I recently got an e-mail from a listener. I’ll call her Ellen. She was dealing with weight loss jealousy from her co-workers.
Ellen was healthy, physically fit, and better educated than many of the people she worked with. But she felt certain people were jealous of her and she wanted to fit in and make friends.
So, to protect herself from this jealousy and judgment, she gained weight. She even gave up her favorite clothes and jewelry to fit in and avoid the resentment of her so-called “friends.”
Because she was worried that others might resent her success and achievements, Ellen wasn’t living her life to its fullest potential.
Ellen’s story struck me as one of the saddest things I’d ever read.
The idea that someone would change who they were, that they would undermine what they’d worked so hard to achieve, all out of fear that somebody might be jealous? Is that even possible?
And then I realized it is possible, because I’d done it myself.
We all do.
You cannot control anybody else’s feelings
I’ve talked about this many times before on the podcast. You can’t control what somebody else thinks or feels or does. You can only control yourself.
We often assume we know what others are thinking. But what if you found out the people you thought were jealous of you, weren’t jealous?
You’d discover you lived a sub-par life all those years for nothing!
It wasn’t anyone’s thoughts or feelings of jealousy that held you back, it’s what you thought about those thoughts and feelings that held you back.
And guess what? Whether others are really jealous of you or not… the choice of how you live your life is still yours!
Seek out friends, not “frenemies”
Anybody in your life who doesn’t want what’s best for you is not your friend.
End of story.
A friend is someone who wants what’s best for you, no matter how it affects them. That’s what true friendship is all about! You didn’t get to choose the family you were born in to, but everyone else is in your life because you invited them in.
So, ask yourself, why would I invite anyone into my life that doesn’t enrich it, that doesn’t encourage me to reach my highest potential?
If you’re constantly stressed about what someone else is thinking about you, then you aren’t living your fullest, authentic life. If you have to be less than your best possible self around someone, then ask yourself, “Why do I want this friendship?”
The truth is, that many of us (me included), want an excuse. What we’re most afraid of is accepting total responsibility for our choices and actions. When we tell ourselves that we shouldn’t lose weight, or be healthy, because those we care about will be jealous, what we’re really saying is I don’t want to take responsibility for my situation and it’s easier to be a victim.
That’s the attitude that causes so many of us to lose control of our lives. And it’s this loss of control that can lead to morbid obesity, loss of self-esteem, and life-threatening health issues.
In the end, if your friends really are jealous, that’s their problem. Their happiness is their responsibility, not yours.
A simple self-experiment
Try this experiment: For one day, pay attention to your thoughts. Notice whenever you try to “know” what someone is thinking or feeling about you.
Write down your observations if you can. Or just make a mark in a small notebook every time you have one of these thoughts. Then, at the end of the day, add them up. How many times that day did you try and view yourself through someone else’s eyes?
You know what? If you repeat this exercise every day, soon you’ll begin to see you can’t control what others think, so why even try?
When you can remove this imagined burden from your shoulders, you’ll find true joy and happiness. Then you’ll start living your best, fullest life.
And you’ll begin to see yourself through the only eyes that matter… your own.
Are you trying to live inside someone else’s head? Does it affect your day-to-day choices?