Shakespeare called it the "green eyed monster". Therapists have pointed to childhood scars or mental instability as the source of jealous feelings.
Not sure I would go that far. I think jealousy can sometimes be a very natural, human emotion....especially in this day and age when everyone's highlight reel is played over...and over...and OVER on social media. To the point where if we hide any more accounts there will be no one left to be "social" with.
I easily feel sharp pangs of envy over other photographers who travel a lot. Photographers who get to see other lands, experience breaks on sandy beaches, or get calls to photograph people a plane-ride away. I think of how wonderful it would be to hop on a plane and get a break from my norm sometimes. I am not a well-traveled gal. The first time I was EVER on a plane I was 19 years old. I've only ever been on a handful of vacations. I consider rather long car rides 'destination weddings'.
I own my envy. I know where it comes from. That life....that wanderlust....is radically different than my own world of three kids and a house that isn't always as tidy as I'd like it to be. Of pedestrian errands and mediocre dinners and looking forward to Tuesday nights because that's my "TV" night.
Jealousy and envy can creep into our psyche's and can suck out all of our happiness if we are not careful to check ourselves.
THE SOCIAL MEDIA HAPPINESS-SUCK
I've been there. I've had to hide folks on social media for the simple fact that they made me feel like shit about myself. Maybe that's showing a glaring weakness in my personality. Who knows. But, day after day of an impossibly amazing "highlight reel" can wear on you. I'm a gal who likes a little bit of REAL with my social media....dude, we all know your office doesn't look that tidy and perfect, like some Home and Gardens spread. Let's be REAL here.
We preach authenticity but we don't really practice it, do we? In a way, we are all online pretending we are the coolest versions of ourselves.
Jealousy and envy is how we drive sales in the social marketing game. See this amazing life I lead? Want that life too? Buy my book, follow my Instagram, take my workshop, hire me.......
You have to take a realistic approach and realize this is ALL sales. It's all being used to evoke reaction. We start to drift away from what is amazing about our own lives and believe that everyone else has it better than we do.
Sometimes, you just have to unplug. You have to. Or you'll go insane.
OWNING YOUR YOU-NESS
One of the worst things about your twenties, I found, was you really still have no idea who you ARE. I mean, you may know what you like....or don't like....or what you feel...or don't feel. But, you still walk through life keenly aware that there may be eyes on you. Judging you.
One of the BEST things about entering my late thirties is you start not to care so much. You start to realize that dammit....you're nearly middle age....this is who you ARE....even if that person is nerdy, or disheveled sometimes....or not cool in the slightest. It's YOU. If you haven't found and learned to own your "you-ness" by the time you start edging close to 40.....then it may be time for some serious self-reflection.
OWN IT. Seriously. There is only one you. There's enough of those other people.
When it comes to sales, and business, and attracting my target client....I've found in the last year or so that trying hard to be someone I'll never be would NEVER work.
For one, I am not a stylish person. I never have been. I'm artsy, to a certain extent. I write, I photograph, I read extensively when I have the time. But stylish? Good God, no. I'm black pants, black shirt, black shoes, ponytail girl.
I need to own it. Even if it's not what graces the cover of whatever magazine the "kids" are into these days.
I'm a person who will listen to early 1990's heavy rock music until the cows come home.
I'm a girl who fangirls heavily over Sherlock and Hamilton-mentions on TV
I'm a person whose regular Friday nights may include kareoke with my kids and rousing renditions of Disney songs.
It's me. It's not for everyone.
LET ENVY DRIVE YOU, NOT DESTROY YOU
I recently read a book. A really good book. And after I finished it and put it down I felt a wave of acrid envy build up in my chest....the kind of envy you can FEEL. I envied that writer for being so good with words....for crafting sentences I could never dream of crafting. For having such a command of the language that they painted scenes with words that you could see....vividly.
For a moment, I allowed myself to wallow a bit. I would never write such prose. I would never be to that point. Hell, I'm already 36....if I were going to write something great I would have done it by now. If I were to do anything amazing, my prime had already come and gone.
My husband accuses me of being an old woman before my time.
And he's so right.
My envy of that sort of talent needs to drive my own endeavors, not destroy the idea that I can do things I dream of doing.
We can be our own worst enemies, for sure. And it's why so many of us live our whole lives never fulfilling what we'd like to do. Because we allow the triumphs of others to destroy us. As if their candles burning brightly can extinguish ours.
When you work in an industry that is based on creative work and is as ridiculously subjective as photography, it can be SO easy to play the constant comparison game. I fall victim to it. We all do.
Green Eyed Monsters are easy to find. And I guarantee you, there's probably someone out there reading YOUR highlight reel online and saying to themselves "HOW does she do it? WHY is it so easy for her?"
Yes. YOU. Someone out there envies you. I guarantee it.
So, make it your mission within this absolutely crazy business to leverage your "you-ness".....to embrace whatever that may be, even if you believe it to be the complete opposite of what clients seem to be flocking to.
You will find your tribe. They are out there. Make it easy for them to find you. At the risk of sounding like a Disney character, listen to your heart....be yourself....let that guide you. ***cue wonderful Lin-Manuel Miranda composed song***