When the Success of Others Make You Unhappy

When I shared my love of writing with people, it was so contagious. People would say, “I wanna write a novel too.” Inside I wanted to say, “No, no, that’s my dream! Find your own dream!”

But imitation is supposed to be one of the sincerest form of flattery, right? So why was I feeling this way? It was irrational, but I was sure then that if they started writing, they would learn from my mistakes, produce a best-selling novel and upstage me in a heartbeat. But has anyone ever tried write down 75,000 vocabulary words? Hello, it’s hard work, and getting those 75,000 words to actually tell a story is even harder. So if someone could produce a novel and make it best-selling, then they truly deserve it.

It was awful feeling that stingy. But now if you click on Explore, you’ll see articles on writing under Authentically Write. So how did I get here? It was a journey indeed, but it feels so great to be in this place. It’s important to note that I didn’t get here because I wrote an amazing novel and proved it to everyone. I got here independent of circumstances. I got here because I went to the root of my jealousy (and worse, it was jealousy of what might be).

Jealousy stems really from two key factors: not knowing who you are and what your purpose is. If you truly knew who you were and what you were here to do, you would never, ever look at someone’s Facebook and be jealous. You would not envy another’s success or potential success.

If you had these two things as a foundation, you would be unstoppable and untouchable to the praises and criticisms of others and to circumstances—failures or successes. Wouldn’t that be the most wonderful feeling? The world could huff and puff and try anything that it could to blow you away, but you would still be standing. (I have no idea where that came from. Three little pigs?)

So here is my challenge: Go and figure out who you are and what you are here to accomplish. Spend time developing yourself to the point that you have no time to keep track of the successes of others because you are just too excited about creating your own beautiful life.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. alicegristle says:

    Totally. 😀 Looking forward to reading your post!

  2. Top says:

    I was going to address anger in a future post. Thanks for the introduction. I think it’s especially one of those emotions we are taught we can’t have, so we are prone to pushing it down. But like jealousy, it could be a great road map for each of us.

  3. alicegristle says:

    I love the way you think! 😀 I’m totally for not ignoring our emotions, whether we label them as good or bad. Even our so-called bad emotions are, well, undeniably there! Like you say, why not use them?

    Also, I’d love it if we could move on from the one-eyed idea that every emotion demands only one kind of action. Anger demands that you hit people, sadness means that you mope in the corner, joy means that you jump about, laughing… I want a world where anger is just anger, and we can decide what we do with it.

  4. Top says:

    Alice! Hello! Thank you for your thoughtful comment. You are right good self knowledge is not always enough. Perhaps, a transformative—rock-you-off-the-boat understanding? Hmm . . . where can we get one of those?

    I didn’t share this in the post, but I wonder if jealousy also stems from the belief that there isn’t enough to go around, so if someone else has it, then you don’t. Waaa!

    But you know Alice, do we really need to protect ourselves from this honest emotion? When we feel it, I wonder why we have to get so worked up about it–or give it so much power. It’s only bad if we act on it. And could we just look at differently? When it rears its head, we could use it as helpful tool in identifying what it is that we long for, deny or ignore in ourselves. What if we stopped ignoring that? Start listening and doing. What would that be like?

  5. alicegristle says:

    Wonderful post, Top! I love how you brought up being untouchable to praise. We talk a lot about criticism and how it can smash our spirits, but really, praise can be equally injurious, and in deeper and more devious ways.

    As for jealousy, though, I have a more nihilistic view on it, unfortunately! I think it’s more deeply rooted in us, and even good self-knowledge will protect us against envy-like emotions only so much. But then again, knowing who you are and knowing your purpose is still indispensable!

    Thanks for the thoughtful post! 🙂

  6. Top says:

    The sounds of nature always bring me peace as well. Oh the flowers are from my many walks through the neighborhood. Wishing you sweeter, calmer days ahead.

  7. dennessee says:


    I really like your flower pictures, they add so much to the calm feeling of your post. I find I am not very good about dreaming about what life would be like lately. Mostly they are things that terrify me. I have been trying to focus on getting through each day one moment at a time. Life seems a blur.

    But I found myself glad just to listen to the falling rain, that brought me peace.

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