Jealousy – it really is a curse

Forgive me father for recently I have sinned. I have been covetous.

Which is odd because till now, I have never had more than a passing relationship with the green-eyed monster. In fact I’ve always subscribed to wise words of Mary Schmich when she said:

Don’t waste time on jealousy.
Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind.


So who are these people that I am jealous of? Well that would be some of my writing peers – Anna, Karen and Eden specifically. What have these girls all got in common? Well they just have a way of writing, a way that makes me despair because I just can’t write the way they do and I desperately wish I could. And that’s not all. These girls don’t just have my admiration – they have the admiration of many other writerly people I know. People whose admiration I crave!

(Which makes this a perfect example why basing your self-worth on the admiration of others is just not the way to go.)

Now that I have acknowledged the green-eyed monster in the room, I want to know how to get rid of her because I don’t like the way she makes me feel. In fact I agree with Robert Heinlein who said:

A competent and self-confident person is
incapable of jealousy in anything. Jealousy is invariably a
symptom of neurotic insecurity.

I don’t want to be neurotically insecure so the first thing I need to remind myself is that a person’s true writing voice, the one that resonates with readers, is kind of ingrained. Which means there is no point me wishing I wrote like Karen because only Karen can write Karen. And if I started trying to write the way she does, it would come out all kinds of wrong. I just need to keep writing like Kelly.

And I also need to remind myself that my true writing voice does resonate with people. Lots of people. It may not cause my peers to throw down their pens and scream “I quit! I will never write like Kelly so I never want to write again!” (as I have done when I have read a few of Anna’s pieces) but that’s fine.

And finally, I just need to keep on keeping on, working on my craft and being the best writer that I can be because as my mate Oliver Stone says:

Never underestimate the power of jealousy
and the power of envy to destroy.

It will be a huge shame if I let my little insecurities ruin what could be a perfectly satisfying writing career. Wouldn’t it?!


Do you find ever find yourself suffering from jealousy? How do you deal with it?
And are you a creative person who craves recognition from your peers above that of your audience?

Share your thoughts in the comments – I’d love to hear about other people’s experiences with this!




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  1. says

    Oh yeah, I think peopel would be lying if they said they didn’t crave some sort of recognition. I envy some who get more recognition than me yet when I do get some recognition I somtimes feel undeserving. I am my own enemy. Neurotic insecurity – yes mmm hmmm.

  2. says

    Maybe a little, sometime along the way. I agree that all three of the writers you have mentioned have a true gift, but that’s not to say that the way you write is any less special. x

    • says

      Too lovely B :)

      I spend a lot of time reminding myself that I like reading the words of a LOT of people, not just three and there’s plenty of reading to go around for all us writers!

  3. says

    I think it is human to be gripped with envy at times. The difference as you have so eloquently pointed out is if you let it remain gripped around your throat, consequently you end up starving you own individuality and star to shine. You are so talented Kelly. Don’t underestimate that.

    Me – I just want a paying job. Not necessarily in blogging, just an income of any kind. Yet here I am stalling, not even sure where to start. Being out of the work force for such a long time has not done wonderful things for my self belief.

    • says

      I definitely agree it is human isn’t it Vicky! The trick is have the self-esteem to get over it right? Easier said than done sometimes though ;)

      As for you … you’ve had so much change lately so be kind to yourself and remember, when you’re not sure where to start, ANYWHERE is a good place :)

      • Vicky says

        Thank you. I needed to be reminded of that. Sometimes I think I’m superwoman, ready to leap buildings in a single bound. I need to remember that I am a human, and can climb buildings by putting one foot in front of the other. X

        And I good place to start would be a resume don’t you think? :)

  4. says

    Absolutely I crave admiration from my peers. Admiration and acceptance. But really I think we need to acknowledge ourselves first don’t we?

    There are so many writers out there and so many whom I admire, including the three you mentioned. I don’t think I am jealous but I try to let good writers inspire me to be the best writer I can be. In saying that I have a long way to go but the more I write the better I will become and the more my voice will shine through.

    And for the record Kelly, you have an amazing talent for writing. What I enjoy about your writing is your candour. I can see who Kelly is and for that I admire you!

    • says

      Aw thanks Jodes. And I like your thinking – I need to draw the line at ADMIRING these wonderful writers and being inspired by them … but I shouldn’t be crossing over into ‘I will never write again territory!’

  5. says

    I’m not necessarily jealous of others work, but it definitely makes me doubt myself. I compare and contrast too much. To the point that I even consider giving up the blogging game.

