Many will recognise the green that can cloud our vision as creatives. It happens unsuspectingly. You’re scrolling through social media, and see that someone you went to high school with has published their first book, got a recording deal, a role in a play. You frown, jealousy filling you to the brim. You click on the link accompanying it, searching for something negative to pick at. They must be self-published, it must be in a local theatre. You try to pull them down to lift your own bruised ego.
Or maybe it’s worse, maybe it’s a friend, someone you discuss creative pursuits with, and pretend to support. How do they have their EP on Spotify while yours remains scribbled in a notebook? How does their blog have so many subscribers?
So you play the Negative Nellie. You don’t like their post, you don’t add to their listens or views, you don’t consider buying their book to boost their sales. You fume. You’re jealous. I get it, I have the exact same thing. I tear them down within my mind, making excuses for why they are further along than I am. I have done it for so long, and now I’m ready to stop. I’m ready to address why I feel like this, what to do about it, and where to go from here. I’m ready to be a supporter.
So here’s why they are actually further than we are.
I’m not well-acquainted with spiritual matters. I can’t tell you about your aura or Chakras. But I do believe in the energy we release. Maybe on a karmic level, but mainly on an individual level. We get what we give. The energy we release is what surrounds us, it infiltrates us, through our mood, optimism and abilities. Releasing so much negativity will never get you further. Maybe positivity won’t get you published or recognised either, but it will definitely give you a better shot. Try releasing goodness into your own mind and the air surrounding you. Just try it. Open yourself for opportunities, open yourself for support. Give and receive kindness.
Because they’re not sitting there spewing. They’re doing something, they’re reaching for something. But you’re wasting your time on negativity instead. In the time that we spend exploring for loopholes and complaining about their success, we could have written more pages, we could have watched another tutorial. Negativity not only sucks up your time, but your energy. By using your fuel on jealousy, you are taking fuel that could’ve been used to be productive, to create instead of tear down. You only have so much energy to give out in a day, and by using it on being petty, you’re standing in your own way.
They’re sharing their blog because they’re ready to believe in themselves. You’re seeing their work because they are behind it, pushing it forward. Otherwise they’d be doing the exact same stuff without a reader or viewer. They’re shoving that boulder up the hill, and you clearly aren’t then. Because if you were, would this bother you so much?
You are letting their success restrict your own.
Their success doesn’t mean that there is less room for success for you. There are an infinite amount of readers, listeners, audience members. We’re not running out anytime soon. So learn from them. Read their published book and see if there is anything that stands out, see if their agent or publisher could be a good fit for you. Find inspiration through their success.
You really want to know how they got published or ‘discovered’? Ask them. Open a message on whatever social platform and ask them. Embed it for sure, be sure to congratulate them first. They could have advice, and they could have connections for you. It’s not only what you know, but who you know. Let them know that you’re a fellow creative, and they might want to spread their success. What do you have to lose? Time is the only thing that we can’t get back.
Maybe it’s karmic, maybe it’s simply social reciprocation. But if you are someone that outwardly supports other creatives, when the time comes they’ll toss that ball right back to you. By sharing their posts and supporting their work, not only will they notice and potentially return the favour, but other people notice. Those supporting them might see and check you out, as well as those following you. We love to have new artists recommended to us, and we think favourably of those that do. The writer that promotes someone else’s book? They’re the writer that you want to keep supporting, providing engagement on their posts and buying their works.
When such a jealousy is aroused, it usually stems from something within us rather than something about them. An insecurity is being alerted here. For me, I used to dislike people sharing their blog, I’d assume that they think they’re amazing and I’d pick at the posts. Why? Because I had always wanted to have a blog, but I was too scared of what people think. So why aren’t they as scared as me? Insecurities keep us still, they never push us forward. People leaving the ingroup by being themselves, being proud of their work and owning it, that’s scary for us. As if people can leave the ingroup, what is the point of it? The point is that it is a safety net but not bars on our window, revel in the security but learn to leave it.
When jealousy or other emotions are stirred, take a seat, ask yourself “what is really going on here?” Turn your negativity into a chance to explore yourself further and deal with unconscious stirrings.
So they got their book published and you didn’t? Well stop moaning and start writing. Don’t take them as a deterrent or an offence, take them as a challenge. Step it up. Work as hard as you can, believe in yourself, and you’ll be there too. Everyone there before you is a sign that the finish line is real, and it is within reach. Take them as examples of what you want, where you want to be. Challenge yourself like never before. Aim to be a person of envy for someone way behind.
As creatives, we have a lot of groups looking down on us. It’s a sad truth, with no good reason for it. Parents may grimace at the idea of their child becoming a writer, poet or singer. That’s okay, because we know the importance of these fields. What isn’t okay is knocking down fellow creatives. We need to band together, we need to support each other because so many others don’t. We appreciate the arts more than anyone else, and we know the hard work that truly goes into it. So we need to acknowledge it, we need to support each other more than ever.
There’s a Dutch saying that goes:
Het leven is een feest, maar je moet zelf de slingers ophangen.
It basically means that life is a party, but you have to do the decorating yourself. And I truly believe that, as life is what you make of it. But further than that, I believe that we can hang the streamers for fellow creatives. We can celebrate each other, and not consider everyone to be your threat. Because they’re not. Think of how many books by different authors you read in a year, that’s how many authors you can easily support. Think of how many songs you listen to (per day) on Spotify, there is plenty of air time for us all. Let’s wave those streamers and praise each other, because when the time comes, those will be the ones to do it right back for you.
Welcome to Symptoms of Living! A place where I like to relieve myself of the barrage of thoughts and ideas filling my mind. Here I'll take a look at various topics, from books to BPD, series to self-harm, there's nothing that we can't, and shouldn't, talk about.
Having struggled with mental illness since the age of 15, one of the hardest parts was how alone I felt in it. While mental illness is beginning to be discussed more openly, and featured in the media, I still think there is room for improvement. So whether it is mental illness or merely mental health, a bad day or a bad year, let's make this a place to approach it and strip it back. Everyone has their own symptoms of living, and you certainly won't be the only one with it.
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