There was a time, not too long ago, when others’ jealously and envy of me had me trying to diminish myself by downplaying my accomplishments, ambitions, hopes and dreams. I didn’t want them to think I thought too much of myself or was overreaching or, worst of all, think less of themselves when they compared their lives to mine.
In my early teens and twenties, I developed and relentlessly employed a self-deprecating humor that side-lined me as the butt of my own jokes thereby making me a soft target or a non-threatening frienemy.
When I hit thirty, I consciously stopped caring about other people’s view of me. Or rather I stopped trying to soften their hate, jealously and resentment towards me. After I stopped shielding myself by putting myself down for others, I became angry, incredibly so, and deeply hurt, by the treatment I received from the people I considered to be my family and friends. While I was hiding myself from others, my view of them was also obstructed. It was hard to discern their true intentions towards me, however their low regard of me eventually registers as a painful experience. My thirties was a painful decade with nearly a 100% loss of family and friend relationships. The only relationships that survived the culling were those that were sufficiently distant that intermittent communication brought small spurts of joy.
For a while, I struggled with the true view and value the closest or more constant people in my life have and project of me. Around my forty-first birthday I decided I am going to live my life out loud. I am no longer going to shield my thoughts, hopes and ambitions for my future and my life. That’s not to say I began sharing indiscriminately. I did, however, begin to reach out for assistance to people positioned to help me achieve my goals – people I had friendly, interactive relationships with. As each of these people have turned on me or simply stopped speaking to me, I’ve experienced a bit of astonished anger, less with each situation… and a whole lot more determination with each encounter. I also decided that it’s good to be stunned a bit when I reach out to trusted sources for help and receive their condescension, ridicule, dismissal, or become a target of their attempts at career sabotage. If I were no longer stunned by such behavior, it would mean that I had indeed become the jaded New Yorker I’ve fought so hard against becoming. I want to continue to be shocked by the darkness and hatefulness people harbor and thrust upon the world in their effort to minimize and destroy others.
What I’ve noticed in recent weeks is that the petty folks in my professional environment who may actively be sabotaging my upward mobility or the colleagues who gather and whisper about what I’m doing… they are all in my rear view. I’m not even giving them the effort of looking back. I’m simply moving forward. They don’t want to help. No problem. No one on this earth has control over my life or the things I will accomplish during my time here. Therefore no one person deserves my concern or energy over their rejection of me. That’s their choice. My choice is to keep moving. That said, it’s good to identify those who are against you, especially when they camouflage themselves in your cheering section.