Notes to my Jealous Self
I had an intense moment of jealousy yesterday. I saw friends get rightfully recognized for the exact work I’d like to be recognized for, and it threw me for a loop. Even though the moment was incredibly jarring, thankfully it only lasted a little while and served as a great reminder of lessons that I keep learning over and over.
So here are some reminders to myself for the next time I’m overcome with jealousy:
First off, when you’re in physical pain, deal with it, and do not go on social media. When I saw the news, I had a pretty bad headache, and my discomfort only amplified the negative thoughts that immediately surfaced. Let yourself relax and feel better physically before subjecting yourself to the anxiety-ridden minefield that Facebook and twitter can be.
I was also reminded that being recognized for my work is something that I want. Of course! I want people to play my games. I want the respect of people I admire. I want to show my games at conferences and museums and be asked to collaborate on incredible new projects.
However, I had to remember to not take this small rejection personally. As Miguel Ruiz writes in The Four Agreements, “Whatever happens around you, don’t take it personally… Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves.” I can’t control other people or how they react to my work. I can only control myself, and I can choose to value my work regardless of other people.
But not being included in the article still stung. And then I was upset by the fact that I was upset. Thankfully, I found this piece of advice from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way: “What we can handle intellectually far outstrips what we can handle emotionally. We must be alert to flag and mourn our losses.” Creative losses happen. And it’s hard to move forward from them by ignoring them. Reading that helped me forgive myself for being upset and reminded myself to keep going.
Next was another reminder from The Artist’s Way: success has room for multiple people. As it says in the picture below, “Jealousy tells us there is room for only one… [but] there is room for all of us.” I love the people that got recognized! We work together, we’re friends, and I truly respect and admire their work and am thankful for their friendship. We’re all allowed to be successful, and I hope we are! Nobody else’s success precludes my own.
Lastly, I was reminded to be patient by an incredibly timely poem a friend posted online yesterday. I’ll let Teilhard de Chardin take us home:
by Teilhard de Chardin
Above all, trust in the slow work of God
We are quite naturally impatient in everything, to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through some stages on instability–and that it may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you.
Your ideas mature gradually–let them grow, let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time (that is to say, grace and circumstances acting on your own good will) will make of you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing that
his hand is leading you, and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.
It’s true. I am new at this, and I want to jump to the end. To the long list of finished games on my website, an inbox full of invitations to collaborate, and a full bank account. But I’ve only just begun, and this is still very new for me. So remember, future self:
- Be patient.
- Keep going.
- Repeat, repeat repeat.