Have you ever watched someone else start their own business, excel in a sport or a job role and noticed that you felt a little bit negative about it? Even if you really wanted to be happy and excited for them, something inside you felt like picking at their success. Maybe someone else got the promotion or the role that you wanted, or the kids, the house, the looks, the apparent happiness that you wanted. Social media doesn’t help. Most of the time, the pictures and stories you see on social media are only showing the great stuff. The selfie that was re-taken a thousand times and with the best filter to make it look perfect. The happy smiley faces, constantly as if nobody is ever going through anything other than a blissfully perfect existence.
Maybe you look at those pictures, believing them to be real, wishing your life could be like that too. The media in general doesn’t help when they talk of overnight success (which is really 10 years in the making) and show beautiful people with beautiful bodies in movies. Have you ever found yourself caught up in the act of portraying your life as better than what you believe it to be? Of deleting the perceived negatives to try and create the perfect picture to put forth to the world? Why do we do this? What are we afraid of? Where does jealousy come from when we see someone else being, doing or having what we want? And how can we stop this jealousy form taking hold, and live as our best selves instead? Because nobody likes feeling jealous. It sucks right?
I used to compare myself to other people all the time, often resulting in me feeling not good enough and jealous. I forgot to focus on my own journey and how I could grow and create the life I really wanted. I wasn’t being grateful for what I had and I believed that because my life wasn’t perfect, that meant it wasn’t good at all. Instead I was focusing on all the things I didn’t have, couldn’t do or be and all the reasons and excuses for why I would never have them.
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On my usual coffee run one morning, I saw someone from highschool who had treated me very badly back then. I had this idea in my mind that because she had treated me so badly, life would treat her badly in return. But then I saw her, living a seemingly happy and perfect life. It looked like she had everything I wanted and I felt myself getting so envious and angry. I had not thought about her for decades, and there I was, an adult, resentful of a person I didn’t even know anymore, simply because they looked like they’d been more successful at life than me. It was not a good feeling at all. I felt ashamed for even thinking badly about another person but I found it so hard to let go of the feeling.
I forgot what it was that I wanted
I started getting angry and complaining about almost everything. I wondered to myself “Why me? Why am I the one who has to deal with all this negative stuff in my life?” “Why can’t I have what they have?” “Why do bad things happen to me?”. I started thinking things like “I can’t do anything about it. That’s life and life isn’t fair.” and “I’ll never have that perfection because I wasn’t born with millions of dollars, a model like figure and the intelligence of a genius.”
I didn’t believe that I could have a successful career, a wealthy lifestyle, beauty, intelligence or a loving relationship. The thing is, I thought that I needed all those things in order to be happy. So it became a self-fulfilling prophecy and I would sabotage myself whenever I got close to achieving anything that I really wanted. I was so caught up in the emotion of it at the time, that I didn’t see that I was the only one causing this unhappiness for myself. It had nothing to do with anyone else. Especially not someone from decades ago, a stranger in my adult life.
I measured my success in life, using other people’s measuring stick. I was almost completely reactive. I would only grow or push myself to be and do better because I could see that someone else was, and I didn’t like that. I wanted to be the best or as close to perfect as I could be. But I’d only do as much as necessary to get a tiny bit ahead of the other person. That meant, if they slacked off, then so did I. If they didn’t “win” or get to be the best at their job, career, relationships or in their health, then I would give myself permission to not “win” either. My success was always contingent on what someone else was doing and how well they were doing at it.
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I thought I was an achiever, someone who pushed themselves to be the best. But I was fooling myself. I would only push myself just enough to feel a little better about myself. Underneath all my bravado, I was vulnerable. In my mind, if I had more, or was better at something than someone else, then that meant that I was OK and it got rid of jealousy for a short while. But not for long, because ultimately I was working towards things that were not fulfilling to me. I didn’t even know what I really wanted to be or do better at. So I was always left wanting something and feeling like I didn’t have what I wanted. I was living in a state of feeling as if I was constantly lacking something in my life and believing I was a victim. I thought that I was not in control of it and it was just the hand I was dealt.
The truth is, I was letting others lead my life
Sure I wanted to achieve my goals and grow my skills as a person. I wanted to be the best version of me that I could, but I kept chasing a version of me that I thought everyone else wanted. I was simply reacting to the uncomfortable feeling I got when I saw people going for what they wanted, and sometimes even getting it. I thought that I wanted to have what they had, but really I think I just wanted to feel what I believed that they felt; fulfilled, happy; successful. Whenever I saw them succeeding, it reminded me that I wasn’t doing what I really wanted. I used to treat everyday life as if it was a race and I was always coming second, third, or worse.
