I work with a woman – lets call her Shelly – who has some major insecurity issues. They play across her features with alarming regularity and it is almost painful to watch. They manifest more outwardly by her snapping at juniors, acting terribly weak around seniors and being an uncomfortable person to be around a lot of the time.

She for some reason has decided to use me as a confidant about her life. No skin off my back, I see what happens in the office and understand where she is coming from with many things. We do have some interests in common so I listen to her whinging, try to give supportive advice with an undercurrent of suck it up and celebrate her successes.

But the other day she said something that made me really uncomfortable – almost angry. She started talking about an old friend that she has always been really jealous of. This friend has the job Shelly thinks she wants, has a partner, lives in a great city – things that on paper tick all the boxes. Then this girl and Shelly got together for a drink and the next day Shelly said to me ‘I’ve exercised my daemons, I’m no longer jealous of my friend – her job isn’t as as good as I always thought it was and the city she lives in is dreary and her apartment is tiny‘. And then she smiled and rejoiced a bit. And I wanted to smack her.

It was more than that ‘maybe life isn’t greener‘ realisation we all have at some point. It was more than being glad she has her life and not her friend’s. It was a celebration in her friend’s challenges and difficulties and misfortunes. And it made her smaller as a person, not stronger. And she will never realise that fact.

Celebrate who you are – not what others are not.

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