Jealousy Is The Killer Of GIRL LOVE
“Being a sexy & powerful female is one of the most subversive projects of all. (We are the priestesses of a new kind of power oh yeah.) We know we are not like this due to any weird gene formation or luck or trick. We are how we are from working together with our eyes open & having experiences & getting help from our moms & friends. We vow to struggle against the “j” word (jealousy) the killer of GIRL LOVE. We are not special, anyone can do it. ENCOURAGEMENT IN THE FACE OF INSECURITY is a slogan of the revolution.” (Introduction from Bikini Kill: A Color + Activity Book // source)
Why do girls dislike other girls — or find it almost impossible to make a female friend that they can stick to for a while? Well, let’s test something out. Raise your hand if you have ever thought any of the following things.
She’s so much prettier than me. I wish I had thighs like that. Why is her complexion so flawless? Man, she’s so outgoing. She seems really popular. I bet she never feels lonely like I do. I never know what to say & she always has the perfect comeback. So many guys like her. Why doesn’t anyone look at me like that? How come I never get any attention the way she does? How come she doesn’t have to work as hard as I do? Why does everything seem to happen so easily for her? She is so beautiful. I wonder if she’s had surgery. I bet she has an eating disorder. What’s her flaw? Why does he like her & not me? Why does she always get invited out & not me? She’s so talented. I can’t do anything as well as she can. How can she live a lifestyle like that? I bet some dude pays for everything. How come I don’t have that arrangement? I hate her. I hate myself. Why do I suck so much?
…Yeah, me too. So what do the sentences above have in common?
They all involve competition or us comparing ourselves to someone else
They always assume that we come up short, or as the “loser”
They all invalidate us
They assume that we know the full story
They all have jealousy as a root cause
As the old cliché goes, the grass is always greener, & it’s easy to look at someone else’s life & feel like you don’t measure up — or to assume that their life is perfect, flawless, a field of daisies at all times. No one’s life is perfect, which is not to say that we shouldn’t do our best to improve ourselves, but it’s worth remembering. Everyone has their own pain, no matter how beautiful, wealthy, famous or talented they are — & everyone gets jealous sometimes! You are not a weird freak. I promise.
So many of us are raised to believe that other women are competition, that we are locked into a constant game of who-is-prettier, who-can-get-the-dude, who-has-a-better-job, who-can-lose-their-baby-weight-fastest, etc., & IT IS ALL NONSENSE. WHO CARES. IT IS NOT IMPORTANT. Trust me on that one. Sure, you can indulge in that if you want, but there is always going to be someone hotter, faster, smarter, more cunning than you. Those victories — the Prettiest Girl Cup, the Bilionaire-Boning Medal, the Well-Paid Wonderwoman Triathlon — if you ever have them, are short-lived & empty, because then you actually have to get on with living your life, & truthfully, no one is really watching you anyway. They are too concerned with their own thing. Stop living your life for an imaginary audience & make yourself happy!
One thing I’ve noticed over the last few years is that if you’re really happy with yourself & your life, or if you become that way after years of self-loathing or misery, the way that you interact with other people & the world around you completely changes. For example, a few years ago I disliked humanity so much that I would practically go around daring people to prove my assumptions right. I think I probably had a laundry list of people I hated. I would meet up with my friends & we would gossip & talk shit about the people we had met who had managed to evoke our ire (not a difficult task at the time, I was really looking for any excuse to be pissed off). I loathed my job(s). All my friends hated their jobs too. I felt stuck, I had very low self-esteem, & my only friends were really people I drank with on the weekends. It never ran any deeper than that, which I resented, too. I would read the blogs of people I disliked & leave scathing anonymous comments. I complained about everything. Long story short, I was an epic drag to be around.
So how did I manage to flip my perspective on girl friendships? I don’t have a step-by-step for you, unfortunately, but even if I did, we all have our own processes. It seemed like it just happened, but really it didn’t. It was an unexpected bonus of having done so much work on myself. If you think of your beliefs & values, all that stuff that makes you you, & envision it as a big rug, well, I had been hanging that rug outside for two years, beating it mercilessly to make room for new stuff in my life. I had been using EFT & healing techniques & combing over all my beliefs, deciding to change all the things which didn’t serve me any more. It probably had something to do with the fact that now I felt like I was worthy of having real friends, too. So one day, I woke up & realised I had a bunch of really incredible female friends. Bonus.
