I learned something about myself this week. Granted, my personal revelation didn’t come as the result of a philosophical epiphany or life-changing experience. Rather, what I discovered about the kind of person I am revealed itself to me in such a modest manner that I have no choice but to believe that it was God simply trying to tell me something.
I’ve always been a jealous person. As shameful and horrible as it is to admit, I tend to let feelings of jealously and envy creep into my heart on a much too frequent basis. And it doesn’t take much to trigger those feelings either. Someone else’s promotion, financial gain, accomplishment, or even their physical appearance can make my little green-eyed monster come out and play.
Earlier this week I caught wind of something really exciting that happened to a friend of mine, something that I had hoped for myself one day. Upon hearing the news, I automatically switched on my defense mechanism by conjuring up any criticisms or judgments towards that person I could think of, rational or not. And the harder I tried to think of something negative, the sicker I began to feel in my stomach. Suddenly, shame hit me like a bucket of ice-cold water and left me in a sobering embarrassment. What am I doing? I thought. How can I think these nasty things about someone I care about?
And then I asked myself the one question that gave me the answer I wasn’t ready to hear:
Why is their good fortune such a threat to me?
I don’t even know where that thought came from. But it popped into my consciousness so abruptly and with so much authority that I know it was God calling me out on my despicable, selfish behavior. Was my self-esteem really so fragile that I couldn’t celebrate the good in someone else’s life?
So then I started to feel like complete crap.
I didn’t want feel like crap anymore. I didn’t want to have to bring someone else down just so I could feel okay with myself. I didn’t want to hurt someone I love just because I can’t love myself. Even though I wasn’t voicing those awful things out loud, I was still carrying them around inside of me, cultivating the perfect environment for those ugly thoughts to grow into ripe bitterness.
The moment I had with God was so profound that I almost felt like I should be sitting on Oprah’s couch, clutching a tissue and sharing the moment with the hundreds of housewives in the studio audience.
Thankfully this valuable lesson didn’t come at the cost of actually hurting someone I love. However, it did cost me a little bit of sanity and a little bit of my own self-respect. It’s not easy looking a personal flaw in the eye and telling it to get lost once and for all. For a lot people, the path of least resistance is to just ignore those imperfections and hope they can simply be buried underneath all of your good characteristics. But if you can’t identify, target and work towards changing your shortcomings, you’ll never experience personal growth or be able to evolve into a better version of yourself. I for one always want to be growing, always changing. I don’t want to settle for “good enough” Courtney. I plan on striving towards becoming the best, most loving version of Courtney I can be until the day I die.
Was this post somewhat melodramatic? I think yes. But hey, that’s what’s on my mind today.
Is there some ugly in you that you’d like to kick to the curb?