taming the green-eyed monster

Posted on Oct 7, 2011 in Ramblings

I’ve struggled with being a jealous person my whole life. I’m the kid that had no interest in a toy until someone else was playing with it. When a friend in school would get an academic award, I would have a disgustingly envious moment before snapping myself out of it and into true excitement for them.

I think part of the origin of my internal green-eyed monster comes from the fact that I’m a bit spoiled. I know it’s usually taken as a negative, but to me, it just means that I wanted for almost nothing growing up. We weren’t rich, but I had everything I wanted. I had food. I had parents that weren’t divorced. I had friends that liked me. I had a yard to play in. And then, as I got older, I started to desire more concrete things and those happened, too. I wanted to be the captain of this club. I wanted to win this scholarship. I wanted to get into this advanced degree program in college. And all of those things happened. I’ve led a blessed and charmed life.

I’m not naive enough to think that all of these happened solely because of my hard work. I did work hard. I truly did, but I also believe I am a pretty skilled manipulator. That term has some seriously negative connotations, and I try not to use “my power for evil,” but mostly what it means to me is that I know what people want. What they want to hear. How what I do affects them. My awareness gave me the ability to game the system. I rarely studied in college because, to me, it was always easy to figure out what the professor wanted to hear when I sat down to fill out my blue book exam. It’s part of the reason why I excelled at the liberal arts and struggled with math and science. There is no gaming the system with a calculus problem. It is black and white. You either get it wrong or right. I could work hard and get it right most times, but the amount of work I had to put into doing well made me not enjoy the subjects. There is a reason I have a fine arts degree, and it isn’t just that I can draw pretty pictures.

So what does this have to do with my jealous streak? Well, it stayed dormant for quite a while. I got most things I wanted. Or at the very least, knew I could if I ever decided to want something. And that was enough. No need for jealous because I was at the top of everything I wanted to be at the top of. Until I started blogging.

I found something I am extremely passionate about. I love doing this. Will I love it forever? Maybe not. But for now, I am head-over-heels in love with being a blogger. Being a blogger is not an easy path to head down. You are literally one of millions and millions of people doing this. And you have to stand out to get noticed, make money and be successful. It doesn’t happen quickly, either. The most successful bloggers have been at this for 3, 4 or 5 years and are just now starting to see the kind of success that I want some day.

I don’t want this to come off as whiney, because I am eternally grateful for my readers, but I am small potatoes compared to the biggest bloggers in my field. Biggest doesn’t necessarily mean best. And because of those two facts, I find myself paralyzed with jealousy. It is a hideous and terrible emotion, but it is the honest-to-goodness me.

Anything “good” that happens to bloggers in my field and my immediate and guttural response is, “Why not me? I’m good, too!” and I despise that reaction. I don’t want to be that person. I want to be giddy and excited for my friends and colleagues in this field (although admittedly, there will always be a few bloggers whose success confounds me). Once rational thought takes over again, I almost always am overcome with joy and excitement, but it’s that split-second of seeing green that I am saddened by.

I want to work on my jealousy. I know I am good at blogging (and I’m not fishing for compliments, I promise). And if I’m meant to be extremely successful at it, I will be. But that’s not why I got into this. I got into this to have a place to spew all my ridiculous-ness and hopefully connect with a few people and that I have done in a depth and breadth I never even imagined. I am so thankful for each and every one of you stopping in and checking out what I have to say.

What I’m learning about blogging is that there is no gaming the system. There is no manipulating you intelligent and amazing people. I’m studying (unlike in college) and that just flat-out takes longer than just inherently knowing how to game it system. On one hand, it is insanely confusing. I feel like I have no idea what kind of content will get what kind of response. I’m tripping through the world of learning photography and PHP. I am heinous a time management. But on the other hand, it is completely liberating to be figuring this out piece-by-piece. I’m actually learning. Growing. Changing. Paying my dues. And that’s something I haven’t really had to do very much in my life. It’s a nice change of pace. I feel like I’m earning every single success I do get thanks to the blog, and I hope that fact results in a better end product. It’d just be a bit easier to swallow if I could get rid of my little green-eyed monster.


Do you have a jealous streak?

