Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Many Faces of Jealousy (Part Two)

Growing up, my older sister’s soccer skills put mine to shame. I spent a good deal of my elementary and middle school years silently jealous of her talent and the attention she received because of it. That is until I finally learned the best way to manhandle the emerald-eyed beast.

Time after time I’ve come to understand the best way for me to deal with jealous feelings is to grow even thicker inside my own skin. What the heck does that mean? I’m all about the Gotta Be Me Grin. Whenever I feel even the slightest hint of envy bubbling up from within, I go into power drive to fight it, and I remind myself to stay the course on my own unique path.

You might be wondering what I did…about the whole soccer deal. Ashley was All-American numerous times, earning a full scholarship to college. She met Pele (see doohickey over last e). She even played against Mia Hamm in a final four college tournament. She shined. I quit. After eighth grade I decided to stop following in her shadow and I tried dance instead. Well folks, let me just tell you I move to my own rhythm. And because of this I was positioned back row, corner. Dance wasn’t it for me. But I kept searching to find my niche. In the search I discovered I’m one determined mother (well, that came later) with a predilection toward resiliency.

I get jealous in this industry sometimes, too. But I took notes from my youth. I fight it with the grin—The Gotta Be Me Grin.

Here are some other faces of jealousy without its mask:

Pity Me Pout
This one is so easy to fall prey to. The whole woe is me mentality. “I’m not as good as Perfect Patty.” Newsflash…Patty ain’t perfect and no, you’re not as good as her. Because, Pity Me, you aren’t meant to be Patty.

I Gotta Be Me Grin
This one is my favorite face to form to combat jealousy’s jaundiced glow. This is when we decide to celebrate others while growing in confidence in who we are, where we are, what we are doing, and why we’re here.

Protective Possum Pose
Shut down mode. Possum buries the treasures, the extraordinarily traits and talents meant to be offered only because PPP believes the lie that she doesn’t measure up. How can she measure up to anything when she flings herself under the dirt to hide?

Copycat Calculated Wink
It’s a detriment to ourselves and others when we wink away copycat style. We aren’t meant to be them. They aren’t meant to be us. Emulating to a point of copying insults both the copied and the copier.

Blabbering Blubberer
The Blabbering Blubberer runs his mouth desperate for attention, be it positive or negative. In a fitful and desperate cry to be noticed, BB flails and squawks in attempt to avert focus from the jealous party. More often than not BB ends up looking like a bumbling peacock with a cockatoo bleat.

Bitter Overbite
Unaddressed, jealousy festers. It can turn your heart cold, altering the climate of your affection and generosity. Unexplored, thoughts of this nature can crowd and tangle like an impassable jungle. This massive overbite of bitterness is bound to bite you back.

Self-doubting Shy Guy
Seesaw brain. So subtle this one is (so Yoda I love to be). Waffle and waver. Stew and simmer. The gumption is gone. Risk-taking extinguished, the light in Shy Guy’s eyes has dimmed. He’s allowed the beast to win, claiming the landscape of his face—of his whole demeanor.

Sneering Slanderer
This is the “I can’t win, so I’ll just bring ‘em down with me” mentality. It reveals great weakness of character and a gaping lack of humility. Bad mouth the person I’m jealous of and maybe I can tarnish their reputation. Odds are Sneering is the one who’ll feel the hurt on this one.

How do you unmask and fight some of the faces above? Can you think of any other faces that have helped you slay the emerald-eyed beast?

*photo by flickr
**Oh, and I’m still dancing to my own rhythm!


  1. Over the billion years I've been alive, I'd say I've probably done most all of them, but now that I've grown and matured, I'd say I put on my gotta be me grin and rejoice when others rejoice!

    These were great definitions, Wendy, and a wonderful post. :)

  2. I'd say the hardest jealousy I've had to fight was in my 20s and 30s when I was jealous of others' spiritual gifts. Yep, you read that right. I didn't like being the baby toe in the body of Christ, always covered by a shoe instead of being something more "glamorous", like an eye or a mouth. For me the one that that helped tame that jealousy monster was pressing into Jesus and coming to believe that He loved me wildly just the way I was. Suddenly I found that "Gotta Be Me Grin" when the only approval I sought was my Savior's!

    Love the post, Wendy!

  3. I've definitely fallen into the Pitty Me Pout, the Protective Possum Pose, AND unfortunately, the Sneering Slanderer. That last one happened mostly in jr. high and high school. I didn't do it a lot. But I'd catch myself talking badly about someone and looking back, I can see if came from a place of jealousy.

    I do my best, when jealousy rears its ugly, ugly head, to pray about it and then celebrate with whoever's just accomplished what I'd love to accomplish.

