Don't Let Your Envy Become Resentment
by Thao Nguyen
Raise your hand if you’ve ever found yourself looking at your friends and thought to yourself “They are so attractive, funny, and smart!”
Keep your hand up if you followed that thought with “I’m the sh*t that comes after drinking too much and eating hot dogs from a cart on the street compared to them. I’m not even a potato, I’m the pink sludge they use to make fast food.”
I’m not exaggerating when I say that I have the most inspiring, beautiful, and talented friends ever. They truly astound me with the hard work they put into everything they do and how wonderful they are as human beings. The fact that they’re attractive too is completely unfair.
Focusing on their effortless perfection translated to me having little regard for myself. I was 100% convinced that everyone else saw me as an average, unremarkable, not-special-in-any-way girl when they saw all of us in a group.
These thoughts were always in the back of my mind anytime I did anything with my friends, and I’m ashamed to admit that it got to the point where I began to resent them. Of course, realizing this made me feel even worse; who wants to be the kind of friend who resents their friends’ accomplishments and beauty? Every time they reached a new goal, had another guy ask them out, or did anything even remotely enviable, I would smile and congratulate them. But on the inside I was rolling my eyes, and thinking to myself, “Oh wow. How awesome. Another great thing in your life. Fan. Tas. Tic.” I was the living embodiment of the upside down smiley face emoji.
But it took me a while to realize that the problem wasn’t my friends. It was me. I had gotten into the really stupid mindset of thinking that I couldn’t appreciate my friends for who they were without doubting my own worth. Just because my friends were so amazing simply for being themselves, didn’t make me mediocre or lackluster. Comparing myself to them was unfair to me, and it was marring our friendship too. It wasn’t until I was honest with my friends that I recognized how backwards these thoughts were. On a night when we all went out for drinks, they found me muttering under my breath as they each talked about their week. The several mojitos I had allowed me to be completely open with them about how I was feeling. (Admittedly, it probably would have been more mature of me to address the issue while sober.) To my amazement, instead of being offended, my friends revealed that they felt the same way sometimes. It turns out we were all walking around harboring these ugly feelings about ourselves and each other, and it wasn’t benefiting any of us.
We live in a world where it’s all about competition and one-upping each other. I’m not blaming society for making me think the way I did, but I am saying there needs to be a change. No more comparing ourselves to others negatively. It’s time to appreciate all of the great things about our friends while acknowledging that just because we may lack what they naturally embody doesn’t make us any lesser than them. Everyone is unique, cliche as it sounds, and comparing ourselves to each other is always going to be detrimental if we don’t realize that. You may be thinking to yourself that you are the lint between someone’s toes just because they have a certain quality you lack, but chances are they probably feel the same way about themselves. The only way we can all stop feeling like toe scum is if we stop envying our friends’ qualities and celebrate our own.