Learning to cheer + vote for yourself.
How do you deal with being jealous of other people? I know it's an awful thing and it just shows I have low self-esteem and lack of confidence which are two areas I know I need to work on. But I am an introvert and sometimes I feel overlooked by people who are extroverted and that my actions aren't noticed especially in the workplace.
Thanks for listening,
It’s okay that you’re jealous. Can I say that first? I need to say that first because otherwise you’ll kick yourself down for sending this email my way. You’ll degrade yourself by 10am with all the sadness and guilt you feel for being a jealous person. I know because I’ve participating in that same degradation and it ain’t pretty.
You’re a jealous person. I’m a jealous person. We all deal with jealousy some of the time. It’s natural.
So, if we were in a meeting for Jealous People Anonymous then this would be the time you’d stand up and you’d announce to the room, “My name is _______________ and I am jealous of others.” And we’d all shake our heads in agreement. And you’d tell us your story. And we’d absolutely get it because it’s perfectly human to be jealous.
But the beautiful thing about admitting where you are on the map? When you locate yourself, and you get real with where you are, then there’s the potential to move forward. You can recenter the GPS and you can finally start to step away from these toxic feelings.
Jealousy is normal but it also doesn’t deserve the chance to rule your life and keep you from the joy that exists when you finally learn to cheer for yourself and others.
In the meantime, here’s what I am begging you not to do because it will poison your soul in small increments: do not fake the celebration. Be a good sport but DO NOT cheer someone on with a comment or a text and then turn around to bash them. That’s toxic and it isn’t genuine and the only person who loses when you choose to be fake is yourself. That’s a nasty habit and I have been in that space before and it feels like all the feelings of a fraud piling up in your chest and those feelings are ridiculously hard to come out from underneath.
Life is just too hard to be a fake cheerleader. Fear not if you are one those fake cheerleaders who’s commenting “love you” and “you go girl” on the photos of other people before taking out your voodoo version of that individual and shoving pins into their sides. With practice, we can learn to make the signs with glitter markers and stand by the roadside screaming for people and not feel like a fraud in the process.
The keyword is “learn.” Some people are born as natural cheerleaders and they have no problem yelling for others until their lungs get hoarse. And some of us are green-eyed-monsters with a scarcity mentality embedded in the trenches of our souls and we have to “learn” to cheer for other people.
I have no problem admitting I am in that second pile. My go-to mentality is that I am forgotten and God is done with me. It’s the lie I have to fight the hardest with.
I could write a thousand words on the green-eyed monster of jealousy and how to get over the hurdle of it but I really only have two suggestions for you that have made me a better human:
Celebrate people for who they’re becoming.
Invest in your own becoming.
CELEBRATE PEOPLE FOR WHO THEY’RE BECOMING
This might require that you stop investing in things that suck the life away from you. To be truly effective in the world today, we have to stop giving into the things that absorb us to the point of exhaustion. If logging onto Instagram makes you sick to your stomach then you likely need better boundaries. If seeing someone’s story makes you seeth and foam at the mouth then yea, it’s probably time to mute that person’s story.
I had to have a really honest conversation with a friend a few years ago and I had to straight out tell her: I don’t watch your stories anymore. I was honest in telling her they made me jealous and insecure. They made me feel all these awful feelings that I didn’t actually want to feel. They felt foreign to me but they were absolutely, undeniably there. And I confessed it to her. I let her know I was sorry for feeling these sorts of things and that I decided to step back from that area in order to benefit myself and her. She deserved more than a friend who secretly felt anger and envy every time I logged onto social media.
And then that step propelled me towards an even bigger step. I stopped watching the stories of people I knew altogether for a period of time. I decided I didn’t want to watch my friends live their lives when I could decide to live right alongside them and be invested in a real way. Sure, I missed some things. But every time I would log into Instagram, I would take note of the friends who popped up in the story section of the app and I would pray for those people. Or I would send them a card in the mail. Or I’d pick up the phone and call them or send off an encouraging text. I felt fuller in that span of weeks than I felt in a long time.
You don’t have to be a lurker in the lives of other people. You can take that precious energy and you can choose to invest it into the lives of those you love, and your own becoming.
It’s okay if you cannot celebrate someone else’s victory in this moment. It’s okay if you feel hurt and confused. But it is likely that those feelings don’t have anything to do with the person experiencing the victory. Those are the kinds of feelings you need to scoop up and take directly to God.
