Honestly, it’s hard to admit sometimes that I’ve been jealous of other authors’ successes, but lying about it doesn’t really help, so I admit freely that there have been days where I just didn’t understand why some writers were more successful than me. It didn’t feel fair, and boy did those feelings hurt.
I’ve always been uncomfortable with those kinds of feelings. I don’t think jealousy is healthy and although I think it’s a normal feeling, I don’t like it and I’ve never wanted to be the kind of person who is okay with feeling that way.
Then one day, I had one of those moments of clarity where I realized something about my view of the world and how that was contributing to those feelings and it wasn’t because I was spending time in the wrong places, reading the wrong kinds of success stories, or anything like that.
Let me start with this: I don’t buy lottery tickets.
It actually does play into what this epiphany was about.
I’ve never thought I was a lucky person. Yet I’ve always believed luck plays a huge role in how a person’s life goes.
What it came down to was that if I believed luck had such a big role in whether or not I became as successful as some other author having great success, and I believed that I was an unlucky person, that meant I had pretty much already given up hope that I could ever reach the levels of success I want to reach.
Let me add this: I’ve always thought a person can learn just about anything if the person is driven enough to learn it.
I don’t necessarily believe anybody can do anything, because there are real world limitations, but there’s always hope that those limitations won’t stop them from learning something about what they want to learn, or even that they’ll find a way around that limitation and learn something in a whole new way.
I’ve also always believed that there’s always somebody out there who can do anything I and you and everyone else can do and do it better. Always.
All this came together in that moment while I was washing dishes (a favorite thinking spot for me) and made me realize that a change to my perspective could overcome every struggle I’ve ever had with these feelings of jealousy and envy, take away the unhappiness they were always causing me, and give me back my optimism.
All I had to do was admit that the authors doing better than me are more skilled writers than me. This kind of change in perspective probably only works for people like me, but for me, it has been a life-changing epiphany.
I mean, as long as I’m alive, I can keep learning, improving my skills, and becoming better at what I do. Even when I’m seventy-five years old, there’s the possibility that I’ll have a break through and become the kind of writer I’ve always wanted to be before I reach eighty!
And I don’t mind imagining that every successful writer is just better at writing than me. I don’t mind at all, because I can accept that there’s always somebody better. And I’ve never been one to be jealous of another person’s skills, simply because I believe that skills can be learned.
Hope is really the answer to most feelings of jealousy and envy, but it can be difficult to see that sometimes. I didn’t even realize a lot of these feelings were coming about because of an unacknowledged lack of hope. I mean, I didn’t sit around telling myself I was unlucky and that I had almost no chance of reaching the levels of success that some of my fellow authors have reached, because so much of success is dependent on luck and I had none.
But that’s exactly what I think I was doing.
And a change in perspective was all it took to give myself hope.
If you have feelings of jealousy and envy you can’t seem to get past, stop and think about how you see the world. Do you believe success is dependent on luck or skill? Then change your perspective and see if that helps you overcome those feelings.