So I would set out to win and prove it to myself that I could. Sometimes it was to prove something to someone else, like my parents. Like showing them I was doing life “right” and ticking all the boxes. Sometimes, I would quit half-way through towards a goal because I thought that I might lose, that I might not achieve what I wanted after all, and that was too scary. So I’d quit and pretend like I wasn’t trying at all. It did not feel very good. But that’s not active, healthy and fun competition. That’s not growing and doing my best. That’s reactive and dependant on others to lead. It wasn’t really about winning or getting results. It was about ego and staying in my comfort zone.
What people are saying about Emotion Academy:
"After many years of training, courses, and counselling in various forms I thought I had certain aspects of my life sorted. Yet completing Emotion Academy showed me that I had been running away from my emotions and not facing them. After Emotion Academy, now I have the tools to engage with myself and win the internal battles once and for all - Neil Welsh, Victoria
I needed to dig deep down and decide what I truly wanted to create in my life. Who did I want to be? How did I want to show up in the world? Only once I figured that out for myself, could I honestly put all my energy into that and feel fulfilled. I didn’t want to play a game about who’s on top anymore. Even if I was the only one playing. I wanted to throw my talents and passion into something I really wanted, and master that. Be the best I could be at that. If I was going to play a game, it needed to be one where I could choose the rules. One where success wasn’t defined by others, but by me. Have you ever wanted that too?
These are the steps I took to get me from where I was, to where I am now, living a life I’m passionate about and where I genuinely get to feel excited for those around me when they achieve their goals too.
1. Decide what you want. If you’re in a place where you’re not really sure what you want, that’s OK. There are always clues in your journey. If there has been a time when you might have felt a bit jealous towards someone, think about what was it specifically that they had, that you wanted? Is it that they look happy and fulfilled? So, you can ask yourself, what could help you to feel that way? Is it because they look like they’re in a loving relationship? Do they look financially successful? Are they doing work or a hobby that they’re passionate about? Look for the desire behind what it is you think you might want. It might not be that you want a house and kids and a white picket fence, but possibly that you believe that those things will help you to feel a certain way.
Maybe they will give you connection or a feeling of belonging and love? Maybe significance and pride. Freedom and independence? Fun and adventure? Safety and comfort? So what’s that feeling you’re looking for? How many other ways could you create that feeling? How many other things can you do that could result in the same feeling or need? Often, the things we believe that we want are not what we truly desire, and instead, it’s what those things symbolise that we truly want. It’s what those things mean to you. So at the end of the day, when you’re choosing what you want to achieve in your life and you’re thinking about your goals, it’s important to remember that you’re doing it for you. It is your life after all.
Melisa Grigg - Head Coach & Trainer
Melisa was stuck in sadness for 15 years, hated her job, was overweight and her relationship had just ended. Melisa inspires people with her story and now teaches how she sorted her life out. She worked out how to be happy and how to lose over 30kg of body weight. In simple steps she teaches how you can stop procrastinating, find confidence, stop being so sad and finally start to find true meaning and purpose in your life.
2. Commit to it 100%. This step means you commit to yourself that you will follow through on the promises you make to yourself. When you’re thinking about the changes you want to make in your life, what are you promising to yourself? Are you promising that you will do one thing a day towards this goal? Are you promising that you will invest in yourself to learn as much as possible in order to reach this goal? Are you promising yourself that you will always look for the learning in each day that will help you to grow towards your goal? When you commit to improving your life and you make that promise to yourself, make sure it’s a promise you can keep. Make it so tiny of a promise, that you know that you will be able to keep it, even on your worst imaginable day. Everyday that you follow through on this promise, you’re building a step towards you achieving your goal. Plus it feels great and will help you build momentum to keep going.
3. CELEBRATE! Every day that you keep your promise, or smash a goal, that means it’s time to celebrate. Celebrate your progress, your life, yourself. Make it fun! Enjoy yourself. Relax and let down your hair. The celebration is just as important as taking the step itself. So always remember to celebrate. This can be big or small. A bubble bath or a party. A beach day or out playing sport. Dance your heart out or enjoy a movie. Have fun socialising with friends and family, or spend some quiet time alone. Travel, hike, try something new. However you like to celebrate, do it often and do it with intention.
When it comes to creating your best life, don’t wait for someone else to show you what that life looks like. Don’t wait for someone to tell you what to do. Start. Learn. Grow. You are only competing against you. This game is a single player game. Success is about continuously increasing your capability in an area, not about climbing over others to be at the top. There is no top. There is always someone better off and always someone worse off. Share your dreams and desires with others, because maybe they’ve been on that road before and can help you get there, just don’t sit around waiting for them to come up to you.
These days, I feel fulfilled most of the time and I get to experience way more positive than negative emotions in my daily life. I feel successful because I’m continuously growing myself and moving forwards. I love that I can celebrate my friends and loved-one’s successes and be genuinely happy for them. I finally learned to follow my own path, instead of letting others decide for me. Because of that, it makes even the hard times so much easier to deal with, because now I know that it’s worth it. I’m worth it and so are you.
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