Silverstone campsite at sunset
Self-care

Turning Away

Some time ago I was feeling upset about the idea of being judged by other mums – you know the way we do sometimes. I told my lovely friend S (I’ve mentioned her before) and she said something that’s always stuck with me: “If they don’t like what they see, they should turn away.”

Her point was that we’re all living our own lives and have no right to judge or put down someone else. If we disagree with them, there’s no need to be unkind or judgemental. We should turn away and leave one another to their own lives.

Right now, that advice is something I need to apply in my own life, to my own behaviour.

What’s up?

I have a cousin, she’s three years young than me and she has always always been better than me.

When we were little she was allowed to do things I wasn’t, she was prettier, more artistic, kinder, more praised.

As teenagers she had a boyfriend first, she had a whole loft room to herself, she went out drinking and partying even before I did. She was popular and clever.

As young adults, she bought a house before me, got married before me, has still got her friends from school, is photogenic and charismatic.

Then we had our large boys at almost the same time and they adored each other. Next we had our small boys 6 weeks apart and they loved each other too. When we met up the four boys got on brilliantly, they laughed and hugged and it was wonderful.

Then we had our third sons at the same time. Hers at term, mine at 20 weeks, sleeping.

Once again, she was better than me. Her body succeeded where mine failed, kept her third son inside while mine let ours go.

And now?

Last summer, in the midst of lockdown she laughed at people starting to run. Who has time for that? What idiots! Never mind that I wasn’t a lockdown runner, I’d started the previous autumn, but I was still in her bucket of crazy people.

Well we aren’t so crazy to her now.

Because she started running too. And of course, she’s better at it than me. She runs further and for longer.

I want to celebrate the wonderful thing she’s just done. Running 50km in 6 hours is amazing.

I just can’t

But I just can’t. There’s blockage in me, a plug of jealousy. I’m angry and upset that once again she can do what I can’t.

So I’m turning away. I don’t want show her my bitterness, that would be unkind and hurtful. It’s not her fault. I don’t need to hurt her.

But I can’t face her either. And I can’t face my own feelings head on, I’m turning away from them for myself too. They’re ugly and mean and that’s not who I am. It’s the best I can do right now.

I’m turning away. It’s the right thing for me and for my cousin.

39 thoughts on “Turning Away”

  1. You are doing the right thing. It takes a lot of courage to honestly write about such things. I have distanced myself from facebook in the recent past and one of the reasons is the same. I must stop turning towards things that make me feel any lesser.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is so relatable. I don’t have cousins around my age so I end up comparing myself to friends and strangers online. It is not fun! I’m glad to hear that you are turning away because that is the best that you can do. Hugs 🧡

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for sharing, I have a strained relationship with my cousins as they have done nothing to be helpful to me or my brother, as they both did not invite us (my parents, me, and my brothers family) to their weddings and don’t even wish us a happy birthday on FB, so we try to be nice to them but when they are not helpful to us then all we can do is be distant and hope one day they will see the errors of their ways

    Nic | Nic’s Adventures & Bakes

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “Comparison is the thief of joy” said someone that I can’t recall right now and it’s so true. How often do we steal the beautiful things from ourselves and stomp all over joy? Too damn often. Loved this post Smells

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this! I think we have all felt like this at times. I know I have more often then I’d like to admit. The one thing I have learned, is we don’t see ourselves clearly. We have all these filters on when we look at ourselves. We struggle to see our own greatness. You look at your cousin and think she’s so much better than you, but I look at you and think “man I wish I could go running the way she does. She is so amazing!” You may judge yourself harshly, but remember there is always someone that is inspired by you. 💖

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I can really relate to this post so thank you for your honesty. I unfortunately, have a very similar cousin and I find turning away from it is often the best thing as you say for yourself and for them to avoid further hurt for either party. Try your best to concentrate on all the wonderful things in your own life and your own achievements (which I am sure are still amazing!).
    Great post

    Like

  7. This is so relatable, so thank you for being so open and honest. Jealousy and comparison are not unknown to me, so I completely understand when you see someone doing better and achieving more, but I think that already realising it it’s the first step. Turning away not to hurt them is again another step. I think we are all on different paths and should cherish even the smallest of our achievements x

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It’s awful to have to feel like that, for whatever reason, be it parenting or life generally with being judged or others always being ‘better’. Your cousin sounds a bit like my best friend when I was in primary and secondary school; prettier, thinner, always better and I, in comparison, always failed to meet expectations. She moved away before we went to high school and we kept in touch for a few years after before drifting apart. I’ve got her on FB now and she’s gorgeous, the best teeth in the world (jealous much? 😂), two wonderful children, a great hubby… and here I am, with nothing, a nobody. It hurts, no matter how you cut it. I can be happy for her – and I am, very happy for her in fact – but it took a lot to accept a little more who I am and the situation I’m in to get past some of the uglier feelings.

    I can see the horrible position you’re in because of the feelings it all causes. You’re not the feelings you have. But reading your post makes me see my own feelings and situation in a slightly different way – it’s heartbreaking that you feel not good enough, that she’s always better. I have SO much to say to challenge that but I won’t because it’s none of my business and it won’t change how you feel.

    I hope turning away can give you a little break from it and provide some protection, but I suppose after you’ve had so many years of your lives intertwined it’s going to be all the more difficult.

    After all of this rambling (sorry!) I just wanted to say I think you’re awesome and your honesty here just adds to that. Sending gentle hugs your way.

    Caz xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Caz one of the wonderful things about you is the respect you have for others and the way they experience whatever situation they’re in. So many of my in-person friends would try to talk me out of comparisons and tell me why I’m wrong, your incredible empathy in sympathising without trying to change what I’m feeling is more appreciated than you can possibly know. Sending you so much love. Xx

      Liked by 1 person

  9. This is such a powerful post. I really feel for you, as it must be so difficult having these feeling and also being related to this person. It’s not like you can just cut ties and move on with your own life. I think we’ve all experienced these type of feelings to some extent. Having that person who always seems to be doing better than us and always one step ahead. Everything you do, they have to do bigger and better. You’re doing the right thing by turning away and concentrating on all the great things you have x

    Liked by 1 person

  10. A very relatable, honest post. She could be jealous of something you have or do?
    When I feel like this, I have to focus on the good stuff and achievements in my life, to stop myself from feeling inadequate.
    One of the good things about you is that you’re a fantastic mum. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This is such a rendering piece of writing; it touches me in all the places I have held bitterness or jealousy. Love that you have found your peace by not only turning away but also in writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. A powerful post…thank you for sharing such intimate thoughts. Truth be known, I’m sure more people struggle with this than want to admit. I too have struggled with this very thing and it helps to know my feelings are normal. Not that I want others to not get along, but let’s face it….life is tough sometimes and we just have to do what we need to do to protect our own sanity! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I think turning away is the right thing to do under these circumstances. It is difficult to be around those people who just seem to do everything, first, bigger and a little bit better. Honestly, I learned a long time ago that as long as I’m happy with my life, I will just stop comparing myself to others.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. This hit me hard. You’re doing the right thing by turning away. It must be so difficult. I had that one person that I compared myself to and when we finally levelled with each other it wasn’t what it seemed. I only ever wanted happiness for this person that seemed to have everything I wanted. This person was so unhappy and regretted everything and I was living with no regrets. Sometimes all is not as it seems.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much. Part of my problem is that she’s family so she’s been there my whole life and there’s an expectation that we should get on. I suspect there’s something she’s not talking about. But if she doesn’t want to tell me that’s fine too. I just have to turn away because I need to protect myself and her.

      Liked by 1 person

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