Second of all...I've been thinking about this post for a while and the right way to say what I want to without coming across sounding like an ungrateful jerk.
So...jealousy. Or envy. One of the seven sins, dontcha know. It's also, I think, a very complex, very common emotion and one I want to address from the point-of-view of a writer.
In all honesty, I'm not, by nature, a jealous person. I'm also not a very competitive person. I am ambitious and I do set high standards for myself. My usual mode of operation, though, is trying to best myself more than anything.
But guess what? I get jealous. Sometimes I get jealous of other writers' extensive book tours or their bestseller statuses or the really cool trailer that their pub house made for them. Sometimes I get jealous that goals seem to come easily and quickly for others that have either taken me many, many years to accomplish or that I'm still grappling with. Sometimes I even get jealous of my friends' personal lives.
I hate feeling jealous. Hate it. Because, logically, I know that just because someone has had something good happen to them, doesn't mean something good won't happen to me. There isn't a finite amount of good fortune in the world. Also because I know that just because something seems easy for someone, doesn't mean that's the way it is. I often don't know an individual's personal struggles at all. And, finally, because jealousy is frankly a pointless and poisonous emotion. It's a waste of my time and energy. And it takes a lot of energy.
I KNOW all this. And, yet, it is impossible not to be jealous sometimes. I suspect it is part of the human condition and that I likely am not alone in feeling this way.
In the past year or so, I've found myself having to confront my jealousy more than before. Because, you know what? There are authors who are more successful than me: who get more attention, make more money, write better books. And, frankly, that's the way it should be. There should always be someone better than me, something to strive for.
I also accept that there are people who are jealous of me. I have an agent. I've been published. I have a book that is on bookstore shelves. Truthfully, three years ago, I would have been jealous of me for that alone.
What works for me is taking the time to acknowledge to myself when I'm jealous, reassuring myself that I don't mean ill-will to the person I'm jealous of, and then moving on. Even better yet, making sure to congratulate the person on their good news and making sure they know that I am genuinely happy for them. Because I am. I've learned that being jealous and being happy for someone are not mutually exclusive.
And I find that when I become a cheerleader, I feel just a little bit better about myself. It's a little bit easier to let go of the poison and focus on things that are proactive instead, the things that make me accomplish those goals I set for myself.
What about you? How do you deal with the big green monster? Or am I, in fact, a big jerk for sometimes feeling this way?
Oh, and because I promised...here you go. (I've embedded the version with on-screen lyrics because, let's face it, you know you want to belt this now.)