let’s talk about jealousy, baby

I sang that title out to Salt N’ Pepa  – it might be stuck in your head now, but this post isn’t going to be as snappy as some 90’s song.

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I have a really hard time admitting when I’m jealous (and it’s that much worse to write about it). More so because it honestly doesn’t happen to me that often, other than that period of time I wished I was Claire Danes (circa 1994).

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But seriously.

Anyway, when jealousy does invade my thoughts, it hits me twice as hard. I like to think of myself as pretty secure and comfortable in my skin – and that’s whether it relates to my appearance, life, status, whatever. I don’t look at other people and wish I had what they had, because I like my life – and myself. If I decide I don’t, I work to change it – then it’s my problem, and my responsibility to do something about it.

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Even so, it still happens, and I hate the feelings it brings to the surface when it does. I hate seeing a post or some news and instead of being happy for the person, you just feel ugly inside, seemingly out of your control.

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There’s something about admitting it, about vocalizing the feeling that gives it life somehow. I also have thought – “but wait, I give other people advice, I can’t admit that… ”

Except that is exactly why I am writing about it.

We are all human, and it’s normal to have these feelings. You have to embrace it and see what the message is behind the emotion – and be honest with yourself.

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I think about my goals and career quite often, and as such, am constantly planning for and adjusting my trajectory. Most days, I feel right on track, but sometimes I struggle to lend worth to what I’ve already accomplished and worry how that translates to my overall success. At times, I even worry if I signed up for the wrong race altogether.

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We all know there are certain societal expectations for what “successful” looks like. Hustle, hustle, hustle. Popping bottles of rosé poolside while working remotely (obviously Instagramming all of the above). A huge salary with matching title. You get the idea.

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Social media constantly shows us what to strive for, and though I am not one to follow the crowd, I have wondered exactly what does it all mean if I don’t do or achieve said certain things? The questions are involuntary, but persistent nonetheless.

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So the ugly truth is, I am not immune – I totally fall prey to self-doubt, and the green-eyed monster has definitely paid me a visit. Plural.

I’m far from materialistic, pretty logical, and don’t feel threatened by people that take themselves too seriously. Catch me on any normal day, and not only do I know my worth, I think I’m pretty kick-ass, too.

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However, as I was scrolling through Instagram today (damn you, IG), I saw that a writer I know quit her job and went freelance full-time – it’s official. She also found this cute co-working spot in NYC, I mean, SO cute, and the flames of envy burned even brighter.

Ahh, the power of social media. It can be both a blessing and a curse.

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I want to write full time too… Even though I haven’t planned for it and done the work necessary to make it a reality, it’s a hope and desire in the back of my head. But right now, I want it that much more, because SHE achieved it. And, I’m jealous because I know she put the work into it… and it actually happened. Ugh.

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Impostor Syndrome should be labeled a disease (and boy, is it becoming an epidemic).

The thing is, I’ve done this before – before I knew better about ignoring the rules of comparison. I began unconsciously chasing the success I had seen someone else achieve, thinking that must be my key to happiness; one day I took a step back and asked myself what I was hoping to find. I was chasing a dream that wasn’t even mine, and sadly I didn’t even realize it for quite some time. Now I make sure to take stock of my actual feelings before I let the green haze lead me astray.

 

Don’t get so caught up in the idea of “succeeding” that you lose the idea of what success really means to you. This definition is personal, and only you can decide what it is. Make sure what you’re chasing after is your dream and not someone else’s ideal.

 

I’ve realized that your title, salary, or career achievements, relationship, whatever, do not speak to how successful you are or will be (and, social media does not always paint a truthful reality). Real, lasting success originates from identifying what fulfills you most, and then allowing those things to influence your work and other life choices.
Remember, your career (or ‘insert other important thing here’) is important, but should be one of many other aspects that equal a fulfilling life; after all, your happiness is multifaceted – and non-negotiable.

 

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So, go be with your people and do the things that make you happy (and ignore everything else because it probably doesn’t matter as much as you might think it does).

with love + rosé,

Karen

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