Normal days are great, aren’t they? In hindsight, normal days that are predictable and mundane and easy-to-get-through are a literal breeze. The abnormal days sneak up on us. They strike when we’re on autopilot, just getting on and getting by with those stumbling thoughts buried under mountains of to-dos and to-go.
Spending last weekend blogging, writing and putting together my first ever newsletter exhausted me of all my creative energy. Like a true millennial, I procrastinated until the last minute, staying up late and getting up early to polish off the project launch that should have been practised and drafted days, weeks, before the launch date.
After things were signed off and scheduled, I sat back, breathed and for a split second felt the pressure lifting off my shoulders. I rewarded myself with a cup of tea, several biscuits and a scroll through Instagram.
That’s when it hit me.
As I was scrolling and mindlessly liking a switch flipped and suddenly I was the one at the bottom of the pile. The trier. The not quite the real deal. The not as good one, among my imaginary tribe.
Brilliant bloggers and creators seemed to be celebrating a milestone achievement or launching something or just bathing in their own success and glory – which is a-ok, I just wasn’t prepared to see it. It knocked me off my seat.
This week just went, overwhelmed by the sudden disappointment in my own efforts, I haven’t blogged, tweeted or even Instagrammed. Honestly? The green-eyed-monster made being online really difficult for me, so I retreated.
At first, it was great to have some silence. To not acknowledge what everyone else was doing for once, and think about my own things, was welcomed. The jealousy subsided a little, but every time I jumped back on Instagram to update myself, it crept back. I felt good until I had to face up to the fact that other people were getting on with life/work/blogging a little more than me.
It became obvious that my thinking towards my feelings of jealousy was causing most of my problems. I wasn’t only feeling jealous because I wanted to have some of the limelight and success that others had worked for, I was feeling jealous for many reasons – not all of them bad.
After having the week to step back, think and reflect, I settled on a few thoughts that have helped me level my head. Justifications as to why I’m jealous and perhaps, why it’s not the end of the world.
Jealousy means there’s passion
Jealousy stems from insecurity, right? Noticing that the green-eyed monster peaks in me when I feel like I’m not doing my best has been revolutionary. Even if it was common knowledge to everyone else, learning that my jealousy means that I want to do better for myself makes me feel a little less like an envious little brat – and more like someone who really wants something.
If I didn’t care about creating beautiful imagery, interesting content or building a positive space on the internet, then why would I care if other people are doing it so well? Feeling that twinge of envy when a blogger I admire scores a brilliant collaboration proves that there’s a little fire burning in me to do the same.
Yes, jealousy doesn’t always sit comfortably, but knowing that it will keep me hustling is a trade I’m willing to make.
We’re all running our own race
The brilliant saying, “Don’t compare your chapter 1 to someone else’s chapter 20.”, is very apt in moments of comparison and jealousy. Whilst I may not still be on my first chapter, recognising that other people are, and always will be, further ahead on their own journey is essential in taming the green-eyed-monster.
Being the one who didn’t come up with that brilliant concept will always feel a bit shitty – but just because one idea got snapped up it doesn’t mean there aren’t a million-and-one other ideas waiting for us down the road.
We’re all running our own race – ultimately, we’re only ever competing with ourselves and the familiar pang of jealousy is the reminder that really it’s what we think of our own next move.
Being online 24/7 doesn’t equal success
As a blogger and content creator, the pull to spend time online is obviously a strong one. With our platforms online, it makes logical sense to spend as much time as possible on those platforms – because that’s how you get ahead in the traditional working world, right? You spend as much time working, you immerse yourself in the environment and you live, sleep, breathe what you want.
My jealousy has helped me realise that this attitude to success doesn’t translate online.
Seeing everyone’s highlight reel isn’t useful when fighting our online demons whilst trying to succeed online. Seeing Sally celebrating hitting her monthly goal and Wendy chatting about the new collaboration she scored isn’t contributing to our own successes. It’s great for them – don’t get me wrong. If Sally, Wendy and I are pals, of course, I’ll be congratulating them – but consuming too much of these highlight reels only ever leads to comparison.
Being online and consuming everyone else’s highs and lows leaves us with little time to focus on our own. When the green-eyed monster rears its head, I now know that it’s time to get offline and get to work.