Resenting the Success of Others

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” -Marianne Williamson

December Sunrise
December Sunrise

One day this week, Mastin Kipp’s blog Daily Love made me do a bit of thinking about my own creative process. The title was “Is it okay to share your success too?”

I read Daily Love every day, because in each blog Mastin is vulnerable. He writes about how he’s messed up, and what he’s learned from his experiences. Lately he’s been blogging about some recent successes. Interestingly, he’s been getting negative feedback about these posts, which made me think about my own process, and ask some important questions.

Why do we do that? Why do we get upset when someone with whom we’ve had a relationship, finds success? I have a theory about that. I’ll use myself as an example, because that’s the only perspective I’ve got, but see if this is true for you too.

For most of my life, I wallowed in self-hatred. I don’t know why I did that, because I had great parents who loved me. Though over the years, I’ve come to see that I picked up some of those feelings from my mom. She had a really hard childhood, and has struggled to like herself too. Whatever the reason, I set out to let go of the self-loathing and learn to love myself. It took me many, many years. When I had achieved a measure of self-esteem, I could allow myself to let go of the small life I had been living, and strive to become who I’d always wanted to be, a story teller through the written word.

For a while I rejoiced that I was doing what I loved most in the world. But, after a while, I was getting impatient. I wanted success to come knocking on my door. Other writer acquaintances in my area were becoming successful, and I was envious. Though I never gave them negative feedback, I understand why we sometimes snipe at people who’ve achieved success. I wanted what they had. I wanted to have people read my blog, and my stories. However, I wanted it to come easily. I didn’t want to do the work necessary to create that success. I mean, I’d have to go outside my comfort zone, and learn how to put myself out in the world. Yikes! That was scary.

What’s more, I had all these new feelings. I was living in a kind of transitory place. The self-hatred was gone, but I had no idea what being a success in my chosen work felt like. While I was in this netherworld, I was irritated when another local writer would talk about the number of books they’d written, their fan base, or that their latest book had been optioned for a movie. How did they do it? How did they get to be successful?

It’s fortunate that I think about questions like that. I can be an obsessive thinker, but that was a good thing in this case. I decided to do a bit of study about how to be my own boss. Sifting through all of the information out there took some time. Eventually I chose Marie Forleo and her weekly business videos, Marie TV. Something about her “you can do it approach” appealed to me.

Be advised, that you have to find your own tips and teachers. What works for me, might not work for you.

I’ve written in past blogs about the necessity to just do the work. Along the way something triggered that idea for me. Every morning I made writing my top priority, and slowly my feelings about other writers began to change. The reason they were successful, was because little by little they worked to perfect their writing. Their commitment was to pay attention to what they were doing, and not compare themselves to anyone else. That’s the key. Each creative person is unique, so is their artwork. We become envious of someone else’s success when we haven’t found our own voice, or we are afraid to step into the world in which we want to live.

No one achieves success over night. It takes work to find your own unique expression, and to make connections that will spread the word about you, and what you do. You have to be willing to be vulnerable, and open to whatever may come. And, you have to have a great imagination about the new life you’re going to be living. There are lots of great teachers out there to help you along the way.

If you want to sample Mastin Kipp’s work, here’s a link to his website where you can sign up to receive his daily blog: Daily Love. In my opinion, he’s got great insights about the struggles, and joys we face every day. Here’s the link to Marie Foleo’s site as well. She’s got great tips for entrepreneurs, which is what you are if you’re an artist. Last week on Marie TV, she interviewed Arianna Huffington about her new book Thrive, which is what we all want to do.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2014

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8 thoughts on “Resenting the Success of Others

  1. Great insights Lucinda. I can relate completely (the self-loathing and resentments). Thanks for sharing. I have always found this type of introspective, self-therapy reporting helps to open up my creative writing. Kind of a writer’s verion of “The Method”.
    Signed, Your Reader

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    1. lucindasagemidgorden

      Alan, Yes, I’ve been keeping a journal for 37 years. I’ve found it very helpful to my personal growth.I think many creative people struggle with self-loathing, and balancing that with our drive to be creative. Thanks so much for your comment.

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  2. Lucinda, Boy do I resonate! One of the first things I started practicing as often as possible a decade ago was to take a deep hard look at myself whenever i felt envious (or angry) at another. In the end it’s always about our reaction to them, not something they have done to us. In that space I’ve learned way more than I sometimes wanted to learn! As you point out so clearly, valuing ourselves and our art, and keeping our attention on our own work is key. The external world is loud and intrusive, and it takes determination and focus to accomplish, but so worth it! Thanks for this great reminder. It’s always a pleasure to read your blogs. Dorothy

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  3. Janet

    Excellent kernels of wisdom here, Lucinda. The hard part for me is being bound by perfectionism, and procrastination. I admire your discipline. You walk the walk, and talk the talk. Way to be!

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