Pretty Friend Envy
I have a beautiful friend named Shayna*. Ok, I have many beautiful friends, but Shayna is like – really stunning.
We are close friends and we try to help each other out when we can – by lending a supportive ear to one another, by commiserating on the challenges of parenting and by being available to share some great conversation over a glass of wine when we are so lucky.
Whenever people find out I am friends with Shayna, I will usually hear something like the following:
“Oh my God, she is so beautiful.”
“She is one of the most naturally pretty people I know.”
“Come on, she’s had some work done, right? Nobody’s just that pretty.”
I would be lying if I said that there wasn’t a little part of me that’s just the teensiest bit jealous over the magnitude with which people wax lyrical over Shayna’s beauty. But I also fully acknowledge that they are right. And she’s an incredible person to boot.
It’s what I heard the other day that bothered me the most. An acquaintance asked me if I was friends with Shayna after she saw us talking to each other. She said somewhat begrudgingly that Shayna is quite pretty and then smirked (most unbecomingly, may I add). What came out of her mouth next surprised me.
“Yeah, but she certainly knows it.”
I don’t know why, but that comment really bothered me. Here is Shayna – this amazing woman – a wife, a mother, a friend – so much more than even those labels. And sure, standing next to her makes the rest of us look like Hobbits, but still, she has never been anything but modest, humble and friendly to this woman who made the comment.
Some people wear insecurity really, really poorly. This woman is one of them. And in making that kind of assumption about my friend’s character, she also showed that she’s perhaps just a little ugly.
I realize that there is a reason why Shayna is so beautiful. It’s not just because she is physically pretty, it’s because she radiates something that extends beyond her looks. She is kind, she is generous, she is loving, she is charismatic. I can count the number of times I have seen her NOT smiling on one hand. All those things come through in her beauty – she is not just a summation of her genes.
I also realize that there are some people who will always be a little ugly. They will be ugly in the things they say, especially when it comes at the expense of others. I don’t care if your skin is perfect, you have the body of a supermodel and shampoo commercial hair - if you have to step on others to make yourself stand up taller, than you are far from beautiful.
Jealousy plays a part in many aspects of life – whether it’s with looks, intelligence, success, fame – that green eyed monster is something we are all familiar with on some level. I think it’s when that jealousy causes you to denigrate someone else to make yourself feel better that perhaps you should admit that you’re the one with the problem.
Next time that green wave of jealousy starts to take over, check yourself. Acknowledge it, process it but ultimately release it. When you act on it, you reduce yourself to levels that are not flattering. And for the record, it’s pretty transparent to most people around you.
“Jealousy is, I think, the worst of all faults because it makes a victim of both parties.” – Gene Tierney
* Names have been changed. My friend doesn’t really have a porn star name.