56 Comments

  1. Hi Cassie!
    I have had you in my reader for a while, but I have never commented on your blog before…and I’m sure not sure why. Anyway, you lured me in today with this post.
    You described me to a T. I definitely believe I am a skilled manipulator (I am impressed you used that work because it often as a negative connotation), but I definitely agreed. I know what people want to hear. This is why I am good at job interviews and people situations, and why I am better at short answers and essays than multiple choice and math and science.

    So yeah, I have a jealous streak. When I started my blog I thought people would immediately be all over it and tell all their friends about how great it was and suddenly I would be famous and maybe I’d have my own TV show and a book deal and live happily ever after. (I am totally exaggerating, but you understand). Anyway, doesn’t work that way. And things have always come kind of easy to me as well (also not because I didn’t work for them, but because I knew the right AMOUNT of work to do for them, which is very important), so the time (and the networking, yowza!) it takes to be a popular blogger is testing my patience. But I do love it, so no worries I guess.

    Anyway. Sorry for the novel. But I love your blog, and this post in particular struck a chord with me!

    • So nice to hear that someone else is going through the same thing. :) Thanks for chiming in.

  2. I have a jealous streak when it comes to people who have great families. It’s really hard around the holidays; I get so jealous when I read about other people’s cozy family gatherings and how everyone loves to spend time with everyone else! I’ve actually gone through family hell this year (you know it’s bad when there’s legal action threatened between two members of my immediate family), so it makes me sad and envious to see others have such a great relationship with their siblings and parents.

    Sorry for the sad sack comment, but it’s genuinely one of the things that make me the most jealous. I also don’t have many close friends up here and I’ve tried so hard to meet new people and make friends, but close friendship just hasn’t happened yet. I dread my birthday coming up because it reminds me I don’t have family and friends to really celebrate it with. I’m thankful for all my longterm friends who don’t live around here, and of course I’m VERY thankful for Ted, but I do wish I had more friends!

    Again, yes, sorry for the downer of a post! I am working on the friend thing, and I’m trying to come to terms with the mess that is my family. They are hard things to struggle with, but I’m working on to get past them and live a positive and happy life.

    • I struggle with the friends thing, too. After a certain age and certain life milestones, making friends becomes so incredibly hard. In college, I couldn’t walk a block in this town without running into someone I consider a “friend”. Now? I’m nearly anonymous.

  3. I have a jealous streak a mile wide, for almost everyone. I try to remind myself that I am so, so lucky in so many ways, but as you know, I am still not happy with what I have (both intangible and material).

    I have no doubt that you will receive the recognition you deserve, Cass. Just keep doing your thing here and staying true to your goals and not pandering to us or what others think your blog should be. <3

    • Thank you so much, Liz. :)

  4. Great post! I really enjoy your blog, and for me, the biggest thing that draws me into blogs is variety and honesty. Girl- you have both things working for you there! I think you’re on a great track, and believe you will only continue to be a more successful blogger!

    • Aww, thank you so much Melissa! :) That means a lot to me.

  5. I’m a fairly new reader (maybe around 2 weeks or so?) and have to say your honesty in all of your posts is what has kept me me coming back. This post in particular, I am so impressed by.. and can completely relate to. I am just starting my business and although I’ve blogged before on other topics, I find that I also get jealous when I see others getting great offers and opportunities. I feel happy for them, but can’t help wonder when my time will come.

    I just wanted to say thanks for being so transparent and laying it all out there. It’s truly a breath of fresh air when someone comes outright and stops pretending that it’s easy. Keep up the great work – people ARE noticing!

    • Thanks so much Rachael! Thanks for sticking around. :) It means a ton to me.

  6. I think every blogger goes through this. I consider myself to be mildly successful, and yet I still find myself jealous at times of others’ success. Jealousy can be distracting, but it can also be motivating. You know I love your blog, and I think all you can really do is continue to put out the great content that you do each week. You are so refreshing! :)

    • Thanks, Emily! I can honestly say that when I see your success I am overcome with joy. I can tell how hard you work and I think your content is genuinely amazing.

      And it is really, really nice to hear that every blogger goes through this. :)

  7. I was just like you in college. I found that if I went to class, paid attention in lectures, and did a certain amount of reading I could finesse my way through midterms and finals. I think learning was much more enjoyable that way too!
    As far as jealousy goes, I am by no means as renowned a blogger as you are but I do get jealous and frustrated with blogging success. I love bloggin too and I’d really like to take it somewhere. I think it’s hard to find the balance between seeing other success stories as inspiration and motivation and just feeling jealous.

