As much as we hate to admit it, we’ve all been jealous a time or two when friends, relatives, or complete strangers acquire or achieve something we most desire. Envy can turn into disappointment or rage, especially if we’ve worked long and hard (with little or no results) while the other party triumphs quickly with little effort. It can be difficult to smile and congratulate someone else knowing deep down we wish it was us.
But it can be us!
At the age of eighteen, I worked my first grown-up job. Among a group of ten or twelve office workers, one older lady stood out to me. She didn’t say much. But when she did, it was brief and profound.
One of my co-workers didn’t receive the promotion she’d hoped. Disappointment is an understatement for her reaction to the news. But, the older lady told her, “Sometimes it’s just not your time. When it’s meant for you, it’ll happen. Be patient.” Her remarks have stuck with me throughout the years…and she wasn’t even talking to me!
There have been many times when a personal desire or professional achievement was attained by someone else while I sat on the sidelines licking my wounds. The words of the older lady helped me keep things in proper perspective. And in some instances, something better came along.
If you’ve followed my blog for some time, you know that one of my dreams is to see my writing in stores and on the little or big screen. Over the last year, I’ve become more engaged with other writers online and off. We’ve shared ups and downs, highs and lows with transforming ideas from draft to published. There’s helpful feedback, encouragement, and pats on the back when writers have successfully found an agent, received multiple book deals, or won awards or made the best sellers list.
Inside, in the quiet of our minds and souls, we may be happy for them. It doesn’t take away the wish to walk in their shoes. But the point is that they aren’t our shoes to fill. Imagine forcing your foot into a shoe too small or walking in one too big. Either pain sets in or we’re flopping along. We’ll have to window shop awhile, but when the right pair (i.e. opportunity) comes along, it will be the perfect fit.
So to keep the green-eyed monster at bay, I’m sharing a few more things that keep me grounded:
- Be genuinely happy for someone else. Wouldn’t you want that from others when you succeed?
- Learn from others’ success. What worked? What hiccups happened along the way?
- Keep your focus. Allowing jealousy, disappointment, or anger to consume you can be a distractor. It’s ok to cry or have a little envy (we’re human). Just don’t wallow in it.
- The same person who succeeded may be one of our biggest helpers and cheerleaders in the journey to get ahead. Being negative or “hating” can leave a bad taste. Try to be positive and cordial.
- If God can open the door for someone else, why wouldn’t He do it for you? Since it happened to someone else, that means it is a possibility. Or better yet, maybe He has something greater in store.
This is not an all-inclusive list. Just lessons learned through the years that I hope will help others. If you have other insights and wisdom, I’d love to hear them.