    • says

      Well I can honestly say that pretty much every blogger wants to give up at some stage after comparing and contrasting – so welcome to the club!! But once you get to know the ‘uber’ bloggers a bit better you quickly see that they are uber because they work very very hard. And this becomes inspiring rather than de-motivating I have found :)

  6. says

    I think there is room for us all, as we all have a voice that is unique. Obvious cliche i know! But I think it is ok to be envious of others as long as we use it to power us along rather than stop us in our tracks. It is great to admire people…we just need to nip it in the bud before it morphs into envy and catapults into jealousy. And for the record I love the way you write. :)

    • says

      Yes!! You are totally right Martine! Don’t let admiration cross the line into jealousy … that doesn’t help anyone does it?! And thank you lovely lady – I really appreciate the kind words :)

  7. says

    Oh I get this, more so with photography than writing. And yes I’ve been at the ‘I Quit’ stage because of that green monster. Only just starting to accept my own journey and stop trying to emulate others. I think sometimes for me Facebook doesn’t help – scrolling through pages of feed of artists whom I feel I will never be as good as, as popular as, and as successful as. Very hard to get that balance of inspiration and leave envy out of it.
    I like your comment – keep on keeping on, because artists of ANY kind, writers, photographers, painters, are always learning, always growing and always finding and tweaking their style. And for the record, I think you have more fans and admirers than than you think ;)

    • says

      Thank you Carly – too kind! And YES – as you say, it is such a fine line to stop inspiration and admiration crossing over into envy. But I shall definitely keep on keeping on because while I do really want my words to be read, I also have to remind myself that I would write regardless BECAUSE I LOVE IT. And I think that’s why you do photography … because you love it … everything else is a bonus right?

  8. says

    I tend to feel more inadequate than jealous – but you are so spot on about ingrained voices and how boring would it be if we all sounded the same? You do resonate with readers and I don’t think that’s as easy as it sounds. You also do some pretty slick design too so really – stop hogging the talent pool ;)

    • says

      Oh absolutely!! I personally adore SO many writing voices out there and the world is a richer place for the fact that we are all so different. And that’s so interesting what you have said about feeling inadequate rather than jealous … *Kelly delves inside to see whether she is harbouring feelings of inadequacy too*

      And thank you Carli :)

  9. says

    When you allow yourself to get stuck in a state of constant comparison, you limit your ability to create a difference of your own.

    The quota for ideas hasn’t been used up just yet.

    The capacity for experiencing difference hasn’t been reached.

    There is room in the world for people who can and can’t blossom a lotus.

    A place for both them and you.

    Don’t beat yourself up Kel. Show up in the world as only you can.

    Here’s one I wrote earlier.

    • says

      Ah B I knew you would have some great wisdom to share on the topic. I am not one for jealousy or comparisons usually so I thought it would interesting to delve deeper on this one. I am now very well prepared for the next time the green-eyed monster rears its head!

  10. says

    we all crave recognition from our peers, especially for something that is so important to us, something we feel may even define us
    but the more you look towards others and see what you lack, the less likely you will be able to ssee all that you have and more
    you are a great writer, someone i actually i look up and aspire to, have for quite some time
    we all battle with jealousy, even those who say they don’t

    just keep swimming xxx

  11. says

    Oh yes!! As a fledgling designer, I get so discouraged with my work. I see the big ones and think I would like just a fraction of their talent. But then I try to remind myself that they had to start somewhere too.
    As for your writing Kel, I don’t think you have a choice. It’s from your heart, and obvious from your work that this is something that you must do.
    You my lovely, are your own harshest critic……we all think you’re fabulous xx

    • says

      Ha ha do you know Lise I am having a MAJOR design crisis at the moment because our two wonderful designers in the Swish office have gone so far beyond me now that I am just struggling for confidence in that arena!

      But happily I do find with my writing that there is a love and a passion there and even if I don’t hit the heights of those writers I love so much, you guys who are my wonderful readers do let me know that my voice is plenty good enough!

  12. says

    The biggest thing I get jealous of is when someone writes about something I’ve been thinking of…. When they so brilliantly articulate something I have been struggling to put into words to publish. Something that resonates with me because it’s so beautifully written that I could never have done it the same justice as they did.

    Your post is one of those.

    Kelly – I’m jealous of you.

  13. says

    I can so relate Kel, I often feel inadequate in the face of such creative talent. I’ve stared down the “I quit” barrell many times, wondering why I should bother persevering when I seem to be getting nowhere. It’s so hard not to compare, to wish but it’s probably human nature to do so – or at least that’s what I comfort myself with :)

    You m’dear though, you have nothing to envy others over. In fact I’d go so far to say there are many of yours fans (me included!) who’d like to be more like you!

  14. says

    I love Eden’s writing. I love Anna’s writing. I love Karen’s writing. And I love your writing. They fill different places in my mind and heart. And I love them all for that.

