Dealing with a chronic illness like pulmonary hypertension leads to living a life of complicated feelings: Anger, anxiety … and jealousy.
Jealousy is an evil monster. It has the ability to seep into every aspect of our lives. It can make us paranoid, on edge, resentful, and bitter. We may begin to take things as a personal attack, when really, someone else is just living their life, and being happy with their circumstances. Let’s look at an example.
Social media can be a wonderful thing. It can unite people, keep us connected, and let us express the joyful moments of our lives with others. It also can cause comparison. Perhaps someone you know just posted a picture of themselves finishing a race. Suddenly, a wave of jealousy and anger washes over you. “How DARE they?” You think. “Don’t you know how hard it is for ME to do simple tasks?! And here you are, flaunting your ability to run in my face. This is so UNFAIR.”
See what happened? Your jealousy took something that was someone else’s moment of pride, and you made it yours. You made it a moment for you to be upset and resentful toward.
Another one. A friend posts a picture of her newborn baby. Now, this picture should be glorious. It should bring a smile to your face. Instead, here’s what happens: “Well, isn’t this just PERFECT. Just what I wanted to see. Another baby. I get it; you have A BABY. I can’t have a baby. Don’t you UNDERSTAND?! I don’t want to see a picture of your baby!”
Another moment that should have been lovely for the mother of that baby, and instead, we made it about ourselves. We took our feelings about not being able to have children, and we misplaced those emotions onto people who don’t deserve them.
I think a lot of times we are ashamed to admit we are jealous. But jealousy flows frequently in humans. We can’t help it. It’s human instinct to put ourselves as the number-one priority and most important person. It also comes down to self-cherishing. In your mind, your possessions, and feelings are the greatest, and the most important. My family. My car. My idea. My opinion. My feeling.
But here’s the thing. Jealousy is a wasted and pointless feeling. By feeling jealous of somebody else’s success, happiness, or achievement, it doesn’t make ME feel better. And it doesn’t change my circumstances. It doesn’t stop them from feeling happy, proud or accomplished. If I feel jealous because someone has a baby, that doesn’t stop them from having a baby. So, really, I’m losing twice in this situation. I feel worse, and they’re still happy.
There’s a quote I’ve been loving lately: “The things you take for granted, someone else is praying for.” It would be foolish to think that other people haven’t been jealous of something you have done, or have. I know that thought can be uncomfortable, as well. Thinking that we have done something to make another person jealous. (*Cringe*) Everyone in life is jealous of something, because no one can have it all.
So, my advice is this. When you encounter a moment where jealousy rears its ugly head and you feel overcome with it, sit with it. Be present in that moment, and explore every aspect of WHY you’re jealous.
And then, remember this: Your life is beautiful. And unique. And amazing. And difficult. And it’s so very, very YOU. It’s all yours. The jealousy won’t disappear completely, but it will ebb, and you’ll be able to count your own blessings, which are plentiful.
Note: Pulmonary Hypertension News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Hypertension News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary hypertension.