Friday, April 1, 2011

Green-Eyed Monster

Now that I'm in my late 30s, I feel as if I'm going through a bit of a transition in regards to my friendships. I know that I've changed a lot over the past few years, maybe even more so than the time between high school and college, and when I was in my 20s. That said, I've made some wonderful new friends and have lost others. I'm told that this is normal, that everyone goes through this type of change, but it seems to be happening all at once. I tend to be loyal to a fault when it comes to maintaining friendships, so it always hurts when I lose touch with someone. Still, I'm trying to do more to appreciate the friends that have stayed with me.

One thing I've come to value in my friendships, besides stability, is positivity. I like being around positive, creative people who inspire me to be the same way. I'm not saying that they should never complain or be upset -- that would be ridiculous -- but the people I find myself gravitating toward lately are those who tend to stay upbeat, even when the odds are against them.

I think we've all known people who are "emotional vampires," who are constantly involved in drama and who tend to use their friends for whatever purpose. I admit, I used to be like this. When I was in high school and even college, I was depressed all the time. I used to whine about not having a boyfriend, not being pretty enough, not being popular enough, etc. Then I wondered why people didn't want to be around me! Worse, I always wanted what others had, especially when it came to romance. I felt as if I were useless because I didn't have a boyfriend and resented my friends who did. I remember that my now sister-in-law and her then boyfriend were up for the "cutest couple" reward on our floor and I purposefully didn't vote for them because I was angry that they were together and I was alone. What kind of friend was I? I was being jealous and petty, and wished she could be miserable like me.

I've felt this way when it comes to weight, too. Lani, my friend since childhood, has lost a lot of weight over the years, but when she first started dropping pounds, I - I'm ashamed to admit -- was jealous. When people complimented her, I'd be like, "Why can't that be me?" but she worked hard to get thin. And when I was training for the 20-mile walk a few years ago, I found myself becoming envious of my friend Scott because he rund marathons. I wished I could be as athletic as him. Again, he worked hard at being in shape and would constantly tell me, "Stop comparing yourself to other people."

Then there have been my reactions to others' life changes. When my sister-in-law became pregnant, I worried that she'd be favored by the family for giving them a grandchild and that I'd be left in the cold. But it hasn't been like that at all. Having a niece is fun and I've found other ways to bond with my in-laws. And again, I know that my SIL works hard to be a good mom. I've felt a pang when other friends have announced pregnancies, as well, but when you're a parent, you NEED adult friends. Yes, their lives may have changed, but I've learned to adjust and relish my "new" role in it. Kids are time-consuming, but almost all of my mommy friends also cherish the time they get to be with me or other girlfriends.

These days, I'm making an effort to not be jealous of others. It's such a negative emotion and it usually doesn't get you anything except resentment. Instead, I'm trying to focus on the things that are positive about myself and turn my envy into admiration and support of others. It's been great because, as cliche as this sounds, when you're happy for other people, you feel happier. I don't want to be angry with friends for having more money or a better job or whatever; I want to celebrate their accomplishments. In turn, I like being around people who have a similar outlook, who are happy for me when things turn out well.

I truly believe that the more positivity I include in my life, the easier it will be for me to focus on my weight loss. I've built up so much negativity over the years, it's literally crushing me in pounds of fat. I'm determined to fight it and improve my mental and physical health.

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