Updated: Feb 18, 2021
On today's episode of The Revelation Series, I am addressing my own struggle with jealousy. Alone time really brings buried issues to the surface! When you finally stop running away from your feelings and look at your unfiltered face in the mirror, you can see the real problem. YOU! Ten out of ten, would recommend! But it ain't for the faint at heart.
What inspired this post? That sinking feeling you get in your chest when you're minding your own business (but not really) on social media, and see one who has the audacity to call themselves your friend, whilst enjoying the pleasure of another's company AND THEN throw it in your face like Princess did Ray J, by flexing on the gram! ..Oh...just me?
I'm sorry...I just had to get it out. I'm good now. I'm done..
In all seriousness, I have been carrying jealousy for a long time.
Storytime! When I was nine or ten, two friends from church came home with my family to play and eat dinner. Initially, we were playing with my dolls, you know, doing what girls do. But a little while later they were more interested in playing video games with my sister. I mean...video games are cool and all, but they're my friends; they came to play with me!
I was BIG MAD. I left the bedroom and sat alone at the dining table. And hearing them laugh and talk while I sat by myself, was salt on an open wound.
And the seed of jealousy was planted..
The pain of jeaoulsy is cancerous! When I'm jealous, I am petty. BIG PETTY! I don't wish you well. I can't bless you when you sneeze. I hope your flu-like symptoms are mistaken for the Rona and you are summoned to quarantine! HA! SUFFER! I'm Chance the Rapper's verse in "Baby Blue."
But in the name of growth, I need to dig deeper and find out what I'm really feeling underneath the hurt. Seeing friends enjoy themselves without me does not spark joy! It sparks hate that starts like this...
One: Wow! You went out without me?
Two: And you're having fun?...without me?
Three: You couldn't even invite me? Ouch.
The commom denominator is that I was not included. I was left out. They decided to exclude me. So obviously they don't like me. I'm not important to them. They chose that person over me; I'm not good enough. I'm not fun enough. I'm just not enough.
...because this is how my self-centered, insecure brain works. Remember The Four Agreements? Two out of four are at work yet again. I'm taking it personally, that I was excluded and assuming they hate me because I was excluded. Inferiority complex? Is that you?
Even though that's how I feel, somewhere deep, deep in my heart I know that it's not true. However, until now, I buried the hurt before I could even process my feelings logically.
My friends do love me. And it's unrealistic for me to expect them to only spend time with me. We get tired of each other! And we have different interests. We do different things with different friend groups. But often times, everything looks more fun when I am not there. And if things are more fun without me, why are we friends in first place?
I think there are two things to note here:
I am a homebody 80% of the time. So when I'm hosting, I'm in my bag! I will invite you over, for good food, good music, and good fun! But ask me to get cute and go somewhere with strange people doing even stranger things? I'll be anxious about it, but I may go. There's a 50/50 chance that I might even have fun.
But if I'm not having fun, well, you will know it. I don't know what comes first, the silence or the stank face but they're both entering the chat. Don't @ me!? My spirit just knows what it needs and what it doesn't.
And here's the part where you say, "Miya, this is why your friends don't invite you out! You don't even wanna be there!"
To that I say this: Being given the opportunity to say no is paramount.
The second thing is this, though I hate to admit it, I am possessive. There was a time when I would deny this supposed "sagittarian" trait easily. But only in reference to friends who were merely extras in the movie that is my life. Quality friends that stick around are few. But if I ride for you, for real for real, "I put a spell on you, cause you're MINE." And I say this lovingly!
How else are you gonna feel my love? Nothing says I love you in the year of our lord 2020, like a side eye emoji followed by an, "IN A PANDEMIC THO!?" text from a friend, who is at home, while you're out living your best life. Now, not only am I jealous, I am Judge Judy. AND a hypocrite!...because had I recieved a, "WYD?" text, I would have the pleasure of living my best life in a pandemic too. Damn, Gina!
I think I got it all out now...I'm done for real this time.
Possessiveness is about fear and control. If my friends can have fun with their other friends, then they don't need me; other friendships feel like a threat to mine. Ain't this cray cray!? I'm mind blown myself! But thank God I'm exploring this now. I do not want an episode of "Snapped" named after me 20 years down the rode. Because quiet as it's kept, women are abusive too!
Misery loves company, right? I said it earlier...BIG. PETTY.
Only loosely relevant to this topic, but last week someone who shall remain nameless, criticized something that I like. It was a movie. A romantic comedy. Homegirl said Crazy Rich Asians was cheesy. She might as well have said I was cheesy. I was offended and I'm sure my face said it all. Cheesy? You don't like cheese? What's wrong with cheese? Does cheese not improve every dish it touches!? What did cheese ever do to you!?!?
"You don't like it? Cool." I folded my arms and leaned back in my chair.
Sometimes, when people say they don't like something I like, I hear, "I don't like you." Or, "You are wrong." That's just silly, and it's not true. I shared this to say that having different interests than my friends is okay. It's actually a good way to be introduced to new things and ideas. But I'm still learning not to take offense unnecessarily.
Anywho!...Let me bring this to a sanctified close with a scripture. The bible says, love does not envy or boast (1 Corinth. 13:4). Does this mean that what I actually feel for my friends is not love? In the moments that I'm feeling jealous? Yes. Love and jealousy are complete opposites. If you keep reading through to verse seven, it clearly points out what love is and isn't.
Christ didn't die for me to feel hate towards my friends, but I'm sure he knew that I would.
So, what should I do? Fight jealousy with love. Love for myself and love for my friends. Even if I have to fake it until I make it!
How do I fight jealousy?
1. Say what God says about me.
2. Thank God for my friends.
3. Ask God to bless my friends.
4. Celebrate my friend's success.
5. Be honest with myself and my friends.
(This list was inspired by the "What to Do When Envy Steals Your Joy" 5-Day Devotional on the YouVersion Bible app.)
And finally, I have to keep in mind that social media is an exaggeration. Instagram, specifically, is where everybody goes to show off their best self. Are you really having that much fun if you can rememeber to pull out your phone and press record? Probably not.
But it's all about the flex right? Yeah, I get it. I've succumbed to it too.
Social media is the catalyst for all manner of toxicity. Jealousy, insecurity, self doubt, loneliness, anger, materialism, and the list goes on and on.
Which one is poisoning you??
I challenge you to think about it! Reflect on what triggers these feelings and make a list of the ways you can combat them. I'll even give you one: Stop scrolling. Log-out. Put down your phone! ...That's three, but you get the point.
Originally I added some songs about jealousy below. However, I think the productive thing to do is to shed more light on the spirit of jealousy. Here is a relevant and powerful sermon I found on Youtube, from Dr. Matthew Stevenson at All Nations Worship Assembly.
I found this after writing this whole post, so it simultaneously confirmed what God already revealed yet still snatched my edges!
Here are some main points I jotted down while watching:
You will not be healed from something you don't admit.
Insecurity> Jealousy> Envy> Murder
Insecure friends don't like it when you're friends with other people.
Your achievements activate their insecurity.
If they gossip to you, they will gossip about you.
There are people around you that hate how others see you.
If you always loose friends, it might be that you're jealous.
Denial is a fruit of jealousy.
Unchecked jealousy leads to luciferian christianity.
The word "satan" means accuser.
Constant accusers turn into emotional vagabonds.
Jealousy and concentration cannot co-exist.
When you have a real love, you're not critiquing every one else's.
Deal with your insecurity.
Bible verses: Proverbs 27:4, Matthew 27:18, James 3:14-18