From the playgrounds to junior high, the same jealous behaviors find their way into the workplace or social-media-sphere, even though we like to think we’re better than that, or that we’ve outgrown the name-calling and back-stabbing. The undermining. Truth is, our mature selves are bitter as ever. But only if we let them be.
I got lost in this game the first year I went solo and made Heartbeet Kitchen my career. I stared at Instagram feeds 10x as large as mine, spent countless hours scrolling through blogs better than mine, and stalking twitter feeds of “the popular group,” as if I was a fly on the wall that could see their every move.
Soon I was judging them personally, finding their flaws, and what I once saw as beauty in their work turned into loads of negative energy. As a generally calm and kind person, I was startled with the amount of envy and dislike occupying my heart and head more than ever before. Why did I have so much aggression?
As the days went by and I felt my creativity extremely stifled, I needed to step back and reflect. Looking at my work, I didn’t see a sense of me anymore. Here I was trying to replicate everything but my own talents. And so much self criticism because I couldn’t create pictures or style food the way “those other girls could”.
My worst enemy had become myself. And I was going to have to call a truce in several ways to move on.
The first step was unfollowing these women whom I didn’t really hate– ultimately they just made me feel less than and set off competitive triggers that were stripping me of creativity.
Second, I let go of ill feelings. I came to an understanding that business is separate from them as a human being. And at the end of the day, we’re all just trying to survive, right? With limited resources and skills, in a rat race of a society….
Third, I needed to focus on ME. Nobody else but me. The first year of entrepreneurship is so important and instead of wasting time on others, I needed to develop my business and hone in on my own style.
It was at this point I also realized that 90% of my jealousy and comparison stemmed from feeling out of control with this new way of life, working for myself. Fear of failure was hiding underneath all of that junk.
To which I said, “I’m giving myself permission to fail. Learn, and grow.”
Looking back on this several years later, it was those failures that carved out my style, and a story that I can call my own. These are the things that separate me in the vast sea of creatives. Which means all those enemies I once had created in my mind? I again see beauty in their work (when I do see it or hear about it), and a place for it, different from what I can provide or who I am. Respect and admiration. I find myself sending others more good vibes and support than ever because simply put, there is room for everyone. With that, I’m kinder to myself too. That feel-good energy has rubbed off, and I don’t feel as much of a need to compare. And if a little burst of jealousy comes over me, I don’t stress because we are human. And that feeling is real, normal, and okay.
More love, fewer enemies. Including yourself.
See you on the other side of good karma.
Image from lavenderfresh.tumblr.com
BY Amanda Paa - April 29, 2017
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Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.
Loved the writing. Thank you for sharing, and always be yourself! 🙂
Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
Wonderful post! It’s so common to go from looking at a person/blog/business and finding the inspiration and motivation you had to turn into jealousy and envy. I struggled with this years ago when I owned a stationery company and it made owning my own business much more difficult. Glad to be free on that envy now. <3
Love hearing your story, Eva. And glad you’ve found peace as well. It’s hard because jealousy is a human trait, that we just have to battle. And it gets easier the more you accept rather than push back.
this was great to read! i think its also about being confident with yourself and thinking more about that. i guess we start to become what we spend the most time thinking about. Alain de botton writes a book called ‘status anxiety’ about this very thing!
I need to check out that book! And I totally agree, self confidence, once you build it, is so key.
So true Krystal!
Amanda this was such a great reminder and encouragement for me today. Thank you 🙂