Are you one of those people who never gets jealous of others success and genuinely feels nothing but love and admiration for your peers when their careers suddenly skyrocket, even if yours remains stagnant?
Then, congratulations! YOU HAVE A BEAUTIFUL SOUL!
But this blog post is not for you. So keep walkin’.
The entertainment industry is a crazy business where things can seemingly change overnight. The girl you wait tables with may quit all of a sudden because she just got her big break as a staff writer on a TV show, leaving you to cover her section at the restaurant. That funny gal from your acting class is suddenly absent – A month later you notice her on a billboard as you sit in traffic in your crappy car. Your best friend just got hired to direct the next Star Wars installment and you can’t even raise $1000 on a Kickstarter to fund your short film. Ok, I think that’s enough examples.
I’ve always been a jealous person. I think it started at the age of 2 when my little sister was born and I suddenly had to share the limelight with her. The photo above is from our first photoshoot together.
This photo is infamous in my family because everyone agrees the look on our faces perfectly sums up our childhood relationship. Don’t get me wrong, I adore my sister – Now that I’m an adult and can comprehend that my parents have enough love for both of us. But when you’re a 2 year old kid your world consists of eating, learning how to use the toilet and most importantly, getting attention from your parents. So when a newer, cuter kid comes on the scene out of nowhere, you initially panic and think there may not be enough parental attention to go round.
As an adult pursuing a life in the entertainment industry I often feel those same pangs of jealousy and the fear that there isn’t enough to go round. And for some reason those feelings are always so much stronger when the person succeeding is someone close to me. For example, I don’t sit around being jealous of Meryl Streep for all her accomplishments, but when my good friend books a commercial I get a quick pang of jealousy. And if that same good friend goes on to book the lead in a network pilot, then I’m overcome with both jealousy and self loathing and before I know it I’m going through the Burger King Drive-Thru three times in a row and crying into my Flame Grilled Whopper, “WHY NOT MEEEE?”
So, why does my friend’s first major accomplishment hit me harder than the fact that Meryl Streep has had 19 Oscar nominations? Because me and Meryl come from different worlds and always have. But when my own friend from my own world suddenly goes from being a “nobody” like me in Hollywood to a “Somebody”, it can mess with my head. “Is there enough to go round?”
Have you ever felt this way, too? It totally sucks! What should we dooooooo?
Well, first of all, you’re not a nobody so calm down and stop being such a drama queen. You are not Meryl Streep. You are not any of your close friends or acquaintances. But you are somebody. You are your own person with your own journey. Sounds cheesy but everybody’s got a journey and no two people are exactly the same.
Secondly, don’t beat yourself up if you feel a little jealous from time to time. When I used to get overcome with ugly feelings of jealousy toward someone I’d follow that up with a nice dose of shame, then a little self hatred, which would just make me feel more jealous of everyone else who was less jealous than me! It was a vicious cycle.
Self respecting people don’t talk much about getting jealous because it’s not an attractive quality. But the fact is, most people want to succeed at something in life. It’s human nature. And therefore most people feel a tad bit jealous when someone else succeeds at the thing they would have liked to succeed at. It’s normal. Don’t hate yourself over it. These days, if a friend gets an opportunity that I would have loved to have for myself, I allow myself to feel disappointed and jealous – But only for a moment. Then I tell myself to get back to work. Cause, ain’t nobody got time for that!
One more thing. Haven’t you ever heard that succeeding in Hollywood is all about relationships? WHO you know, not WHAT you know. Well, funnily enough this cliché is partly true. So when one of your pals catches a break, look at it as a small win for yourself too. Don’t start acting weird and distant toward them just because you feel jealous.
Having said that, don’t be a douche bag and start kissing the ass of an acquaintance you previously had no interest in now that they’ve gotten their big break, in the hope that they’ll pass your screenplay on to their new agent. That’s just really gross.
Finally, try to remember that life isn’t all about having a successful career, and maybe YOU have things in your life that other less fortunate folks would envy. Maybe you have an amazing family, a safe home to live in, or you’re in great physical health. Now take a sec to celebrate if you’re winning in any of those categories. Feel better? Now get back out there and keep doing what you love.