When I was growing up I would think very little of putting a pretty/beautiful/skinny woman down. It was like my instant reaction when I would see any woman that didn’t have my insecurities. I remember being at a bar in Dublin with some of my friends and having this waitress walk around, she was beautiful with an ideal figure. The usual ping of jealousy cropped up but my friend spoke first commenting on how short her skirt was or how low her top was and at the moment I heard the pettiness that came across when you speak like that. I had the realisation I was the petty person for so long. That woman probably ate well, went to the gym and I was going to put her down for making an effort just because I was jealous I didn’t. The moment my friend said that comment out loud I actually said “you can’t deny she’s gorgeous though, I wish I had her figure” and I actually felt a strange feeling of my jealousy being released. Every time before that night I dwelled on that envy and for once to actually give that woman the recognition she deserved was a foreign feeling. Since that night I have always went out of my way to compliment strangers and acknowledge what needs to be acknowledged. I cringe to think I would ever put someone down because I was jealous, it makes me feel so pathetic that I ever felt the need or desire to do so.
I have made such a conscious effort to change my behavioural pattern that now I don’t even think about it. It is so easy to say ‘I love your dress’, ‘what foundation are you wearing, it look fantastic’, or even ‘your eyebrows look on point’. It comes down to the choice, would you rather be the petty girl in the corner, angry because you perceive yourself differently from another woman or would you rather take a few seconds out of your day to make someone else’s? For too long I chose the former because I really was that bitter and I can only imagine what my friends thought when I bitched like I did.
I remember when someone’s comment changed the frame of mind I was in at that time. I was at a gig and extremely anxious so I was in the bathroom trying to calm down. I had just come out of the stall and I remember it was obvious I was stressed and a bit emotional. I remember this one girl kept glancing at me which I assumed was because of my appearance. As I was leaving she jumped forward and said “sorry, but I love your outfit! Where is your skirt from?”. I think I orbited the sun twice before I was able to say thank you. I know this sounds very little but to me it was huge! That girl made me feel immensely confident in what I was wearing by just such a short interaction.
The point of this anecdotal essay is that we have a choice to be put each other down or lift each other up. Jealousy is a strange thing especially in my case as how can I be jealous of a woman’s fitness when I sit on the couch all day? When I thought about this I wondered was it instinctual but the more I thought about it the more I realised maybe the first time I felt jealous of another girl’s beauty/physique but the next time I chose to think that way and what is worse is that I would comment on it to people around me. This trait goes back to instinctual competition, sussing everyone out and comparing them to you. We, as females, are tuned to find flaws in each other to better ourselves and win out the competition. I realise body and confidence issues are not something to be brushed over and that comparing yourself to other people is very natural but to criticise them because of jealousy is something that needs to be reflected on. Take a second if you think like I did, who is gaining from this? Your bravado probably with a smidgen of prosthetic confidence but in reality taking that moment to say aloud something positive is enough to change your mindset and potentially change another persons too.