    • Yeah, I guess I should at least be thankful that I feel jealous because it shows me that I am passionate and excited about this.

  8. GET OUT OF MY HEAD.

    • You and me, lady. We’re likethis.

  9. Oh my God, it’s like you can read inside my brain.

    That is to say: Yes, I get jealous. I consider it one of my biggest flaws and something I can’t seem to overcome. I’m jealous of those who make more money, have nicer homes, are thinner and/or prettier, are more successful, or generally seem to lead a more charmed life than I do.

    And it’s all utterly ridiculous. I grew up in a wonderful family. Like you, we weren’t right, but I never wanted for anything. I never doubted that I was loved. I now have an amazing husband who loves me for who I am, supports me in everything, and is truly my life partner. I have a healthy little girl who is the center of my world. And if I’m not successful, it’s because I’m not trying hard enough.

    But jealousy isn’t based in logic, clearly, ’cause it still rages in me from time to time.

    • I wonder if jealousy is just…natural? We’ve painted it to be this nasty, terribly emotion, but it is also the emotion that keeps us moving forward and bettering ourselves. Sure, as with anything, it can go way, way, way over the top, but in moderation, maybe it’s a good thing?

      • I do think a sense of competitiveness is inherent in all of us, and I think that’s okay. It’s what you *do* with that competitiveness (or jealousy, as it manifests) that makes all the difference.

        Does it cripple you so that you’re so busy coveting what others have that you don’t bother looking for ways to meet your own goals? Does it make you nasty to those who have what you want; unable to be happy for them and what they’ve achieved? If so, then You’re Doing It Wrong. Take that desire and turn into drive.

        At least, that’s what I tell myself. I don’t always get it right, but I try my best!

  10. This is the first post of yours that I’ve read, and you’ve hooked me enough to get a new follower. I think that most people struggle with jealousy; it’s just that most of us don’t like to admit it openly. Although I’m not trying to “bigify” my blog, I definitely envy some of the lifestyles that I see on other people’s blogs. I feel jealous a lot in “real life” as well, and it’s something that I don’t like in myself. I feel ugly when I’m smiling and congratulating someone on the outside while all the while thinking “what’s so special about YOU?” on the inside. I try to remind myself that the pie is immeasurably large; someone else’s success does NOT mean that I can’t also be successful. It’s hard sometimes, though!

    • Thanks for stopping by (and hopefully sticking around) Stephanie!

      “I try to remind myself that the pie is immeasurably large; someone else’s success does NOT mean that I can’t also be successful.”

      THIS resonated so much with me. Thank you for writing that. I sometimes tend to think that if someone else was successful that they must have taken my “spot” but that just isn’t the truth.

  11. I just found your blog via a Tweet on Twitter and felt like I just read my own story – I know all about writing what your profs want (oh, you like this political party? Well what do you know, so do I now!) and failed miserably at math (now I understand why!) I just started blogging a couple of months ago and tend to see the green monster but then I realize how much I can learn from other bloggers since I am a newbie :)

    Adding you to my daily reads right now…

    • Thanks for stopping by Jenny!

      One thing I have noticed is that anytime I find myself jealous, it means there is something I can learn from the person I’m jealous of. If I’m jealous of someone’s photography, I think “Well, what can I learn about taking better pictures from this person.” It helps me deal with the jealousy a bit. :)

  12. This was a very brave post, my friend. And that’s what I love about you. You take what a lot of us think and you put it out there. I love it.

    I feel the same way. It is hard for me to accept that my blog isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. I struggle a lot between wanting it to be awesome but not wanting to put in the work. I blame so much of my lack of success on my total lack of technical/code/SEO knowledge. But, at the same time, I recognize that my small audience keeps me feeling somewhat anonymous and allows me to be more honest and raw than if I had a huge following. Because I gain no income from my blog, I’m able to not feel any sort of obligation or that it is “work.”

    But I still want to be recognized. On a bigger scale. Sometimes.

    • “I recognize that my small audience keeps me feeling somewhat anonymous and allows me to be more honest and raw than if I had a huge following.”

      I struggle with this a lot. There is something really nice about the intimacy of a smaller blog. Down below, Megs commented that she doesn’t even tend to comment in my posts have more than 10 comments because she feels like she won’t have anything to add. And while I enjoy the success, losing the intimacy is decidedly bittersweet.

