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True Confession: I Was Jealous of Other Handstanders


“You can only be jealous of someone who has something you think you ought to have yourself.” — Margaret Atwood

As a general rule, I’m not often bitten by the green-eyed monster. I pretty much assume that if someone has something I don’t, it’s because they worked for it or somehow deserved it. So it’s a bit embarrassing (and quite unbecoming actually) to admit that I experienced feelings of jealousy when I’d see pictures and/or videos of others successfully — and seemingly effortlessly — doing a handstand. Especially if it was someone who started handstanding at or around the same time as me. I’d been trying longer, shouldn’t I achieve this goal before them? Why weren’t they struggling with every kick-up, concentrating on holds, and falling into furniture like I was? Why were they having more success at attaining a goal that seemed so elusive to me?

Deep down, I think I was wanting others to stay on the same level as me to help me feel better about my own seeming lack of progress. You’ve heard the saying “Misery loves company”?, that was me wanting company who was not succeeding at handstands. Oh, I was happy for other people who decided to work on handstand, but only if they didn’t advance faster than me, hold longer than me, or have a straighter line than me.

When I realized I was subconsciously wishing that others would be held back in order to make myself feel better about my own lack of progress, I felt instantly ashamed and disappointed in myself. Was I seriously resentful of someone else’s good fortune? Jealous that someone had achieved something I hadn’t? Ick. I was unknowingly hoping everyone else would experience the same struggles in handstand, when I should have been celebrating their success and feeling buoyed by the affirmation that continuous practice really does lead to triumph.

What I’ve accomplished in this handstand journey is pretty darned fabulous — and keeps getting better. And it’s not just because I’m 57 and can, after numerous attempts, eventually kick up into a handstand. It’s because I’ve been persistent and determined, and because it’s taught me a lot about myself through unexpected soul searchings that have not only made me a better handstander — but also a better person. I have my own bragging rights about handstand — even if I’m not where I think I should be in my journey — and I’m now truly happy for other handstanders — whether I have what they have or not.

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This is me kicking up after about 92 tries and holding for a couple of seconds!!!

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