Jealousy: Part Two
Sometimes feelings of jealousy come up because you see what someone else has and you can't have it. It's not a matter of "not enough", it's a matter of having made a different life choice.
Kathy married right out of high school to her high school sweetheart. They were both young and in love. Children came quickly as did the heavy responsibility of managing finances and parenting. They worked hard and it wasn't easy. Kathy's parents helped and so did her husband's parents. The kids were great and Kathy was a proud mother. She was happy with her life until her five year class reunion. At the reunion, she realized many of her peers had finished college and were starting some pretty good jobs. They had traveled and studied abroad. They went to bars and movies. They seemed very carefree. This was very different from Kathy's reality where she rarely had a break and if she did, couldn't afford to do those things. Kathy began to feel resentful and jealous. Why had she been in such a hurry? If only she had waited and gone to college, she could be having fun too.
Kathy's resentment and jealousy began to be expressed toward her children. She noticed she was irritable with them and complained to them about "the trouble" they were giving her. She struggled with patience. She began to suffer from migraine headaches and stomach pain after she ate. She ate a lot of sugar and lied to herself and others about what she ate. Her scale did not lie and neither did her clothing. She told herself the clothes were shrinking from being washed so much. She stopped weighing herself and avoided looking in the mirror. She felt trapped in her life and her overweight body. She could not see a way out of her resentment and jealous state of mind.
Kathy loved her children and wanted to be a good mom. Kathy also had the physical and emotional capacity to be a good mom. She just didn't know how. Then Kathy met Robin. Robin was a good five years older than her and seemed to have the whole parenting thing down. She enjoyed being a mom and was laid back with her kids. Robin's philosophy was "If anything is getting between you and enjoying your kids, then cut it out of your life." Robin didn't live in a picture perfect house. It was clearly a work in progress and at times her house was a bit of a disaster. She didn't travel. She didn't go out. But she did have a lot of friends who had kids and she had a lot of simple pleasures. Through her friendship with Robin, Kathy learned how to just be with her kids and other people without having to do anything or impress anyone. She could enjoy a cup tea with Robin while the kids played in the back yard. They exchanged recipes. They discussed their parenting challenges. They baby sat for each other so they could run errands without the kids. Kathy made friends with other mothers and found "her tribe" so to speak. She realized that trying to keep up with other people who have taken a very different life path was not a productive way of going through her life. It was an unfair comparison. Kathy stopped following her single friend on social media. It just seemed to fuel the feelings of jealousy, and who's to say it's real anyway. The more she stopped looking at what other people lives, the more she started to enjoy her own life. She gradually stopped craving sugar and began eating a more wholesome diet. She found her own life was sweet in it's own wholesome way. She began to feel better.