Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Green-Eyed Monster

Jealousy is something I've always had a problem with.
It stems from me comparing myself to others from a very young age.  In fact, I remember the exact point in my life where these comparisons began.  I was in first grade.  I had yet to begin caring what I wore to school or how I looked - I just wore whatever Mom set out for me that day and set on my merry way.  I was starting to notice boys, but mostly because the other girls in my class were beginning to talk about boys and crushes and kissing, and I was intrigued (and wanted to be included in these clandestine corner-of-the-playground conversations).
A girl that sat in my group and was a permanent fixture in these conversations was having one of those giggly first grade boy problems that seem to arise sooner or later.  The boy that sat behind her in class wanted her to be his girlfriend, an activity that she had no interest in.  On the day that my lifelong issue with jealousy and comparisons began, he brought a ring to class, one of the ones that you got from a quarter machine, and gave it to her in a last-ditch attempt to secure her affection.
His ploy didn't work, but I remember being puzzled that day.  No boys had ever made moon eyes at me or chased me on the playground.  They certainly hadn't brought me a gift because they thought I was pretty. What was wrong with me?  What was different about this other girl that made people pay attention, something I was lacking?
The next day, I resolutely told Mom that I would be picking out my own clothes from now on.
My awkward stage seemed to start earlier and last longer than most girls (although I think everyone thinks that).  Boys were never really interested in me until I was almost 17, and my late blooming and thirst for attention led me to make some bad decisions.  I never really considered myself pretty until I was almost 19.  
To be clear, this was not from a lack of parental guidance or attention - my parents were wonderful and supportive, always encouraging.  These feelings arose from constantly comparing myself to other women, especially in the departments of mannerisms and appearance.  In high school, appearance was the biggie.  I went to high school with girls who could have been models, and I held myself to that standard even though I'm not built that way.  I struggled with disordered eating all through high school, though the side effects were only visible part of the time.  My relationship with food and exercise has normalized, but there are still days when I fall into those old patterns of thinking.
Only recently have I been able to accept my looks for what they are, and to celebrate them.  As far as appearance goes, my days of constant comparison seem to be at least dwindling. I attribute that solely to my Savior - the knowledge that He created me as I am, and that I am perfect in His eyes.
Nowadays the comparisons are more geared towards personality traits and mannerisms.  There are women I know who always know the right thing to say - Why am I not as wise as she is?  Still others have a quiet, peaceful spirit about them that calms everyone they meet - Why is my own personality so often on the louder, awkward side?  Learning to cherish myself as I am is almost scary to me, because I have used these comparisons as tools for self-improvement for so long.  But improvement for the wrong reasons is useless.  I am trying to turn these issues over to God, for Him to show me where He wants me to improve for the good of myself and for His word.
I guess the bottom line is that I am constantly learning to be my own person, faults and all, rather than an amalgamation of the traits of those I admire.  It takes all types, right?
I am consistently amazed by the love and acceptance of myself that God is teaching me through my fiance, Caleb.  He knows my faults and my accomplishments and loves me all the same, regardless of whether I am being annoying, feeling unattractive, or making loud, unfunny jokes.  I am so incredibly thankful, because loving Caleb has led me to a greater love of myself.
My issues with jealousy will probably never be completely eradicated.  To be honest, it's probably something that will follow me forever.  But it is something that is improving and something that I can depend on God for, and that alone is worth celebrating.


  1. Beautiful post :) Much of this resonates with me- "Learning to cherish myself as I am is almost scary to me, because I have used these comparisons as tools for self-improvement for so long..... I guess the bottom line is that I am constantly learning to be my own person, faults and all, rather than an amalgamation of the traits of those I admire." You took the words from my mind. I have also been blessed by Cody as you have Caleb (Praise God for men that love without condition, am I right?) Despite his love and reassurance, I still fall into self-deprecation, comparison, and jealousy because hearing him say I'm perfect in his eyes (the only eyes that really matter) just doesn't register with me. I can't accept it... enter Jesus. Anyways, reading this was an encouragement to me. Thank you for posting.
    By the way, I always viewed you as remarkably beautiful, inside and out :) God bless you and yours.

    1. Thank you sweet girl :) I'm glad that it resonated with you! I think its something that every young woman struggles with.
      And amen, thank God for good men! And double thanks that He let us find them :)
      You are such a beautiful person, I hope all is going well for you!


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