I will admit it, I get jealous. We all do at some point or another, right? Tonight, I had a jealous bout when someone I know posted pictures of herself and her weight loss progress after having gastric bypass surgery. I looked at those pictures and thought about how much I have lost in that same time period- just a small fraction. While I am genuinely, supremely happy for her, I got down on myself.
Why would I be down on myself when I have done the best I can? Why do I allow someone else's success to lead to personal negative self-talk? For one of the first times that I could remember, I didn't wallow in that jealousy- I tried to make affirmations to flip it. This, my friends, was a non-scale victory (NSV).
Even if you've never dealt with inadequacies because of your weight, you've had jealous feelings many times before (unless you're a unicorn, and as far as I know, no unicorns read my blog). Feeling like you don't have enough, you're not pretty enough, you're not popular enough – whatever. It's such a struggle to try to flip these negative thoughts around.
Such a huge part of this whole weight loss and fitness journey for me is mental. In the grand scheme of things, it's probably 80% mental, 20% physical. How does one re-program a brain to think positively instead of dwelling in negative-self talk and comparisons that have been around forever?
Here's what I did tonight:
- Recognize: Recognize the feelings of jealousy or inadequacy. Where are they coming from? Sometimes, like tonight, they are brought on by a trigger (someone's weight loss photos). Other times, the feelings are more “Eeyore-like” where you get the case of the “woe is me's.” These might take a little longer to recognize, but it's important to identify them.
- Evaluate: Why are you having negative feelings about this trigger? For me, I was having a bad day where I really wanted to get on the scale. I only got 1 comment on my post today about my non-weigh in evaluation from last week. Normally, this wouldn't bother me, but the fact that I couldn't get on the scale, didn't get positive outside reinforcement of progress and then to see both someone else's progress AND positive reinforcement (from me even), it led to feeling jealous.
- Attack and Affirm: Now that my triggers have been recognized and evaluated, I can now attack them with positive affirmations. This is positive self-talk that addresses the jealous issues head-on. My conversation in my head: “You are on your own journey. Your path is different- everyone's is. You are doing the best you can with every choice you've made in the same time period as she has made her progress. You feel great. Your clothes fit better. You have an enormous amount of support and encouragement. You rode a jet ski. You are starting to feel comfortable in your skin. You have your own successes to celebrate.”
Yes, this all gets a bit “Stuart Smalley,” but it works. OWN yourself and your positive self-talk. OWN that it's okay to praise yourself. OWN that because your path isn't the same as someone else's that you can also be a success. Remember, one size fits one.
- Repeat: If this doesn't sink in the first time, say it all over again. Rinse and repeat until you start to feel better. Of course, you might not feel better immediately and it might not stop your comparisons to others, but at least you are affirming positive things about yourself in the process.
The more we can appreciate the good we have, the more we can let ourselves just accept things as they are without such harsh thoughts of inadequacy and jealousy. If you need even more positive self talk (like me), you can start a “thankful blog” or even just a series of photos or journal entries of things that you are thankful of daily. They can be big or small. I started mine over the weekend here. It's all an exercise in taking a couple minutes to be appreciative of what you have now.
‘Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.’ ~Lao Tzu
How do YOU get over jealous feelings? What are you thankful for right now?