Like all writers (and humans!), I have moments of jealousy. Sometimes when I see someone post a glowing review of their book from Publisher’s Weekly, I think: I wish I could get reviewed by PW. I want my first thought to be: That’s terrific. I’m so happy for you. I don’t want to be jealous or ungrateful or negative. Those kind of thoughts can end up in a spiral, so I’m currently trying to retrain my brain, especially for how I think and feel about a certain family member. For now, I’m wearing a rubberband around my wrist and I snap myself whenever I drift into negative territory. Primitive and painful, but effective.
Even though most of my unhealthy thought patterns have nothing to do with jealousy, I was reminded recently of how misguided envy can be when another writer contacted me and expressed jealousy for my writing success and my life in general. I wanted to reply with: Don’t wish for my life. You have no idea what I’ve been through and what I still face, possibly for the duration.
I wrote an upbeat encouraging note instead, but the exchange reminded me that everyone has a private life—and likely a pain or stress—that we know nothing about. Many of the successful, beautiful, or rich people I might be jealous of could have a chronic disease or suffer from depression or have a sick child—or all of those things.
Their career success might be the only joy they have, and given a choice, they might trade it all to save someone they love from something they have no control over. So I wish them success, peace of mind, and hopefully happiness too.
Specifically, my renewed goals are: 1) stay positive in my thinking, 2) give everyone as much slack and support as I mentally can, and 3) be grateful for what I’ve accomplished.
Have you had an epiphany or brain reset recently? If so, please share.