Similar to the way in which if you’re happy with yourself & your life, you don’t trawl the internet being nasty, if you’re happy & have good self-esteem, you don’t view other girls as competition any more either. As with anything, when you notice a problematic pattern which keeps repeating itself, it’s time to look at what you’re doing to contribute to it. After all, the only constant is you…
One thing that can be useful is to grab a pen & paper & write down the exact reasons why you’re jealous of this girl or that one. Be really honest. Even if the reason is something totally shallow like, “Her thighs don’t touch & mine do”. Put it down. THEN, & here’s the key, look at that thing & work out why you place so much value on it. Think about your life & where this belief that that particular thing is important came from. If you don’t like Meredith because she gets attention from guys wherever she goes, work out why you feel like you need that. Did you always want love you never got from your father or some other male role model? Consider these things & process them. Often when you dissect it down to the bare bones, you’ll realise that it’s actually kind of a nothing reason, just something you have an emotional attachment to or involvement with. Knowing yourself is important — it’s powerful. You can then take that information & let go of it however you want: meditation, EFT, rituals, or just deciding that it doesn’t serve you any more & letting it go.
When you’re happy with who you are & you feel a lot of love in your everyday life, which, by the way — if it isn’t a reality for you already — is totally possible & achievable, it’s much easier to turn those little snarls of jealousy into something positive. For example, I used to feel really threatened by beautiful girls, & sometimes I still am. I have a teeny tiny freak-out in my head, like, “Man, if I’m standing around with them, I am totally going to be the ugly friend…”, but then I take a deep breath, & I let it go. I spin it around, & remember how much I love them as people, how much fun it is to look at them across a table, & what great additions they make to photos!
I suppose if my super-pretty friends acted like super-turds, it would he harder to flip my view, so maybe that’s something to keep in mind! Hunt out people who are fun, pleasant & act with integrity! They’re much more likeable by default & you won’t be constantly trying to dig up their positive attributes to balance out your jealousy about the shape of their eyes, size of their hips, number of active suitors, etc.
One of the keys to this whole thing is learning to appreciate other people for who they are. Van Gogh was probably a better painter than you are, but are you jealous of him? I doubt it. It’s much more likely that you think he’s brilliant, & if you ever got to hang out with him, you’d tell him how much you liked his work, & maybe you’d try to learn something from him. I think we need to approach friendships the same way. Be incredulous & impressed & unattached. Other people feel like that about you too, you know.
Another thing to bear in mind is that you can build really true, strong friendships if you shift your focus to the positive when you’re together. Instead of meeting up & plotting ways to destroy other people’s relationships — or whatever it is you do — talk about your goals for the future, describe who you’re in love with, speak about beautiful things. No truly happy girl is going to want to be friends with someone who talks badly about everyone they know. (I have met plenty of people in the last couple of years, which has been amazing, but even when it comes to good, well-intentioned people, if I notice that they gossip a lot or talk about other people all the time, I just don’t get that close to them…)
As for actually making friends, I strongly believe that once you have your attitude & beliefs about friendships lined up, it will just happen. But if you want some clues, here are mine: Make yourself available to people (but don’t harass anyone). Be friendly. Smile. Ask questions. Make yourself useful. Help out. Laugh. Do adventurous things together — it bonds you more than just getting coffee, & gives you something to talk about later. Trust that it will all work out — the best friendships don’t require constant maintenance or fretting! & if something amazing happens to your friend, don’t be afraid to say to them, “I’M SO JEALOUS!”. Being open about it & actually expressing that to them takes a lot of the weight off.
Don’t be intimidated by other women — we are here to help one another. We all want more friends, we all want cute phone-calls, we all want hugs & kisses & ridiculously fun photo opportunities. None of us are perfect, & that’s cool, & our preoccupations with our own flaws don’t have to control us.
Have you had to deal with jealousy in a friendship? What did you do about it?