Written by: Kylie Newcomb & Claire Busby
Kylie: I used to let jealousy inhibit me from performing at my best, wearing envy like a warm jacket. I directly associated jealousy with fear of failure. Scaring myself into inaction and procrastination, I found my efforts were useless, since others were already living the lives I wanted. Thinking their success meant my failure, I was convinced of a limited supply of creative energy and achievement. What I recently realized through dialogues with my peers and mentors is the contemporary motivation of creative work: attention. I can honestly admit that I was making visual work for my followers! I was looking to prove my worth; to validate my work. Unfortunately, it did the opposite.
The gratification of “likes” and words of admiration were enough to get me to my next scheduled post, but I discovered that the longevity of this system was flawed. By immediately reproducing my creation onto a couple thousand screens, I inherently destroyed the of the object because it never got a chance to be held tenderly. I then would wonder why my work was not getting the same attention as artists whose work was similar to mine. Why isn’t my work featured here and there? Why isn’t my following growing as rapidly as theirs? This fabricated sense of competition was not that of technical skill or conceptual thought, but on the amount of attention the work was getting. The internet, specifically social media, has created a new platform for networking in the digital age, but this space has fueled intense comparison, anxiety, and ultimately, jealousy.
But what if I told you that jealousy can be used as a tool? In the words of spiritual teacher and author Biet Simkin,
“Jealousy is a compass, not a threat. When a jealous pang hits, you see your own potential mirrored in an equal’s gumption, vigor, and clarity.”
Claire: I am, like most people, a very jealous person. I think jealousy is both fortunately and unfortunately an unavoidable part of human nature. It is fortunate because it drives us to be better, work harder, and go deeper. In contrast, it prevents us from experiencing so many ways of thinking. like everything else, it’s what you do with these feelings that matters; it’s very cliche of me, but humans are cliche! Before I joined Ink, I never had the opportunity to collaborate with people in a way that felt mutually satisfying. I always felt like I had to prove myself and prove that I was better, more creative, unique. It never felt like there was enough space for me and others to both have what we wanted. But there is so much space, infinite amounts.
It’s a beautiful thing to be an individual amongst billions of other individuals. We are all able to be the most unique person in the room. It’s so exciting to know that there will never be anyone ever, in the entirety of human history, who will think exactly the way I do: that is my power! I realized that the only person I was competing against was myself. I don’t need to prove myself to others, I need to share what only I can share. In return, I learn from others what I would never be able to teach myself. Kylie and I have realized that we isolate ourselves, preventing beautiful connections because we’re scared someone will make us feel inferior. That’s just the ego talking, and the ego need’s to be told to shut the fuck up. Your mind as it is is enough. Fight the natural urge to be jealous! Work with people! Teach and be taught!
Kylie: We have both suffered from a fear of inadequacy, which is standing in our way of making strides towards growing our respective circles. It is easy to fall for the initial exasperation of jealousy and forget the power we have over these emotions. These feelings of envy act as blinders on what we should focus on most: our strengths and abilities. Give yourself permission to feel these emotions, but focus on what these feelings are aiming to tell you. By seeing the truth behind our feelings, we can use them to navigate this constantly evolving community we are creating. By making the effort to spend time with people you admire, you open yourself up to experiencing their success as your own. We are all working towards the same goals, by filling in our weaknesses with other’s strengths and eliminating this false sense of competition amongst us, we can recognize the full power of collaboration.