Are you jealous of other people? Do you find that some encounters fill you with envy and irritation, and that you have feelings of disdain, or even hatred that seems to surface when you're in their presence? Do some people make you feel intimidated and insecure because of how good they feel about themselves?
Of course, if the answer is yes, yes, and well...yes, then we need to talk. Let me tell you a story:
When I was a young girl, my mother gave me some very wise guidance. She told me not to waste my time being jealous of other people. Her words were strong words of caution, if not an intended warning to help me understand the importance of developing my own identity and not worrying about someone else's.
My Mother told me that we are all born with the same capabilities, and what one person chooses to do with himself/herself, his/her resources and gifts, is entirely up to them, and for another individual to be mad or jealous because of nicer clothes, better looks or more confidence was ridiculous. Actually, she considered it more than ridiculous. She said it was stupid. During this mother-daughter moment, she dared to teach me that the issue and effort of my self-esteem was up to me and not to be based on evaluations and comparisons that stemmed from envy. She said that you lose yourself, your own identity, who you are and what you can become when you allow jealousy and envy to take away from your own self interest. She said that it was a waste of energy that could be better used on something important, like myself.
I got this lecture laid on me when I had gone to my mother with what I thought was a pretty important issue. My concern at the time was that I had requested a pair of new shoes, shoes that no money was available to buy for me. We just didn't have the money, and even though the shoes that I had to wear were really worn, the issue of new ones was not a priority. In case you are wondering, yes, this was during a time when parents didn't buy 30, 40 and 50 pairs of shoes for their children.
I tried to explain to my mother how important this was to me, because all the other girls at school looked so nice. I wasn't jealous of any of them, I don't think, but I was truly embarrassed about the condition of my shoes. You would have to know my mother to know the look she was giving me: that "you're kidding, right? slanty-eyed look", just before she began to state (or maybe it was more like yelling) her firm objections and frustrations toward me regarding my request.
Her perception of my argument was that I was jealous, and making unnecessary comparisons of what I didn't have to what others did have. She really went off, telling me that I was never to compare myself to anyone. She said, "hold your head up and walk like you have on new shoes." She went on to tell me that there would be many a time in my life when you will have to hold your head up and walk like you've got it together when you really don't. She said wearing new shoes in one thing, having pride in yourself regardless is another.
Well, from that day to this one, I've never wasted the precious time that she suggested that I use on myself. My mother was absolutely right. She was a living example. If you could have seen her always dressing as nice as we could afford, you would not have guessed the hardships she had come through. She walked tall in spite of it all.
Her clothes were always sharp and crisply pressed, and so was her attitude about herself. She may not have stood out in a crowd, and most folks maybe would not have seen her as anyone special. But the wonderful thing is that she carried herself like she was, and in her own mind, she knew enough to walk like she was indeed very special, and beyond comparison.