  4. I've probably done protective possum. Heh. The best advice I ever heard to combat jealousy was to pray for the person I'm jealous of. I was so insecure about my hub's ex when we were dating but when I started praying for her, it's amazing how my feelings changed.
    Cute names here, Wendy, and like you, I def. dance to my own rhythm.

  5. Love the post, Wendy! So creative.

    I've definitely been tempted by the Protective Possum Pose, since my first instinct when I've been hurt is to go into my shell.

    I guess I combat it with a healthy slap to my soul, remembering God created me with my own gifts and talents and I should be proud of others for using theirs.

  6. Ooh, Wendy! You outdid yourself in this post. Creativity oozes from every line and clever turn of phrase. And, no, I'm not jealous of your remarkable way with words. Not in the slightest. In awe, yes. Jealous? No. Sure that talent is going to get you a contract soon? You betcha!!!

    True confession time. I have occasional moments upon learning about friends' good news that I strike the "Protective Possum Pose" and others when I turn into "Self-doubting Shy Guy." Thankfully those moments are fleeting and growing less frequent as I gain confidence. Having grown up in the shadow of two beautiful sisters, self-doubt and comparison had their way with me at times. Ugly, I know, but I run to the Lord when those old feelings are dredged up and feel better. It's amazing what His unconditional love can do. =)

  7. I'm a cross between the Pity Me Pout and Bitter Overbite. But I usually end up sticking my teeth through my bottom lip and am quickly aware of the overbite.
    This last year I've made a conscientious effort to take any self pity or bitterness and turn them into pom poms of cheer. It's SO much more fun to celebrate with people who's dreams match my own. In a way, it turns from emerald green jealousy into a sunshine yellow joy.

    Great post Wendy!

  8. The Gotta Be Me Grin is a huge help. Reminding myself not to compare myself to others helps too and remembering almost nothing in life is a one-size-fits-all. We are all unique with our own paths.

  9. What a clever post, Wendy! I deal with jealousy often, but I slice it quickly. I remind myself it's a distraction and that I have better things to think about! You'd think that would ward it off, but no, there it is again three hours later... :)

  10. I love the "Gotta be me grin". I'm shooting for that from now on.

  11. When envy rears its ugly head, I always remember that I don't walk in other people's shoes - Prada or any other. Most times we really wouldn't want to walk in them anyway. We don't know the path they are on, or they've taken. The path for them isn't always as straight as it seems to us.

  12. Love the gotta be me grin, although I think my default mode is protective possum :) This is a great post Wendy!

  13. Trust me Patti definitely isn't perfect (lol). The green eye is definitely hard to deal with and the Gotta be me Grin is the best way to deal with it.

  14. Brilliance, my friend. I seriously would love to know how you come up with these names. But then, I'll let you be you...I've gotta be me. (I know, I know, that was baaaad.)

  15. Ooh, such brilliance, Wendy. And let me say, "Been there, done that." The one that still hits a little close to home is the Self-doubting, Shy Guy. Yeah, me and him are real, real close.

  16. Wendy,
    I will follow you on the dance, my friend.
    Conga line--it starts behind Wendy!
    I vote yes for the Gotta Be Me Grin because it's the best way to be jealousy. I think I've tried all the other faces ... but believing in me, in who God made me to be ... that's the truth that sets my feet on solid ground and defeats jealousy and a whole lot of other attacks too!

  17. Of all these, the Gotta Be Me Grin sounds best. I like to try and find the positive in situations, though it's not always easy. But always worth it? You bet :)

  18. I'm so glad you quit soccer and concentrated on Mommying and Writing, or we'd never know the depths of your sparkles!

    I learned from my friend Debbie how to say, "I'm so happy for you," and mean it. I also tell the Lord, "I know You have enough goodies for all Your kids--may I have some, too, please?"

    I think the root of jealousy is not trusting that God wants to bless me as well as others. If I can change my thinking to believe He has plenty to go around, it changes my attitude and my face!

  19. Okay, posts like this make me jealous. But I gotta be me so... :)

    This is brilliance, Wendy. I love it. Thanks for being so brilliant because you're making the world a more wonderful place!

  20. I am so glad I spotted this on your facebook writer page -- I have been battling writing/publishing jealousy big-time lately. Thank you for speaking right to what I need today, Wendy.

  21. Even when we push the beast back, those emerald eyes always seem to return and peer around the corner. In other words, I'm probably going to wrestle with it, with back and forth triumphs, for a long time. But as I learn to recognize my own faces, then maybe I can dance with it and make something beautiful and useful -- as you have in your post, Wendy.

    Bono says, "Grace makes beauty out of ugly things." Here, your post says it another way: even out of those "emerald-eyed" beasts.

    Thanks for showing us another triumph of grace.


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