  13. Darn girl you’ve described me. I learned to use my skills to get what I needed/wanted. It’s flipping hard to put so much work into something and not see the same returns as others at times. Jealousy is a nasty beast and I fight it daily.

    I’m so glad I clicked over from Honey I Shrunk the Gretchen :-)

    • Any friend of Gretch’s is a friend of mine. :) Thanks for stopping by.

  14. i think everyone does this to a point.

    i also think you should have been in shape’s top 20 list of bloggers, for the record.

    • Awww, thank you so much Coralie! I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit bummed to not be included in all of the award nominations from Shape + Foodbuzz this week. I didn’t expect it (I am SO new and learning SO much still) but it still stung a little to not make it on anyone’s list.

      But thanks for putting me on yours. It means a ton to me. :D

  15. I think everyone goes through this to some degree. I know that I definitely do.

    Where I’m at with your blog is here:
    I latched on to you 1) because you were friendly on spark and 2) because I saw as soon as you came over to WordPress that you were going to blow up. You are a great blogger and you’ve got the ‘it factor’ that I think will be needed to be one of the top bloggers… I mean, the sincerity and quality of your posts, the top-notch quality of your photos, the new topics/ideas that you share, the fact that all of your readers get to feel like friends because of the intimate nature of most of your content–All of this adds up to happy/addicted readers. lol

    One thing that I -will- say, though, for me, is that the more popular you get, the less I really comment. I don’t know if you noticed, but usually if there are more than 10 comments on a post, I will refrain from commenting because I don’t feel as if I would have anything unique to offer. I’m not sure what that says about me and my need for attention/positive reinforcement, but there you have it.

    I wish you all the luck in your endeavors. I’ll be around to watch you rise :)

    • Megs, you were one of my first readers and it means so much to me that you’ve stuck around. :)

      I totally understand the not wanting to comment on posts that get over 10 comments. I am the same way. But I do want to tell you that I read every single comment and try to reply to them all, too. Your words are never lost on me. :)

  16. Anyone who says they don’t feel this way at times is lying. People deal with it and react to it differently, but everyone feels that same jealous twinge at times. Good for you for saying it out loud.

    • Thanks Maryea! I was worried people were going to think I was a horrible person. It’s nice to know I’m not alone. :)

  17. I used to be more jealous. It used to bug me in university when kids received awards that I thought I should have received too. But now, I just don’t feel that in my life anymore. I’m actually surprised because I hadn’t realized how much my outlook on life had changed in the last 5 years.

    These days, I’m much more likely to look at someone that has something I want, and then try figure out what they’re doing that I could do better. It’s kind of like solving a problem, and I LOVE solving problems. And I no longer even have that inkling of “Why not me?” that I used to.

    Now that I’m thinking about it, I’m much happier than I used to be, and that might be why I don’t feel as much envy as I used to feel. My life has become less about striving for what I think I should have, and more about being happy with what I do have.

    But I don’t think having a green monster is a bad thing. I think it helps to push people to achieve their dreams. Do you think you would be as motivated if you didn’t have that little green monster on your back?

    • No way would I be as motivated! In fact, I said up above in another comment that my streak of jealousy is what shows me that I am passionate and excited about what I do. If I didn’t get a little be jealous when someone else has the success that I want, I’d be concerned I wasn’t really “into” it.

  18. I have such a terrible jealous streak. I have a sister who is 22 months older than I am and I am constantly trying to accomplish things that she has accomplished. We are polar opposites in most of the things I try to accomplish that she has done. While she is thin and atheletic and has never worked incredibly hard to be that way, I’ve always struggled with weight and I always wonder why it wasn’t me that got those genes. Currently I’m struggling with trying to not be completely jealous that she is graduating college in the “normal” 4 years, while I will be going for a more extended stay at the university. It’s so hard to not get jealous when you have siblings so close in age, I just try to remind myself of personal victories that I have had.

    • All in all, thank you for reminding me that we are all human and we all get jealous sometimes. It’s posts like this that make you a highly relatable blogger and one of my most beloved pages.

