Before reading on, consider taking a moment to look at this article on Anxiety + Depression in the Outdoors.
If I had to mention one thing that I hated about myself, it would have to be jealousy. I find myself continually competing with others in my head, especially other females. I consider myself a feminist, and I want to lift other women up. I don’t want to feel as if I am in competition with other women, but I do. When I experience jealousy, I am not the type to put other women down, but instead I just constantly put myself down. I have to say that my anxiety and depression probably fuel this. Anxiety and depression do everything that they can to make me feel less adequate.
When I see women epitomize what I wish I could be, I never think good thoughts of myself. I think things like: I will never be as badass as her; I will never be as successful as her; I will never be as beautiful as her; I will never be as good as her. I get negative thoughts about myself and not them. Even though I find women who are successful and badass inspiring, I also can’t help but put myself down when I see them. If there are women like that in the world – so beautiful, inspiring and badass – why would anyone choose to be my friend or be with me?
The other night I watched this video about Caroline Gleich, who is an incredible backcountry skier. She’s beautiful. She’s badass. In this video called Follow Through, I also was able to learn more about her as a person. Her insecurities. Her vulnerabilities. It was inspiring, but I also couldn’t help but be a little jealous. I was mad at myself for feeling the way I was feeling. I ended up messaging her on Instagram. I explained all of this to her and asked if she ever dealt with similar feelings. She responded thoughtfully and with understanding, and it was amazing. I appreciated it more than anything.
I’m not going to rewrite her response because I don’t think that’s my place. I can tell you that her message helped me understand others a little bit more. Even people we admire or are jealous of struggle with similar human emotions.
When I become jealous of others, it’s not a reflection of them but a reflection of myself. I see women in movies or social media and place them on a pedestal and put me down below. I often see it as my anxiety and depression coming through in the ugly feeling of jealousy. Below are the five tips that I use when I find myself struggling with jealousy:
Use their success and amazingness to push you. To motivate you. Use them as inspiration for all the amazing things that are out there. To see what your limits are. To appreciate them.
Even if they are amazing, they are still human. They still have insecurities. Vulnerabilities. Flaws. Just like you and me. When we putting people on pedestals, we forget that they also have common flaws, and we can often overlook these flaws when we are riddled with jealousy.
Just because this one incredible human being is successful or badass or has a seemingly perfect life doesn’t mean you can’t too. She can be a badass, and you can be a badass. She can be doing amazing things for the world, and you can be doing amazing things for the world. There’s enough for everyone.
I am awesome. I may not ski black diamonds, but I’m a lovely human. I do my best. I care. I run. I rock climb. I hike and backpack. I push myself to my limits. I’m awesome. I’m a catch. Remind yourself that you are awesome and a catch too, even if you aren’t like the people who trigger your jealousy.
Like I said earlier, being jealous of a person says more about the individual experiencing the jealousy. Remind yourself of that. If you are jealous of someone, ask yourself why, and put your own life into perspective. I am jealous of women who are amazing hikers and rock climbers. I am jealous of women who don’t have anxiety holding them back. I am jealous of women who are incredibly confident and easy going. I am jealous of them because I am not them. They are people I am longing to be like. The jealousy comes back to me. So this goes back to tip one – use them as an inspiration.
Jealousy is bound to come back up for me. It is something I hate about myself, and I will continue to strive to fight it. This is not something I am complacent with, and if this is something you struggle with, I hope you aren’t complacent either. Jealousy is a common human emotion, but it is not something that has to consume you. I think anxiety and depression like to feed into this emotion. It makes it harder to fight. That’s why I find these tips useful, because they give me something concrete to hold on to.
For more information on how anxiety and depression affect millions of Americans, and how experiences in natural environments can help, check out Anxiety + Depression in the Outdoors.