You can lay them all down on the page for him and he’s not going to be surprised or angry with you. He will be delighted because God is delighted when we sit down to have an honesty hour with him. It will feel freeing to get those feelings out of you and sit with them for a little while. You won’t get over it in an instant. But you can come back to those same feelings tomorrow. And then next time. And I promise you, God will work his healing power. He will help you sort out the mess. You’ll be made new and fresh. It works but it requires hard work of us.
INVEST IN YOUR OWN BECOMING
There’s a part in the Bible where Paul gets very clear about running your own race. He uses a lot of “Nike” verbiage when he’s writing this section. But he gets very clear about how we run in the race to win the race— not to go at the challenge half-heartedly. And that’s all you get control over— how you show up to the race.
You don’t control how other people train. You don’t control whether you win or lose. You don’t control where you place in the run. All you can control is what you do every single morning, afternoon, and evening to train for your race. All you control is how you invest in your own becoming.
I’m not a runner. I’ve accepted that I won’t ever be a runner. But I am a writer and all I’ve ever wanted to be is a writer. So I was forced to ask myself the question at the start of this year: do I look like a writer?
And then I asked deeper questions:
What gets in the way of my writing?
What distracts me from sitting down in the chair?
What is working for my writing?
What is definitely not working?
Who can I be accountable to?
How can I measure the progress?
What am I willing to sacrifice for this?
How far am I willing to go?
These were just the basic questions but they absolutely made me stare at myself and change some things. Because I want to be a doer. Dreamers work with fantasy but doers work with reality.
There’s a difference between seeming like something to the world at large and then actually committing yourself to the daily grind of it. I say all of this because social media can tend to be a lot of smoke and mirrors. It’s a perception of how things are but it is not necessarily the reality. We live in a time where we can tweak the bio in our profile and POOF- we become whatever we want to be. A writer. An advocate. An expert. A fitness guru. But it doesn’t actually mean we’ve put in the work or gained the title.
I recently read a book called Atomic Habits by James Clear. It’s a fantastic read for anyone who wants to overhaul a few rhythms in their daily life and see more fruit. He writes in the book about casting votes for yourself.
“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. If you finish a book, then perhaps you are the type of person who likes reading. If you go to the gym, then perhaps you are the type of person who likes exercise. If you practice playing the guitar, perhaps you are the type of person who likes music. Each habit is like a suggestion: “Hey, maybe this is who I am.”
I love this idea. It’s simple and it’s attainable. What isn’t attainable is when we set a surface level goal with no smaller steps to account for us getting there. I’ve rigged up my life with little ways to vote for myself. When I read a book— that’s a vote towards me being a reader. When I do a workout— that’s a vote towards me being an active person. When I sit down to write in the morning— that’s a vote towards me being a writer. These votes stacking up in one place can be a real identity shift.
I read recently that jealousy is born out of a feeling of inadequacy. Out of this feeling that good things will happen to other people but not to you because you’re not deserving of good things. So the solution might be simpler than we think: do something to make yourself feel adequate.
Invest in your adequacy. When that inner critic comes haunting, wanting to tell you tall tales of your inadequacy, do something rebellious: don’t believe it. Don’t accept what it is saying as truth. Did you ever think for a second that the lie that haunts you the most mercilessly might actually be trying to conceal a truth that, if you finally realized it, would propel you to crazy levels? Maybe the lie that you’re inadequate is trying so dang hard to cover up and hide the truth it doesn’t want you to know: you are completely adequate. You’re stunningly adequate. You’re meant to be here. You’re not optional. Quite the opposite, you’re a necessity.
What if (even if you have to fake it) you told yourself today that you were completely adequate by making one small step to invest in that adequacy? What would that one small step be?
Would you go for a walk?
Would you finally send that text?
Would you buy yourself a new book?
Would you actually do your makeup?
You can take that jealousy— that fear that good things aren’t coming for you— and you could channel it into something really good that you do for yourself. Just pick one thing and quietly make it happen for yourself.
You deserve good things. Get out there and do that thing.
i always want to hear from you:
What’s the one small step you’re taking today to invest in your own adequacy?
Dear Abby… I mean, Dear Hannah
I love to hear from readers who want to get real and personal with me (like the letter featured above). Their stories + questions bless thousands of others who are asking themselves to very same things.
Do you have a question you want me to dig into? Do you want to see your letter answered on the blog? I can never promise all the answers or the best advice but I can definitely put my heart + prayers into writing back with a honest, vulnerable response.