    • Thank you so much Allie. :)

      Sibling jealousy is a whole other can of worms. I’m the youngest of four and we all have our strengths and weaknesses and it can definitely be interesting figuring out where I fit in that. For example, my brother is an ultramarathoner. It’s hard to feel proud of running a 5K when your brother can run a 50 mile race, you know? His fault? No way. All my issues. That I’m still working on. Let me know if you figure out the way to solve it, k? :)

  19. I absolutely get jealous of more popular bloggers. I’ve been at this blogging thing for over three years and my readership is very, very small. There are some bigger bloggers who I feel totally deserve to be as popular as they are, but then I see some that have a lot of readers and I just can’t understand why.

    I also have a degree in Studio Art. I totally get what you’re talking about. I might as well have minored in BS (although it was actually English) with some of the stuff that I said my art was about!

    • “There are some bigger bloggers who I feel totally deserve to be as popular as they are, but then I see some that have a lot of readers and I just can’t understand why.”

      I think that’s what I struggle with the most. If you are an awesome blogger and big and popular? That makes me so happy. But there are so many bloggers that either (a) were never good or (b) used to be good, but “sold out” or got lazy as they got big that I get infuriated!

  20. You know, I was thinking of this the other day. As a gluten free blogger, and a relatively new one at that, I see those who’ve been at this for a while and can’t help but gaze in wonder. Will I be like them? Will I be up to the standards they’ve paved?

    Do I get jealous? I don’t know if that’s the right word for it, but something is there.

    The best way you can make yourself known is doing exactly what you’re doing, being honest and posting. Get in touch with other bloggers and comment on their posts. Be part of the local community surrounding what matters to you (and yes, wearing that cute shirt of yours is highly recommended).

    All in all, I think it all has to do with patience and honesty. Good luck, hon, and keep up the amazing work. Your blog is something I look forward to (and I hope you don’t mind… I put the link of your blog on mine quite a while ago.) while I drink my morning cup o’ Joe.

    • Thanks, Morri! That means a ton to me. :)

  21. I can definitely relate. I think for me it stems from being 250 pounds & being left out of everything, never getting “my turn. ” even after losing the weight I sometimes have those feelings. I work really hard to stop them.

    • Wow, I never thought about that! I wonder if some of my feelings come from the same place?

  22. I think you read my mind and then posted about it! I have been feeling the EXACT same way lately!!! I finally broke down to the husband last night and he asked me a simple question. If he was the only person to ever read my blog would I still do it? Short answer, yes. I love it. Long answer, oh good grief, please let my audience grow one day…

    • Yeah, my friend Gretchen said on her blog the other day that a lot of people don’t understand that it is okay to love yourself and still want to grow. Same with a blog. It is okay to love your blog and love blogging, but still want to get better and grow.

  23. I am always humbled by my small readership when I look at the bigger name blogs that I follow. And sometimes, I have to reconsider just how seriously I take myself with my blogging if all I’m looking at are the numbers. Or if I’m even saying anything of interest. But I agree with Jen above–we do this for more than just the readership. More than just the success in the blogging world. We have meaningful things to share about ourselves, and I have found your posts provide me with great ideas and more excitement for my dietary options, as well as a sense of comradery when so many do not have to care about what they eat. And isn’t that worth it? If I can offer that to someone? Thanks for what I get from you!

    • I 100% agree. I think that readership numbers are a big deal if you are looking to make money off of this, but that is rarely the reason people get into the biz, you know? I like to look back at my roots of…well…Back to Her Roots whenever I’m feeling a little down.

      And thank you for your kind words. Hearing that is definitely worth it. :)

  24. It is so refreshing seeing such an honest post out here in the blogosphere. I really enjoy reading your blog, too! x

    • Thanks Brooke! :)

  25. Love this post! I get really jealous about other people’s careers, as I’m struggling to find my path right now.

    • I definitely struggle, too. It’s like, you get out of college, and you are supposed to be set up for life and all the sudden that’s when the REAL work starts to get the life you want. And no one tells you that part. :P

  26. Great post! I’m pretty sure EVERYONE in the blog world can relate to this – there will always be someone bigger, someone that gets that award, someone that gets quoted in whatever magazine, etc. I just have to remind myself – who cares? Their success will not equal my failure, unless I let it. And success is always relative.

    • “Their success will not equal my failure, unless I let it.”

      LOVE this! So much of success is how we define it. And a lot of times, I know I personally, find myself falling in the trap of looking at others to help define success. And that doesn’t get me anywhere!

      • Ditto! So true.

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