How To Be Better, Not Bitter
May 16, 2016
It’s time for me to make a confession. I’m James Prescott. I’m a writer. And although I love seeing others thrive, grow and find their calling, I have the occasional, fleeting moments where I’m jealous of others.
I have times when I feel envy and bitterness. A sense of injustice at seeing others who never asked for, or were even interested in success or writing, have instant and incredible success, when I’ve worked hard for years and never got as far.
Let’s be honest, it’s easy to feel a sense of injustice when people whose major talent clearly isn’t writing – though I’m sure they have serious talent elsewhere – sell 120 million copies of what most critics agree are some of the more poorly written books out there (I’m sure you know which shade of book I’m talking about).
In all seriousness though, it’s my dark side, and I don’t like it. I don’t agree with it. It doesn’t represent me. I want nothing to do with it. But it’s real.
Those voices nearly deafen my heart when I see other writers who never wanted or wished to be writers at all, or only began it as a hobby, suddenly having NYT bestsellers and – and insist it was by accident. It’s even worse when they are wonderful,deserving people (as often, they are).
Again, I don’t decide to feel this jealous. I don’t want to feel this way. This part of myself disgusts me.
In contrast, and as anyone who knows me will tell you, I love seeing and helping people thrive and discover their identity and calling. It gives me a massive buzz whenever I hear about it – always has and always will. And I’d never want to deny anyone that.
But they’re inside me somewhere. So I need to confront them, acknowledge them – and the choose to reject them.
Leaving Jealousy Behind
Let’s be honest, I’m probably not alone in feeling jealous. I’m pretty sure we all have once in a while. Even when we don’t want to feel envy or jealousy at others success, even when we know numbers, stats and status don’t matter – which they don’t – we can still get that little unwanted pang of jealousy well up inside.
We all know that sometimes even though we know something is a lie, it often feels true. I’m convinced that to really accept something is true, it’s our hearts which need to be convinced more than our heads.
Our hearts can convince our heads, but our heads are a lot more difficult at winning our hearts. (you can tweet that).
Changing our hearts takes a lot longer. And it only comes by choosing continually to think differently. To reject these feelings of jealousy and be happy for others success. To cheer them on.
We may occasionally have feelings of jealousy, envy and bitterness – but we don’t have to live by them (you can tweet that).
We don’t need to act on them.
We don’t need to listen to those voices no matter how loud they shout.
What we need to do is simply keep telling them they aren’t true. And to trust that those desires, even if satisfied, won’t save me or complete us. Getting what we desire, being “a success” won’t make our lives perfect. It won’t make us more valuable than we already are.
Because we’re already enough.
We need to trust the light. Yes, in reality, the Hollywood-Christian story doesn’t always happen to us all, and no one should ever think it does. Churches should never give the impression things all turn out well or every prayer is answered – it’s simply dishonest. And some people do succeed, but it’s not everyone.
Things don’t always work out no matter how hard you try. It’s not always fair. Sadly, that’s real life. It’s how it is in an imperfect world.
And in truth, grace isn’t fair. Many of us will feel cheated when people that somewhere in us we deem less high up the maturity/worthiness scale receive all we desire. I mean let’s be real about this, no matter how inclusive or encouraging or humble we are, or how much we love others, there’s usually a little bit of pride which seeps in about where we are in relation to others.
It’s not good or healthy, and needs to be confronted, but it happens.
So let’s choose not to be bitter. Instead, let’s choose to be better.
Let’s choose to desire the best for others even when that means our dreams become their realities. And let’s trust that life does have good – great – things for us, and walk the path, including it’s dark side, alongside the divine.
Are you with me?
Question For Reflection:
How can you deal with jealousy better?
Let me know in the comments below.
Like this post? Share it on Twitter.
(Picture Sources: courtneyriouxcoaching.com / ambitious.com)