My name is Jasper Mountbatten III (I’m Darren Clark’s MASSIVE Ego) and I resent the success of his friends and colleagues. It’s been about 17 hours since I last resented one of his friends successes.
No. Down Jasper!
As I write this, as I do with many of my blogs, I’m figuring things out in my head as I write. The question that has been bugging me most recently is WHY? What is the function of my resentment, what is the function of the envious monster that lurks behind my eyes. How do you benefit me monster? Tell me how??!
I’m not writing this as a rebuke to myself. Nor as a rebuke to anyone who feels the dark undertow of envy and resentment pulling them under from time to time. I don’t feel like there is something wrong with me for feeling this way (just add ‘catholic guilt’ to your pot of ‘envy’ for a perfect Sunday ruiner). This is a feeling that comes upon me fairly regularly and from conversations I’ve had with my colleagues and friends, it seems that I am far from alone.
If the person exists out there who can honestly say they have never felt a twinge of resentment at someone else's success then please don’t let me know about your existence. You’ll just make me feel inadequate. If however, you are the colleague who feels these things and has learnt to channel them into something positive and constructive, I want to hear from you.
I shall now say something wise and profound, which someone much wiser and more profound has probably already said:
(cue emotional music and picture of cat hanging on to a tree)
Someone who has only ever lived in daylight will be lost when night eventually falls. But the person who lived in daylight, then fought through the long night to the new dawn is infinitely more precious.
Because they know the way out.
And of course… I resent them for it.
It seems that my resentment of others success bears no relationship to the talent of my colleagues, or indeed even the degree of their success, or the fact that I have experienced much success and good fortune myself, sometimes beyond those that I am envious of. If I was envious only of people who have had higher profile achievements and better reviews then at least that would make some sort of sense.
But that’s just not the case….
It seems that there is a purely internal driver to this monster truck and I can almost guarantee that it’s Jasper Mountbatten III who is at the wheel. He’s shifting gears like a madman, he’s not checking his mirrors and he’s causing havoc on the carriageway. You can almost see the bright toxic-avenger-green glowing in his pupils.
So, back to the question… why do I feel so threatened by the success of my friends and colleagues? Experience has taught me that their success comes at no cost to me. I have not lost out on work because of them (as much as Jasper tells me I will), the quality of my work has not suffered as a result (as Jasper is convinced is the case). In fact the only negative consequence of these feelings are directly the result of my own neurosis.
The truth of the matter (as much as Jasper wishes to deny it) is that the success of my colleagues has only ever resulted in positive outcomes in real life terms. The truth? The success of those around me helps me.
Look here Jasper.
They have gotten me work, they’ve gotten better at their craft and they’ve inspired me to work harder, they’ve shown me a path through the undergrowth, one that I can follow, as their work becomes better known and they have more of an audience reach, they tend to rave about their colleagues (of which I am one) thus bringing my work to the attention of new audiences and producers. And these are only the things I can think of right now, I’m sure the unseen benefits are equivalent to the underwater bit of an iceberg.
Essentially as our communities becomes more successful, the individuals within that community can’t help but have success as a result (if they let it). So this resentment just doesn’t make any sense.
Don’t get me wrong, at the same time as I seethe with envy, I burst with pride. It is one of the great contradictions of my soul. The devil and the angel are shouting at each other from opposite shoulders. But again experience has taught me a very clever old proverb which I shall bastardise here…
There are two wolves in your soul. One is a devil and one is an angel and they are fighting against each other. Which one wins the battle?
The one you choose to feed.
I don’t have the self control (yet) to be able to control my instinctual base emotions. I wish I did. But I don’t. That Devil wolf will always be there, spittle dripping from his fangs, breathing heavily and ominously in the corner. But I am learning that feeding the devil don’t do no one no good. It usually takes a little time (a couple of days or so) but I am learning now to hold my hand out to the Angel wolf. She’s the nurturer, the mother, the one that helps me and others grow. She’s the one who deserves my time and energy.
One of the wonderful things about community (and why I shout about MMD and BML from the rooftops) is that we can share the darkness inside our souls without fear of judgement from people we have come to know and trust.
Our community is there in the darkness with us, some are closer to the dawn than others, and some have yet to step into the night, but there are hands to hold onto all along the way. It behoves us to hold onto them, not to slap them away.
So, to the many of you wondrous folks experiencing the euphoria of success at the moment, know this…
I still resent your success. (Don’t judge me. I can’t help it) But at exactly the same time my heart is bursting with pride at the wonder of all your incredible achievements. And that’s the wolf that I’m choosing to feed.
As with so many of my blogs I clearly haven't answered the question I set out to... but then maybe the why isn't so important after all...