Perhaps it’s not the most festive topic this time of year, but after reading Ashe’s post from a few weeks ago on Blogging Sins, I’ve been thinking a lot about jealousy and envy in the blogging community. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s felt more than a tinge of one or both of these things in my blogging days…
Let’s start things off with a refresher on the difference between jealousy and envy:
Jealousy: “the result or fear of losing someone or something that one is attached to or possesses to another person.”
Envy: “the resentment caused by another person having something that one does not have, but desires for oneself.”
(Thank you, Wikipedia.) The two terms are often used to mean the same thing now, but when you think about it, there’s a big difference, and I think that difference is important when talking about these emotions as they relate to the blogging community.
Personally, I have suffered more from envy as a blogger. I don’t so much fear losing anything to another, but I have definitely felt those moments of resentment. From the biting wit of Leandra Medine to Aimee Song‘s perfect hair – I’ve caught myself in moments of spiteful envy when cruising some of my favorite blogs, even those of my friends!
Then, I feel terrible. I feel lacking personally, and I feel bad because I’m projecting my own perceived shortcomings onto my talented peers who I actually want to support – not resent!
British social critic Bertrand Russell said that envy was one of the most potent causes of unhappiness. Do you agree?
If you’re someone who’s able to keep perspective as you navigate this crazy experience we call fashion blogging without feeling jealousy or envy, I commend you and your (ahem, enviable) attitude. But if you’re one who falters, who feels envy, who feels the desire to have what someone else has… Let’s talk. What can we do to combat these feelings? I think Russell really was right in his thinking that envy breeds unhappiness, so here are some things that might help:
- STOP comparing yourself to others:I’ll be the first to admit this is all but impossible sometimes. We set standards and goals for ourselves based on what others have achieved, so measuring up is inevitable. Just keep in mind that your individuality will trump your ability to mimic the success of another. It’s always better to be a first-rater version of yourself than a second-rate version of someone else.
- Empathize, don’t criticize:When you feel those pangs of envy or jealousy, try and put yourself in the shoes of the other person. Remember that just like nobody knows everything that you’ve been through to get where you are, the same is true for the rest of the world. As hard as it can be, sometimes it’s better to just say, “Good for them,” and move on.
- Let it fuel the fire: Okay, so maybe you can’t quite control your feelings of envy. Fine. Channel those feelings and do something positive with them: let your desire for whatever it is you want inspire you to GET IT. Work hard, visualize yourself getting what you want and then feeling satisfied. Just make sure this is something you really want, not just a one-up to best someone else.