Befriend your rival

Jennie Torres

Have you ever gotten that sinking feeling in your stomach when you discover your classmate has never received a grade lower than a 90, while you constantly struggle to achieve a solid B? Have you ever noticed how your roommate has an easier time getting along with other people, whereas you seem to shudder at the thought of social interaction? Have you ever experienced anything related to those examples? If so, you probably know the dreaded feeling when you assume that somebody is better than you or just downright perfect.

I’ve had that feeling before while I attended high school. There were a few people I envied for their extroverted personalities or excellence in mathematics (which I bombed), but the one girl who seemed to have it all is who I’d like to refer to as “Mary Sue.” Not only was she popular, she was also beautiful, a talented singer, president of the glee club, always on the Honor Roll and I never saw one mean bone in her body. Yet even when I knew I was jealous of her, I never had any hatred towards her.

In a world so full of competition and needing to behave a certain way or reach specific goals in order to achieve our dreams, I understand how easy it can be to become jealous of someone for having the strengths you lack.

However, jealousy only gets you so far before it consumes you, and you’re so focused on disliking the other person that you end up not paying attention to the most important person of all. Fixating on the illusion of somebody’s perfection is bound to destroy your self-esteem, and the last thing you need is to lose the great potential you possess within yourself.

Instead of boiling with rage over how you can’t be like somebody else, convert your jealousy into curiosity. Get to know the person you envy. Ask them how they were able to get on the Honor Roll for four years straight or how they manage to make their presence light up a room.

I did something like this in my senior year when I joined the glee club, and I ended up always having to sing right beside Mary Sue during big performances. At first, I’d thought I would feel awkward standing next to someone I pictured to be so flawless, but over time we said hi to each other, which turned into small conversations and eventually helped us become friends.

I even recall a memory when after a rehearsal, Mary Sue took the time to compliment my singing, saying, “Hey, you’re really good.” You can learn a lot from other people, even if it’s about yourself.

Not only will you gain knowledge, but possibly a friend as well. This method of growing into a stronger individual is much better than brewing with rage or bullying others just because they are trying to be the best person they can be.

Plus who knows, perhaps by befriending your rival, you can teach them a thing or two about yourself and offer them help on how to be like you.