    I am also deeply envious of ALL of you ;)

    • says

      Ha ha too lovely Tam. I keep reminding myself about ALL the wonderful voices I love out there in the world and how we’d be a bit stuffed if there were only a few voices we ever heard. I love exactly how you’ve described it as that is exactly how I feel :)

  15. says

    Kelly, I love your honesty. In honour of your honesty, here is some ugly truth from me: part of the reason I took leave from my writing course was because it was impossible to develop my own voice because I was so interested in everyone else’s. Oh, but I could never write like Eloise! Jay is so talented, and he’s only 18! Cory is smart as a whip (and he wears glasses, he must be smarter than me!) Imagine that times a million and you have yourself the blogosphere.
    The internet is a noisy, noisy place. You – you have a voice. It’s a fantastic voice. You fill a niche and your writing resonates with many, many people (including me). You’ve got to run your own race. Jealousy is a complete waste of energy.
    And thank you for the kind words, it’s very, very flattering to be in the same company as Eden and Anna. We’re like one big happy fruit bowl. x

    • says

      And one more thing – this is more of a writing craft comment. I think I developed my voice while writing emails to my best friend (we used to email each other every day at work). I think of her as ‘my ideal reader’. Maybe you should think of your ideal reader, and write for that person.

      • says

        You – you are the best! My mind is abuzz with your truth!

        And I do often think to myself ‘who is my ideal reader’ … and I keep coming back to myself, which is weird. But perhaps not so weird because so much of the feedback I get is from people who are just like … me!

  16. says

    I just said “I love you Kelly” out loud, so you MUST be doing something right. This post resonates with me, loud and clear. It is hard not to compare yourself when there are so many amazing writers around you. But your self-advice to ‘write like Kelly’ is the best advice ever. Advice I need to remind myself of, often. x

  17. says

    I do let myself get crippled maybe not by jealousy, as much as comparison and then allowing that to make me feel inadequate. That’s just as bad and being madly jealous I think. I have looked at other bloggers and wondered what it might be like to write like them but that seems to bring them a lot of attention which, in my mind, carries a huge responsibility, then I remind myself I don’t want that burden of responsibility. There is no room in my life for that. I need to remind myself I am me and be at peace with who that is, with what that means. We can’t all be the same.

    You write things that make me want to read, Kelly, even though it’s different from your three muses. I do stop in my FB feed if I see something from you. :-)

    • says

      I like your take on the whole burden of responsibility thing V – that’s certainly adds a dimension that I hadn’t thought of and also one that perhaps I am not that keen on!!

      But thank you for saying I write things you want to read – that is high high praise and has made my day :)

  18. Jacqui says

    Kelly, this post has really resonated with me because the last few years I have been housing the green eyed monster. I was never a jealous person, always happy for others and loved enjoying their successes.
    I don’t know where this has come from. I find myself getting envious of totally childish things like who was invited to things that I wasn’t and successful women who can seem to juggle family and amazing careers.
    It is driving me to distraction. How do you get rid of this internal voice?
    Maybe it is a self esteem thing. Does anyone have any suggestions?

    • says

      My main way to deal with envy when it rears its head is that I tell myself that things are seldom as awesome as they seem. I think there is that saying that we tend to compare other people’s highlight reels to our everyday – and more often than not, there are things in their everyday that we wouldn’t be all that keen on :)

  19. says

    I’ve been trying to find something inspiring to say for ages, but failing. You are an excellent writer with a wonderful voice Kel, and I admire you for so many reasons. I hate the thought that you’re feeling less than that. What you write is succinct and clear and fresh and that is something I wish I could do.

    I compare myself to other writers all the time and want to top myself afterward. But “goodness” of writing is subjective. On whose scale are you worse than other writers? Yours! Not mine or any of these other people who’ve said what I’ve said.


    • says

      Aargh I just want to write like you! Rationally I know how stupid that is but you just have a certain quality that I will never capture. I am quite happy writing like me most of the time … and I know other people like my writings … but sometimes I just think “I want to write in a way that makes other WRITERS stop and stare’ The way you and Eden and Karen all do so often.

      However, I do realise I will have to get over it!

  20. says

    I’d like to be able to just say ‘Thankyou’ when I am actually recognised for doing something well or even great. Instead I make excuses for how easy, how cheap, how I followed someone elses instructions. I think a little more self confidence would help with this.

    • says

      It’s so hard wired into us isn’t it Annaleis? This over the top modesty!! It’s taken me years to learn how to just say ‘thank you’ (even though in my head I am thinking, well if I did it, it’s not that hard!)

  21. says

    So here you are, a very successful blogger and columnist feeling jealous of three arguably even more successful writers. Meanwhile the rest of us little bloggers are envious of you. Where does it end?

    • says

      I think it is because we never see ourselves the way others see us isn’t it? But really, you are completely correct. I should just celebrate my own little successes and not waste time wishing I was someone else!!!

  22. says

    I always have to remind myself that I’m a newby to all of this and it’s just like doing an apprenticeship. You asked for blogging advice a little while ago and I think my one and only piece of advice was “don’t compare yourself to others” – it would have to be the biggest thing I’ve learnt in the past year. I’m always amazed Kelly and the constant quality and quantity that you manage to produce.


    • says

      ba haa haaa. Do you know it was so interesting to hear that comment from Kerri because I have done a fair bit of editing this year for various publications and one of those pubs is BIDE magazine and Kerri’s article in BIDE is the ONLY article I have ever encountered that required zero edits. I was so impressed because I know how hard editing and proof readng your own work is!