Jealousy + Pessimism vs. Realism

This video on Chelsea Handler popped up on my Facebook newsfeed recently about how she deals with jealousy and negativity. It had more of an impact on me than I originally thought. In this video, she talks about how she had been performing stand-up comedy and how she also encouraged a friend to get started in the field. Lo and behold, that friend lands a contract with an agency after only a year of performing, while Chelsea Handler, who had been performing for over five years, wasn’t chosen. How’s that for a kick in the rear-end?! Handler talked to her sister who reminded her that jealousy is normal. She was told to remember that just because she wasn’t chosen doesn’t mean that her “spotlight was dimmed;” she has something else heading her way.

“There’s always a space for you because there is no one exactly like you… I never ever blow out someone else’s candle to make mine brighter.”

-Chelsea Handler

I really connected with the above quote. Over the years, I have gotten family and friends involved in my chosen career paths. I would definitely be lying if I said I never got jealous of their successes in “my” fields. As a performer, I am constantly being analyzed: Am I pretty enough? Am I talented enough? Am I marketable enough? etc. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve ranted to people and/or sat in my room thinking Man, so-and-so is doing really well in this job that I helped them get started in… What’s wrong with me? Why am I not good enough?

THAT’S THE PROBLEM. It’s not that I’m not “good enough” or “pretty enough” or “talented enough.” It’s that it was time for my family and friends to shine and that my turn would be coming at a later date. Who knows? Maybe it will be something even better!

If I listened to everyone who criticized me, I would not be pursuing any of my dreams ever. Just a few criticisms that I can remember off the top of my head: getting told on my modeling photos that I “drink too much coffee” (hence my not-so-perfect smile), hearing rumors that someone else would perform the role better than me and people wondering how I managed to get cast in a specific part, etc.

Now, are there instances where people are truly “better” than you? Of course! I’m sure there’s someone out there who may be “better” than you at something, myself included. Exhibit A: Any athletic person compared to me. Sports + myself usually = epic fail. That being said: If I really put my mind to it, I’m sure I could become an athlete. It would definitely take a lot longer for me than someone who has been athletic their whole lives and who are passionate in that field, but it could happen.

This belief of not being “good enough” is disguised by ideas of “realism” and “realistic thinking.” This one single belief is what is holding you back from so much of your potential. I’ve noticed more and more people are hiding their true feelings of pessimism and fear behind this belief of “Hey, I’m just being a realist.”

I understand that being realistic is a good thing to have. Should you quit your day job and expect to become a world famous dancer if you’ve never danced before in your life? Probably not. But what you CAN do is take some dance classes on the side. Watch a ton of videos. Practice during your free time. Is there a chance you won’t be world famous? Oh yes, definitely. But when you put that thought front and center, it makes you think “Why am I even trying? There’s a good chance I will fail.” How is that motivating to anyone at all? A quote that would work better is “Tis a lesson you should heed, try, try again. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. -Frederick Maryat (or the shortened version of this popular quote: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”) That gives you the encouragement to not give up, even if you don’t succeed at first.

So to wrap this up: Stop comparing yourselves to others. YOU are on this Earth for a reason. YOU have your own passions, beliefs, and goals to adhere to. So go ahead- do that project you’ve been putting off because you don’t think you’re “good enough.” Change that mindset and watch how successful you can become.


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