How My Jealousy Taught Me a Lesson

jealousyWhen I learned the Deseret News picked up my friend Erica’s recent blog post, I was thrilled for her. I’m one of her biggest fans. I know how hard she works, and how important her words are.

I wish this story ended here. Instead, I have to (yet again) showcase my own stupidity to highlight God’s genius.

Speaking of God, it’s possible He was sending me a friendly reminder when I received an email notice about another blog’s most recent post. The topic: professional jealousy.

If I’d read that blog post right away, this story might have ended here.

But I didn’t.

Fine, I’ll just come out and say it:

I was jealous of my dear friend and fellow writer’s success.

Ugly thoughts slithered around in my mind and heart:

Why isn’t a major newspaper contacting me to publish one of my blog posts? People aren’t even liking or sharing mine on social media. And nobody comments on my posts, either. Everybody obviously hates what I have to say. And me!

And of course, the ugliness happily multiplied in my brain, like mold on old bread.

Why don’t I have any novels published yet? I don’t even have a literary agent! I’ve been writing for over FIVE YEARS, and what success do I have to show for it? Why am I getting up at 5 a.m. most days to write – averaging five or six hours of sleep when I need eight – all for NOTHING!?

At that moment, it didn’t matter much that I’ve had three short stories and a New Era article published. Nor that even though they all still need some revision, I’ve actually written five novels from beginning to end.

When you’re jealous of other people’s successes, it’s so easy to forget your own.

The story could have ended here, with me munching on all that moldy envy and self-pity. But luckily, I made a decision. A decision to crowd out my feelings of jealousy by instead pumping up the pride I felt over my friend’s success.

So this morning, I reposted her article on facebook again. It was the third time I’d done so, but this time I gushed more about her than I’d done the two other times. I wanted her to feel my support, support I felt whole-heartedly even if it was slightly green with jealousy.

Pay attention now, because this is where God’s genius enters.

Several hours later, one of my other friends reposted the article. She also quoted one of Erica’s lines, saying it was an answer to her prayers and something she needed to hear today.

Erica’s words had touched her.

And I had put those words on her newsfeed.

God doesn’t just warn us about jealousy because it reeks of ingratitude and robs us of happiness.

When we’re jealous of other people’s successes, we miss opportunities. Opportunities to be instruments in God’s hands. In my case, a small and stupid instrument, but still an instrument.

And how awesome is it to help bring to pass God’s successes?

PS: I’m so glad Erica was a part of this lesson, because she’s very supportive of my blog and novel writing. Thanks for your friendship, dear friend! I hope you visit Erica’s blog, Let Why Lead, and read more of her wonderful posts.

Talk to me: How do you combat thoughts and feelings of jealousy? Have you had an experience similar to mine?

Comments

  1. Girl, I can totally relate. We’re only human, and no matter how much we WANT each other to both be wildly successful, it’s almost impossible when you’re in related fields not to turn on ourselves. I felt to a degree the same way when you got the New Era article! (And I suspect you’re slightly exaggerating your own feelings for artistic expression here. :) Anyway, when I was published in the Church magazines, social media wasn’t as vivacious and I was too shy to really tell anyone about it! So of course when you were, I envied the spotlight while still being totally thrilled for you. Funny how you can feel both at the same time. :) I’m really sorry I wasn’t more sensitive this week, considering I have felt the same thing! It didn’t really occur to me that you had any reason to feel envious, because hello, you’ve had four things published AND written five novels!

    Anyway, I was so touched by your words when you shared it the THIRD (you crazy lady) time, and I was just as touched by Jessica’s comments. Thank you so much.

    Btw, you much better at supporting my blog than I am at your endeavors. I want to do better, and I’m not just saying that because of this post. :)

    Well, here’s to BOTH of us taking over the literary (I don’t even think that’s the right term here) world!!!!

    • angelicahagman says:

      Isn’t it funny how dualistic we can be!? And how we can be jealous of each other back and forth like that. So silly, and so human.

      Don’t you dare entertain my weaknesses by being “sensitive to my feelings!” I want you to be wildly successful and I hope I can help you get there. (and hey, you already are successful!)

      And no, I’m not exaggerating for artistic expression. I get sucked into negative thinking really fast, so my thoughts were even worse than I admitted. =)

  2. Haha, more thoughts than I can say. How bout my whole life? I used to be angry and get so angry in an instant. It was jealousy, making me take everything personally… So much more to say, but right now I’m jealous that everyone elses’ minds are working and I’m stuck in bed sick. Well I was until I read that :) You are awesome! All in the lord’s time, and you have friends that would love to read your unpublished work and maybe even help you with a little self publishing if you desire 😉 keep it up!

    • angelicahagman says:

      Thanks so much for sharing, Vanessa! It definitely makes me fell less alone! Also, I’ll keep the self-publishing offer in mind – I actually have a project in mind for the blog, so maybe I’ll talk to you about that sometime. I’m sorry you’re sick and hope you get better soon!

  3. Angelica, thank you for your bravery and honesty. I’ve done this more times than I’d like to admit (and I rarely do admit it) and I’m sure I’ll do it many more times.

    I’ll never forget, though, your talk on Easter and the powerful words you shared. You have such a talent, and all your work and dedication is not in vain. Just thought I’d let you know how months later your thoughts and words are still with me.

  4. Oh shoot! I read and love all of your posts but I only get a chance to read them from my phone these days and find it a pain to comment from my phone. Also, I’m bashful about sharing religious things. Shame on me. But you are awesome!

    • angelicahagman says:

      Don’t feel bad! I think a lot of people are worried about sharing religious things. I was before I started with this blog!! (and still am, sometimes) Thank you so much for reading! It’s encouraging to know that it’s not just my husband who reads my posts!

  5. Hello dear sister,
    Oh, how awesome you are, for your honesty, dedication and passion!

    For most years during our youth I was envious of you, the first girl so beautiful, talented, perfect grades, the boys loved you and you were so popular in church. I was Angelica’s Little sister, without a name or the name was ” You’re Angelica’s sister right?”. Envy has a dualistic nature. Firstly, I think envy is somehow flattering, cause it means that one wants to be, have, look like what you semi-unrighteously yearn for. What you can dream and visualize you can become, and noticing what other people have which you Desire as well, can give you an indication what you want to achieve in life…but just maybe.
    BUT also, it is one of the most toxic things that you can endulge in, because it takes your focus away from youself and you unawarely put yourself in the back seat of your transportation through life – hindering yourself from steering and taking control of life. It creates resentment and distance in one’s relationships.

    It’s like you say Angelica, and so many others gratitude is the antidote of envy, and rejoicing genuinely in other people’s success might propel your own. The energy and spirit one acquires though these two actions and mindsets are fantastic.

    Continue being awesome sis!
    Love,
    Kat

    • angelicahagman says:

      Thanks for your comment, sis, and for being so generous in sharing your feelings and thoughts. Not really sure why you were jealous of me, though – there was really nothing to be jealous of! I know you explained why, but I don’t really agree. =) Also, there was (and still is) so much going on inside me that nobody would be jealous of!

      I really liked your thoughts, especially the part about jealousy creating resentment and distance in one’s relationships. And gratitude is definitely a great antidote to jealousy.

      Thanks again for commenting and sharing!

Speak Your Mind

*