Image credit: John Lamb. Artist: John Lamb’s daughter.
This post by Jenny Wynter definitely resonated with me - although like Jenny, I’m usually able to talk myself out of it.
For me, ”success envy” usually manifests itself in a sense of anxiety and acute insecurity. “Oh shit, why aren’t I doing that? How can I make myself more like that person? Nobody cares about the work I do. I’m worthless. I have to work harder and become better so people will care.” Oh, the perils of external validation.
Over to Jenny:
A recent conversation got me thinking about an old post I wrote on the topic of jealousy and bitterness over other people’s success.
I do still struggle with this. Absolutely. But I’d like to think that I’m getting better at dealing with it, namely with a bit of a self-coaching that goes something like this:
“The only reason this rubs you up the wrong way is because it makes you doubt yourself, whether YOU will ever get to do that. This isn’t about them, this is about YOU.”
“Jumping on the bitter train is WAAAAAY too easy. You’ve seen plenty of evidence of that! If you can’t be in this industry without turning bitter then you can’t be in this industry.”
“What do you mean that person doesn’t ‘deserve’ that? WHAT? WHAT? According to who? You? What the heck ever. Seriously, we ALL get stuff we don’t deserve, whatever that means, for better and for worse.”
And when none of the above work:
“How bout you stop your moanin’ and start your workin’!”
Of course, it’s easier said than done sometimes, but usually I am happy and dare I say, proud of myself that I am pretty good at warding off the negative envy talk. But before I go embracing the halo, let me stress that this is only cos I’ve had a lot of practice!
Oh, and back to that old post, I loved this comment from self-confessed comedy nerd, the highly affable (or so he strikes me from this corner of cyber-space!) Dom Romeo:
I remember reading an interview with Alexei Sayle after he turned his back on stand-up for writing, and he admitted how he used to resent Ben Elton’s success, until he realised there was enough fame for everyone, and that he really ought to be using that energy to make his own work better.
I can’t help but agree, having learnt from experience that it’s much better for health, sanity and people’s opinion of you to find a way to be truly happy with other people’s success, to not waste energy being jealous or resentful when it can be better spent making your own work better, and realising that opportunities come all the time; people who get ahead recognised the opportunities and had their sh*t together enough to make the most of those opportunites when they came.
Hells to the yes.
What about you? Is this something you struggle with and if so, how do you deal with it, successfully or otherwise?
Image credit: motifake.com
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