Get world class free training to discover your purpose when you pick up a copy of Mastin's new book! → Check it out!

Competition With Friends

AnnieBurnside3 2We’ve all felt it at one time or another.

A friend shares a “success” story or a great idea for what is sure to be a future success story, and we gush with praise and excitement on the outside, but on the inside, not so much.

Or that photo on Facebook where our dear one just shines with style and beauty to a crowd of adoring comments and likes, and we work from home and haven’t gotten out of our workout clothes or gone out much beyond the supermarket or carpool in days.

And one more, how about when a good friend has found a way to create a business that not only makes money, but also involves her lifelong passion, and it secretly matches pretty much exactly what we would love to create, too.

The list above could actually be much longer, as we all know, but why fuel the fire. Let’s instead broaden the scope here to see if we can’t get to the root of our jealousy and insecurity.

I, too, am sometimes still momentarily pricked with self-doubt by another’s seeming success, especially on a day when I am not feeling overly connected to my spirit.

Several years ago, I looked at this exact hidden part of myself and recognized it as an unhealed wound from my childhood—a shadow that I was really ashamed of because in my heart of hearts, I knew that I wrestled with truly wanting the best for my friends coupled with the fear that their success somehow diminished me.

I can remember as far back as ballet class where I danced six days a week with very strict teachers from Romania. They were hard on students in a way that many would deem unacceptable today.

I recall vividly feeling a mixture of sadness and joy when the teachers picked on my friends instead of me. I remember feeling a mixture of sadness and joy when my teachers praised my friends instead of me.

Even at that young age (I began ballet when I was four), I can still easily conjure up the paradoxical emotions deep within, and the guilt surrounded by overall shame that I felt for kinda wanting the best for my friends and kinda not.

It has taken me years of inner work that has greatly expanded my capacity for self-love, not only to understand on an intellectual level, but more importantly to feel on an interior level, that another’s success has nothing to do with me except that it expands the energetic possibility for all of us to succeed at our own dreams.

We are not diminished, and the opportunities in the world have not shrunk because another individual is out there shining her light.

The Universe is an infinite “place” and it responds to our interior output in a way that science is just beginning to uncover.

We are all “mini-creators” on our own unique path. Another cannot ever actually create on our path though we might perceive it to be so.

A large part of greater intimacy with our own soul, of which I continually speak perhaps ad nauseum to many of you, is coming to understand our shadow. This part of the inner work initially was not my favorite, and quite frankly, I resisted it for a long time.

But eventually, if we are on the self-exploration path long enough, we must face the hidden aspects of ourselves that we don’t want to see and that we certainly don’t want others to see.

And often feeling diminished at friends’ successes was definitely one of mine, and then wrapped around it, was the guilt and shame that I felt for loving them, but somehow not always capable of being fully happy for them in their “high” moments. It frequently felt easier to support and encourage friends in their “low” moments than to be authentically excited for them during the former.

As I shone light on this aspect of myself by acknowledging, accepting and even befriending it in an odd way, I realized that it was simply my dear inner child afraid of there not being enough to go around and even more so, MY not being enough just as I am in my “Annieness.”

I came to understand that there are millions of paths up the mountaintop. Through many conscious soul to soul experiences, in my “best” moments, I now know myself as ONE with others and all of LIFE.

I began to witness myself more clearly and with less fear when the shadow of diminishment showed itself.

While I have come a long way, I notice sometimes that this particular childhood wound is not fully healed.

At times, when I become aware of another’s success, I still feel the sting of self-doubt about my own capabilities and must face my shadow head-on and heart-to-heart once again.

But the difference between now and before is that I instantly recognize the illusion that I am somehow less than because of another’s path.

Sharing our shadows—our hidden pain and unhealed wounds—is liberating. (Tweet-worthy!)

Our vulnerability invites others to be more vulnerable, too.

I talk about inner work a lot in my offerings via blogs and social media. I am finding more and more that it’s important for those of us who write and speak about self-exploration to give personal examples of what it looks like up close.

Perhaps soon, I’ll share the extreme empathy shadow that led me down the road of years of people-pleasing, which, for me, was always coupled with feelings of deep self-betrayal. When I recall many of those instances, my eyes still become filled with tears as I remember the lack of self-love.

For, from my perspective and experience, ALL of this self-exploration/inner work/personal growth/spiritual development—whatever we desire to name it—has only one dual purpose: A deeply felt realization of SELF-LOVE that is completely intertwined from all directions with ONENESS.

Love,
Annie

###

A modern bridge between the mainstream and the mystical, Annie Burnside, M.Ed. is a soul nurturer, award-winning author, and teacher specializing in parenting, conscious relationships, authentic living and spiritual development. Her book Soul to Soul Parenting won the 2011 Nautilus Silver Book Award. Connect with Annie on Facebook and engage with her on Twitter.

  • Cee

    Yes, Annie! Thanks so much for writing this. I always love it when I am going through something and then instantly someone writes about it in a way that gives me more perspective.
    I am a musician (singer/songwriter) and yesterday one of my other musician friends got GREAT news that is lifting them to new heights! They’re really on their way and are amassing a large fan base and praise from the industry. But as you so accurately pointed it, I pretended to feel great about it on the outside, but on the inside I was all like “why them and not me? when is it my turn? are they more talented than I? no I’m more talented than them. whatever they can have their success, it’ll be gone in a year. I’m getting old, I’m running out of time,” (meanwhile I’m only 23–HAHAHAHA). And I just observed myself making these thoughts with HORROR. PURE HORROR. Because I thought I was past it!! I immediately forgave myself, tried to see it logically, and blessed their success, but I felt like I was faking it. So I instead just allowed myself to sit with it, and eventually it went away and I was brought back to my center where I could understand that any feelings of negativity in regards to others’ success is 100% blocking my own success. And while it still prickles me to see others succeeding where I have stagnated, I have to keep in mind that there is room for EVERYONE! Especially in something as artistic and diverse as music.
    I like your insight that this shadow creature of mine is probably just my inner child who feels wounded and slighted. I now know that should my feelings of jealousy arise again, I need to meditate on my inner child and let her know that it’s okay and that there aren’t finite amounts of success in the world. I’m really excited about trying this tactic. So thanks!

    • Annie

      Cee, I am so thrilled that this blog let you know that you are not alone cuz you are so not! I hope that what has worked for me works for you, my friend! I wish you all the best in your beautiful unfolding life… Much Love, Annie

  • Jen

    Friendship is all about supporting eachother’s dreams and goals.