~ Day 27 ~ OUR ENVIOUS NATURE ~ Chapter 25 ~
While reading through this chapter I found myself feeling a little uneasy, and honestly, somewhat sad. You see I know what it's like to experience the brunt of other peoples envy and jealousy. It hurts ! I'll share some thoughts on this a little later but first I think Cecil has some great insight on this topic.
He goes on to say, "Envy is different. It's not focused the same way. For me, envy doesn't want you to have it because I want it myself and only for myself. I can be envious of any writer who is more successful, has a better platform, hosts a bigger Web presence, or gets more tweets that I do. That means I want what she has."
I've shared a bit of myself and my story on day 2 posting of The 30 day Writing Challenge. I'd stepped away from pretty much all forms of public christian ministry and organizations in order to take some time to heal from the wounding of well meaning people that did not realize that their own wounds of their past were effecting them in such a way that it was causing destruction not only to themselves but to me and to others that tried to reach out and help them. There's a saying hurting people hurt people. I believe, envy and jealousy were just some of the root issues that were causing them to act out the way they did.
Cecil says that envy is often mentioned in Catholic moral theology as one of the seven deadly sins. "And if envy grabs you, you might resent anyone who seems to have more of something better than you do. If unchecked, envy can lead to loathing the other." He goes on to write, "The gravity of the sickness obviously depends on how strongly you feel. You might recognize that you're envious and bewail your weakness or human failing--which probably comes out of your childhood need for affirmation and acceptance. That's how I finally understood envy."
Cecil goes on to share that if envy afflicts you, it probably means you're heavily committed to becoming the best possible writer and that other authors--undeserving in your opinion--get the acclaim that should be yours. He writes, "Because I've been in this writing life longer than most writers who still produce and sell, I'd like to tell you how I see this problem capturing the heart of writers."
Cecil shares a few possible solutions.
"First, envy is natural. It's not a moral failure or a flaw in your character. In fact, it says you're aware of yourself, as well as being conscious of others. Its says you care deeply about the craft, and you want to succeed."
"Second, there is a positive element. You can use that emotion to push you to improve your writing style. The negative occurs when you allow your attitude or actions to divert your energy."
"Third, once you're aware of envy, you have a choice. You can encourage it to grow by giving it tacit permission. The most obvious way is is to speak up unfavorably every time you hear the other's name mentioned."
Cecil goes on to give us some helpful advice such as, to say nothing negative about other writers, no matter how strongly you feel. He also mentions that if you are a praying person you can pray for the other writer. He shares, "Now you can focus on your craft without wishing you were somebody else who has attained what you consider the epitome of triumph--the kind of feat you yearn to experience. He goes on to say, "Ask yourself this question; What am I learning about myself through this emotional reaction? It can enable you to be aware of what's important to you."
I know one of the main reasons why I feel so passionate about this book. It's because I believe it can help anyone that needs healing, encouragement, and understanding, not just writers.
The Aphorism for this chapter is: "I can resent others for their achievements, or I can admire them for what they've accomplished. I can determine to work as hard as they do."
Aphorism # 25: "I can resent others for their
achievements, or I can admire them for what