The creative green-eyed monster
"I just finished a book tour. It was amazing, but I visited so many places that it's all been a blur."
An author said this to me at a writers' conference a couple of months ago. Her book was on the table behind us, set up by the local bookstore, and had a stunning jacket design. Stacks of the beautiful spines faced us ... at least until the break when a line formed and hands were held out to receive their new purchases.
Touring the country (or the world) on book tour. One's name in huge print on book release posters. Receiving the praise of readers and your agent. Talk about the next book deal. What writer doesn't want all that?
Envy is something that I struggle with most. It is an ugly emotion, horned and covered in warts. It feeds on insecurity and on the feeling that I'm not good enough, that I'll never be worthy. There is always someone better, someone more popular, someone speaking more truth or packaging up their product in a shinier ribbon.
"Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won't need to compare yourself to anyone else." Galatians 6:4
The verse above has gotten me through many dark creative times. To be honest, it's gotten me through many dark times in general because it's not just creative envy I feel. I am envious of her house and his car, her ease at mothering and his popularity.
Jealousy is an ugly, gouging emotion that wreaks havoc in our souls. Though I still stumble more than not, I have found two things that help. The first is praying. Even a single-word prayer, like "help!" works.
The second is trying to find one thing about the person who I feel envy toward, something that I admire in him or her, and telling them about it. This is hard. And very often it's the last thing that I want to do. (More often, I can't get myself to that place of generosity, but sometimes I do and I am working on making it happen more often.)
What about you? Is envy something that is a constant struggle? How do you approach it?