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By now, it is undeniable that you have come across a beautiful, elegant-looking influencer surrounded by luxury whose life is seemingly perfect. You know the type—the viral Instagram post with expensive decor, a beautiful woman draped in a gorgeous dress, a dog whose net worth is higher than yours and a coy smile that only a 20-year-old with abundant wealth can pull off. 

I must admit, I have been a hater. It’s hard to not be jealous of others given the vast amount of wealth and luxury we see online. This jealousy of online wealth, coupled with the effects of impossible European beauty standards such as pale skin and thin noses, led to an especially vulnerable, and jealous Josephine. Much of this jealousy has manifested itself in the worst way, causing me to doubt myself, my self-worth and my own capabilities.

I have reduced myself to a people pleaser and attention-seeker, which has only made my sense of self-worth worse. All the constant advocacy for dreaming big, manifesting greatness and romanticizing my life has made me feel empowered and motivated while also making me increasingly ungrateful. Personally, I tend to romanticize my life in accordance to @aaliyahsface, a witty, boujee and gorgeous vlogger from Texas. Romanticizing my life has inspired me to celebrate myself but also made me feel especially isolated, as I am a harsh Virgo queen who simply can’t entertain illusions when there is work to be done.  


mental health scrabble tiles
Photo by Wokandapix by Pixabay

It’s not that I solely admire Aaliyah’s wealth (although I would gladly accept a Birkin bag sponsorship) but rather that I admire her confidence and magnetic personality. To put it simply, she’s a bad b*tch. I can’t help but wonder what life would be like if I had her level of self-confidence and comparable baddie energy. I constantly remind myself that being a bad b*tch is in the attitude you carry in life and seldom has to do with physical appearance, but rather the aura you carry. I also remind myself that every confident woman everywhere has said that they needed to fake it till they made it—and that is just what I intend to do.   

Thinking about my emotional and mental breakdowns is almost comical in retrospect. Even if I ignore the fact that much of social media extravagance is fake, I am 20-years-old—how in the world can I be unhappy with myself with an entire life ahead of me? Nonetheless, it’s hard to not look at YouTubers and Instagrammers who appear to be living their best lives without pining for their lifestyles and success a little. Thankfully, the antidote to jealousy is wisdom, and self-awareness frees us from negative thoughts.

I am coping with my destructive feelings with increased self-awareness and recognizing when my reactions are being influenced more by anxiety and self-doubt than the situation at hand. That warped perception is perhaps the scariest part of the global village we now live in. Jealousy makes us feel inadequate, yes, but what it really does is distort our perceptions of ourselves and others by making us glorify ordinary people who are further along in their journeys in life or who simply have a different purpose.

The truth is, jealousy is perfectly normal and natural. The corrosive aspects of this monster should be feared when it becomes all-consuming and when everything, even our own successes and wins become a competition. So I’ll leave you with an invaluable quote by Gary Allen, one that once hung on the back of my 11th grade AP Language teacher’s door that I still remember today: “You can be the moon, and still be jealous of the stars.”

 

 
 

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Josephine Walker is a senior double degree at VCU studying Broadcast Journalism (B.S.) & Political Science (B.A.) She is a storyteller and interviewer with a history of conceptualizing and reporting on diverse stories. In her free time, she enjoys debating with her friends, playing with her cat Garfield, and making vegan brownies with her roommate Malayna.
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