(Mostly) unfiltered thoughts on self-worth, jealousy

It’s so hard not to be jealous. But what am I jealous about? Because she has amazing hair? And has that elusive “group of girls” I always wished I had? Is that really worth being jealous about? A part of me that I am not proud of seeks praise. But what does that actually do? Does it make me any happier? It’s not like I’ve never received compliments. It’s just that I easily forget. I’ve somehow absorbed the idea that thinking well of myself is akin to vanity. But clearly, I’ve taken it too far. It’s not conscious. The point was to not become so demoralizing-ly self-effacing as a result. But once you’ve believed the lie that others are more worthy than you, you need a drastic change. I don’t need to proclaim it to the world, but I am worthy. I possess characteristics and have achieved things that those girls I see do not and have not. We all do. And if you’re anything like me, please keep reminding yourself this. You don’t need to share it with the world. In fact, I would say keep it private. But don’t bury it so deep down that you forget it.

Clearly, deactivating my Instagram and Twitter accounts last week was a step in a positive direction. Unfortunately, I cannot delete my Facebook account. Maybe that’s a good thing. But in any case, with just two clicks from my Facebook feed, I couldn’t help feeling again this morning those same feelings that led me to reduce a good chunk of my social media presence.

I can’t blame social media for a human defect, but it does make it easier. Oh so easier. To judge others. To perceive that others have it better than we do (based on carefully calculated images and text, lest we forget!). To decry what we have.

I’m a sensitive person, for better or for worse. But because I am so sensitive, I have to be very conscious about what I consume (I don’t mean physically here – I ain’t never gonna stop eating cake!) and what I say to myself. I wrote the above (almost) unedited blurb in a moment of jealousy and self-loathing. But because I am trying to be conscious about the images I allow into my life and disseminate, I didn’t allow myself to wallow for too long.

Still, I needed to email these thoughts to myself to remind me, and to post it here to remind others who feel as I do, that we need to stop. Braggarts are a problem and they need to be dealt with. But self-effacement that goes beyond modesty is also a problem that needs to be dealt with. I really don’t think the model I’ve been following thus far works. Sure, people can say I am being humble. But unless I am content with what I have and who I am, it’s not really a virtue; it’s a front, and perhaps not any better than the vice.

10 thoughts on “(Mostly) unfiltered thoughts on self-worth, jealousy”

  1. My friend and I were just talking about this. We both got rid of our Instagrams (and my Twitter). I got rid of them because I wasn’t enjoying them anymore, and my friend got rid of her IG because she realized she was enjoying it a little too much. She noticed that her likes and follows made her happier than she initially realized, and ironically that was a red flag for her, which does make sense to me. There is a fine line between self confidence and feeding your vanity. I definitely don’t condone self-deprecation though. Your format for this post was really great, ma sha Allah. Including the first part made such a positive impact overall. That really grounded the rest of your post. =)

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    1. Aww, thank you! That was such a helpful comment. It’s not every day that I’m complimented on the format of my writing, from one writing geek to another. How do you feel now, after having got rid of your IG and Twitter? I barely used Twitter, but I find myself reaching for the IG app and later realizing I don’t have it and there’s nothing to check. It had become such a habit and it didn’t always result in highs. But even those highs were, what can I say, short-lived?

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      1. Well I have never really felt like I needed to be on social media. But because I sometimes feel like I’m “missing out” I get the platforms back only to go through the same thing. Extremely short-lived satisfaction, and temporary enjoyment. It always leads to feeling suffocated and then getting rid of it all. Each time I do I marvel at how good it feels. Then the ‘fomo’ strikes again every few months. But the change is now I can only see myself using social media for my blog, no longer in my personal life. So that’s an improvement, for me :-)

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      2. That’s great! I’ve gone through periods of purging then feeling like I’ve been missing out. And it’s okay. We gotta do what’s best for us. I honestly feel freer now! :)

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  2. I was talking about this to R juts last week and I am so glad you wrote about it. I almost was going to delete my Instagram account recently. Why? Because I realized I had started comparing myself to someone else unconsciously and also I started feeling left out by knowing what others were upto though there is no way I could have been a part of it. I was wondering if I didn’t see it I wouldn’t feel that way. I am sensitive and an over – thinker, one gesture makes me weave a thousand word story in my head and social media worsens it. I had deactivated my FB many many times over the years . I think it is how we perceive and internalize it. An ideal solution would be to learn how to distance ourselves from these thoughts and be comfortable with who we are rather than deleting accounts.

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    1. Oh, I wish I could be a casual observer. But it’s just not possible for me. It was easier to delete the whole account rather than just “visit less” – because let me tell ya, you only need one visit to find yourself going through reams and reams of photos and feeling bad about yourself. One cannot easily be distanced from images; it’s in their nature to move us.

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  3. Hey Rafia,

    I’ve been a little out of the loop lately, but I always keep an eye out for your blogs. It takes a great deal of courage to acknowledge one’s vulnerabilities and doubts. While I don’t partake in social media beyond Facebook, I’ve heard in more than one occasion some of my friends express the same feelings you’ve reiterated in your post. It is important to remind ourselves that almost everything we see on people’s platforms and the lives they seem to be living is for the most part a carefully concocted image. I think on some level we are all trying to convince ourselves (and others) that these idealized versions of our lives are in fact very real. It might be a good idea to disconnect from these platforms for a while and reassess how (if at all) they are necessary to your personal and professional endeavours. You are an amazing writer with a great deal of insight and a keen sense of observation. While I understand the necessity to take a step back from social media, don’t let this discourage you from maintaining a presence on certain platforms that can be conducive to your pursuits as a writer. In other words….don’t you dare stop blogging….please <3

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Geeky, I really appreciate you going through the backlog of my posts and actually commenting on them! As I mentioned on Facebook, I’ve no intention to stop blogging. A part of my motivation to remove myself from social media as much as possible has been to free my mental energy to devote to my writing. Social media has given me a false sense of belonging/community. The only place that I’ve found a real community online as of late has been through blogging and I want to remember that. So thank you for your support! It really does mean a lot!

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  4. Just the other day, I was speaking to someone and realised how far I take the whole being humble thing – such that i’m just putting myself down – as though trying my level best to not be the center of attention. Not that I was, per se – but you get the point. Immediately afterwards, I reprimanded myself – I can’t take compliments and this wasn’t even a compliment in my direction and even for this I was being so.. silly. Argh. I felt stupid. It takes so much effort to stand your ground. Social media is a tool – and while it does perpetuate these feelings to a great degree, all of it is just a problem of perspective. I feel the same way so often, despite KNOWING people personally who aren’t leading the colourful lives they portray on social media. P.S: The upside to not having been on here for a while is coming back to read your wonderful posts <3 It's such a relatable and interesting space for me to be in.

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    1. I get what you mean. I go out of my way to look like I’m being humble, it ends up just looking pathetic. It also doesn’t help that I’m saying sorry all the time (but maybe that’s because it’s in my Canadian blood – hehe). As for social media, we all know it’s a carefully crafted image, but it’s so wham bam in your face that it’s easy to forget. I also think that images are so powerful that they can even temporarily block the brain from rational thought. Isn’t that why/how advertisements work? I’m glad you’re back! I missed reading your insight on things and how much we have in common! :)

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