Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Success And Other Disasters
A dear friend of mine (who shall go unnamed) has been extremely successful over the past year in her artistic endeavors but has been encountering this bizarre lack of support from some of her friends and family.
She was understandably frustrated because some of these people she's known since she was very young, they'd been with her through some of the toughest times and yet they'd been rather skeptical of her work. Yet, I who have known her for only a few years, have been a cheerleader every step of the way.
That sounds like I'm tooting my own horn, doesn't it? Eh, screw it. I'm okay with bragging about that. I'm an awesome cheerleader when it comes to my friends and their accomplishments.
I didn't get a chance to have this discussion with her at the time but wanted to share my thoughts/experiences about this seemingly bizarre phenomenon.
You've heard of "fair-weathered friends", right? Those people who only stick around you when things are good?
Well they have a just as evil cousin: "rainy-day friends".
...wow, that doesn't sound evil at all. That sounds like a show on PBS or something.
Whatever, I'm going with it. So to talk about these "Rainy-Day friends", I'm going to have to use another cliché and that's "Misery loves company." These are the people who only want to be around you when something is wrong.
When you gain any kind of success, even in small droves, you're going to find the people in your group of friends who are miserable with their lives. These are the people who have given up on changing the circumstances they're in and have decided to essentially lash out at anyone who seems to be "rising out of the muck" as it were.
You may be thinking, "Come on, Kiri, really? You're essentially saying 'they're just jealous'."
Well, yeah, basically.
Let me try again.
Most of the people currently living this lifestyle don't actually know they're miserable. They're the women who make you feel like you're nothing if you're not married, they're the dudes with the giant car that has no practical purpose, they're the people who obsess over one detail in their life because it's what distracts them from everything else.
These people have somehow convinced themselves that they're ordinary and that they can never do anything to rise above that word. And because they believe this so entirely, they self-sabotage and before you know it, they are ordinary. Because they are dead certain they can be nothing else. And they're content with that because everyone they know is also ordinary.
Until they meet you.
This sounds like I'm about to go into some sappy love story but stick with me because I promise you, I'm not.
You have drive. You have ambition. They were once like you, but now they know how the world really works and they're just biding their time, humoring you now and then, until you become just as jaded and ordinary.
But you don't.
You don't give up, you're tenacious or lucky (or both) and you start making headway. You start getting noticed. You pull yourself just one rung up that ladder and their content little bubble of pedestrian life is popped.
And it's your fault.
And suddenly your success isn't about your success, it's about their failures.
So they attack you. They tear down your work, they try to sabotage your self esteem, they do anything they can to pull you off that ladder.
Because if you actually get where you want to--if you reach that extraordinary dream, you will prove to them their life was a choice.
These people aren't your friends. They will do nothing but be a toxic influence unless they start making some changes of their own. They don't deserve your grief or time, you need to cut them out.
But unfortunately, that's not always easy. It's going to still hurt when you realize who falls under this category. And for that, I can't tell you enough how much I feel for you.
Keep your chin up. We've got a long way to climb. We'll high-five at the top. <3