I’m thinking about how to think about one of my friendships. She has been one of my closest friends for 14 years. I’ve recently been understanding that some aspects of the way I relate to her have had negative effects on me. I think of myself as inferior to her, in looks, talent, intelligence, and career success. She is 8 years older than me so I have put myself in a mentor/mentee kind of relationship with her. But this has led to a lot of low self-esteem on my part and also feelings of rejection when things happen like she plans a trip to share a beach house with other women who are more famous than me and I feel left out, like I am not being invited because I am not as glamorous as her other friends. That happened a little while ago but a more recent circumstance brought this up again. I used to think this was just a small thing, feeling inferior and jealous of her relationships with her more famous friends but now I think it is a place I can work on my thoughts that have kept me from trying to make the strides I want in my own career in the past few years.
For my recent experience, I think my model might look like:
C: She told me she is going to go ride out the pandemic in a glamorous location with our other friends but didn’t invite me.
T: If I was more successful in my career right now they would all want me to come, too.
A: avoid her calls, buffer the bad feelings with food, look at her other friends’ social media sites and feel even worse, beat myself up about how little I’ve accomplished in the last six years, cry, spend time cleaning my house or cooking, watch tv to drown out the self-hate
R: feel even more disconnected from friend, gain weight and feel even more inferior, make no progress toward having a life of my own that others would want to be invited to
Part of me just wants to separate from her and from the whole world. I’ve been off social media for six years because I found it too envy-inducing and didn’t like it. But this pattern of retreating, not trying, feeling inferior has created less fun and excitement and friendships and connection and opportunity. How can I move from this place of self-hate and hiding to reconnect with the parts of me that I know are bold and talented. In essence, how do I move from feeling inferior to confident, brave, etc.?