I’ve been having one of those weeks. I’m drowning in a puddle of water and I do not feel like standing up. Therefore, by extension, every tiny success enjoyed by anyone around me feels like some cosmic betrayal: I am wallowing. When I wallow I get jealous.
Have you ever had a day when from alarm clock to head-on-pillow you’ve questioned everything you’ve done? Felt convinced you were doing things wrong? Only for all of this to be heightened - almost purposefully - by the plethora of friends who coincidentally landed the job of their dreams that day, or booked that round-the-world ticket or found £10 in the street! What is it about other people that can make us feel so hopeless, lost, failing, flailing? There are lots of words I could use.
Regardless of my own relative successes (I have a job, I have friends, sometimes I wash my bedding) all it takes is one prolonged lunch with a family member who insists on detailing the adventures of my carefree traveller cousin; an evening spent with my most ambitious friend who won’t ever stop reaching for a seven figure salary; a rainy lunchtime wasted trawling Facebook for forgotten acquaintances with new promotions and new boyfriends, and boom, I’m suddenly a failure.
In Attack of the Five Foot Ten Woman, an admittedly whiny and annoying and insufferable Carrie Bradshaw ponders why it is that some people appear to exist solely to make others feel bad about themselves. Let’s be brutally honest, Carrie; some people are just better than you. Lots of people are just better than me.
I always live in pathetic hope when meeting beautiful women that, please God, she might be incredibly stupid or wearing lots of make-up or they have terrible cellulite underneath those slim-fit jeans. Or when I stumble across a remarkably brainy and talented person, I imagine and force myself to eventually accept that they have depressing sex lives or bad breath or maybe they’re cripplingly boring!
But in reality I must accept that there are people who are effortlessly smart, interesting, elegant and beautiful and kind and always funny. And those people are not me, but I’m trying. The truth is, other people don’t make me feel bad. I make me feel bad. And I’m guessing everyone else probably make themselves feel bad often enough too. Yes, some people are impossibly happy and apparently perfect, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have your happiness too.
Yoanna House, winner of ANTM Cycle 2, once said "Don't pay attention to what anyone else is doing. Pay attention to what you’re doing." Happiness is relative. It can't be scientifically measured and it isn’t printed at the top of your CV. Someone else’s great job doesn’t mean I can’t get where I want to be, there are enough round-the-world plane tickets available if you’re in the market for one, one more Facebook friend moving to your dream city won’t make them put a No Vacancy sign up at the border. It’s useful to remember this on the bad days.
Sometimes it can seem like there is a universal quota for happiness, and everyone else is being greedy. But there isn’t. There’s enough to go around.