His and hold her at an arm's distance.

i hope this helps... it's an un-fun place to be.

if walled in climb up said...

Aw, I know you weren't writing it for stroking. I love you, too! : ) It was so good talking with you last night.