This past week found me at a couple different small gatherings with close friends while also meeting some new people as well. I realized it's been a while since I've met and really talked with new people and I loved it! It really was a breath of fresh air. I am so lucky to have some amazing friends here in San Antonio. So it only makes sense that I would love meeting their amazing friends right?
But I have to admit that on more than one occasion during these gatherings I found myself being intimidated and feeling insecure about myself. Some of these women drove fancy cars or had designer bags. Other women were starting new businesses, some doing that while also raising a respectable number of children. Frankly, I was judging them. Judging them by assuming they were judging me. Perhaps they noticed the mini van we drove up in (that I love BTW) or the fact that I was wearing a homemade skirt, or if they asked where I lived they would know it's not really a posh part of town. But as conversations kept going, connections were being made. Once I got past these ridiculous insecurities I was really enjoying myself and found that I had much more in common with many people than I initially thought. Later I felt bad for the assumptions I had made and realized it had nothing to do with them, they were my own insecurities. Kinda the idea that no one else can make you feel insecure, only you can.
At the last gathering a woman and I talked for a long time about our kids, work, blogging, etc. She was telling me about her company (which I'd love to feature sometime!) and what they do to give back to the community. It's an exciting time for her as her products are going to be in some major stores starting this week! As we talked she told me about the time she came across another woman who had also started a company that gave back to the community, but her contribution was even better and more noble than hers. At least that's how she felt. And she was jealous. Not only did they have the same idea, but maybe this other woman's idea was even better? And then she said she decided that there was room enough for both of them--she didn't need to be jealous! She reached out to the other woman to form a bond and root for her and her companies success as well.
I said, Yes! That's exactly what I try to do!
And this my friends, is my secret formula for dealing with jealousy or insecurity, which can leave you feeling depressed, annoyed and even angry. When I find myself jealous of someone else the first thing I do is recognize it and admit it to myself. That's an important step. Sometimes we might try to justify our feelings toward someone else by pointing the finger at them--"they're obsessed with fitness" "She's such a show-off" "They're really into designer names" etc. I've thought all of those things before but try as I might to justify my feelings the truth is, I was jealous. Then I think about it--what specifically am I jealous about? It helps me to be specific. I eventually realize that I have gifts, blessings and talents that might not be the same as theirs, but that are wonderful in their own right. There are just too many ways to lead an amazing and fulfilling life. My life doesn't have to look like anyone else's to be awesome.
THEN, and this is the important part, I decide to become a fan, a champion, a supporter of whatever amazing thing this person is doing, becoming or having. And then I am no longer jealous. I'm happy for them. I'm excited for them. I tell other people about their accomplishments and talk about how amazing they are. The jealousy melts away and I sincerely become a fan of whatever they're doing. Additionally, I can return to focusing on my strengths, what I want to accomplish and gratitude for my life in general. I swear it works! My new found friend totally agreed! We both found this to be the best way to tackle our insecurities and funny because she's probably someone I was subconsciously intimidated by before our conversation.
What about you? Ever find yourself feeling insecure around new people or even old friends? Do you have a way to combat these feelings of insecurity or jealousy? I'm going to try and keep this in mind in about a month when I head to Alt Summit for the very first time! Eeek! I'm super excited. I know it could be easy to feel intimidated by all these amazing women and bloggers, but I'm going to choose to be myself and feel confident in what I do and who I am, AND if I'm tempted to be jealous by someone else I'm going to become a fan and just appreciate what they do. Anyone else going to Alt?