I've come across something that I hadn't had to deal with in a really long time. The tale-tell signs are there. The lack of genuine support. The insincere compliments. The acting overly happy to compensate for something. Acting overly gracious to again compensate for something. The seemingly out-of-the-blue and weird undertones of competition. A subtle underplaying of someone else's achievements, the back-handed compliments, the back-handed insults, the nit-picky criticism disguised as "being real." It's all there. It's even harder to see it for what it is when the person knows people skills and doesn't like to look bad. And yet, the pattern is always the same. One of the biggest signs is that after I hang out with this kind of person I feel...sticky and just not good. I find that in a weird, uncharacteristic way of my usual behavior, I'm doubting myself. And most of all, my gut tells me something is really off. And when I step back to really observe from a detached perspective, I see through it all.
Jealousy. It's one of those obscure human emotions that can be so covert, and so pervasive at the same time, that it can be tremendously toxic. And for the longest time I could not grasp what was happening. I just knew every time I hung out with a specific person I just felt shitty during and after their presence. Which is not usually the case, as I consciously surround myself with beautiful souls who lift each other up. But, it always seems to sneakily creep in, and I never see it coming until I'm right in the thick of it. It might not have started out that way. But, slowly but surely it gets deeper and deeper, to where even the person who's acting in a way that is fueled by jealousy doesn't even realize. Apparently, when people get pervasively jealous, they aren't even always aware of how their jealousy manifests itself. And, not until a very wise friend with much more life experience pointed out the signs did I really understand.
Jealousy is a hard thing, and it took me a while to spot because I don't believe in it. And what I mean is this. While I recognize it is a very real thing and a very real emotion, when you see that someone has something you don't, rather than letting that wreck you from the inside out, life is so much easier when you instead re-position your thinking into, "Wow, I really admire this about her. What can I do to better myself to get at that level, or emulate that quality that I respect and admire?" And if it's something that you can't change about yourself, it's so much more fulfilling when you're able to think, "I really admire that about her, and I don't necessarily have that, but I have this, and this, and this that's beautiful and unique to me and that is amazing."
I guess the difficulty of that situation is 1) you have to be really honest with yourself 2) you have to believe in yourself to know you can do what you set your mind to 3) you have to really love yourself and be able to accept yourself in a healthy, positive way, and 4) you have to be mature enough to want to bring out the best in everyone involved instead of going negative.
I realize those things aren't easy feats. It takes years and years of self-development, developing self-awareness, growth, a security in one's self, and maybe most importantly the willingness to undertake those things.
This is probably why, other than a friend who I've known for over half my life, most of my closest friends are slightly if not significantly older than me. It takes life experience and deeper wisdom to cultivate these qualities. But, it does happen. All the time. And, it is possible. I know some amazing, confident, strong women who really lift each other up. Sincerely. Genuinely. From the heart. They are my soul family. I know exactly who they are. And some of them don't live in New York, and at times like this more than ever I miss them dearly. But, their guidance gives me confidence. Their existence offers such comfort. They are my breath and light.
I used to let the toxic energy really affect me. But I love that saying. Knowledge is power. And more specifically awareness is power. Now I recognize the signs. And sometimes when people are jealous, they still love to stick around and it's not as easy to just cut someone off, especially if you aren't hauling butt and moving out of town, and quite honestly, when they won't let you. Perhaps it's due to the ravenous nature of the emotion. It's all-consuming. But, even if they won't let me blatantly cut them out (which I should probably work on doing in a healthy way), now I know. The bizarre behaviors make so much sense. And I can have compassion. I can understand. I can definitely keep my damned distance, but still, a compassionate distance. With hope that maybe life or perhaps even someone older can help guide them out of the darkness of the green into the light.