This morning something on my book shelf caught my eye, something had changed and I hadn’t noticed it until this morning.
I have a book shelf at the foot of my bed and today something struck me, something that really made me smile and gave me something to be hugely grateful for.
I noticed out of the many books on that bookshelf, 9 of them were written by people I now know personally. My bookshelf is starting to fill up with not just authors but with friends!! I was filled with pride and gratitude for each and every one of these authors, these friends.
But it hasn’t always like that.
I haven’t always seen it like that.
I haven’t always felt that way.
I am going to be honest even though I am a bit embarrassed and even ashamed to admit it. You see when I first started meeting and connecting with people who had published a book I didn’t see that as a positive thing. I was happy for them but deep down I was also jealous and scared and to be honest a bit annoyed, annoyed that they were living MY dream while I was still talking about it. I was still in the doubt and fear and here they were, sometimes even sitting on my shelf, reminding me that they had already achieved my dream.
I saw them as competition. This wasn’t my most prominent thought but it was there.
I saw my dream as not so special anymore as so many people seemed to be achieving it. Writing and publishing a book used to seem so special, unique almost and now it seemed to be becoming so common!! A few very short years ago I knew no one who had published a book and now I was surrounded by them!!
I sat with these feelings for so long, denying them, pretending they weren’t there, hiding from them, after all who wants to admit they are a jealous b****. Not really a trait any of us admire in ourselves or others.
So I denied it, I pretended, I tried really hard to ignore it but I also got uncomfortable with it. I didn’t like feeling this way and I knew I had to face it so I did. I got real with myself and acknowledged how I was feeling.
Over the last few months I have been really delving into this, confronting myself, getting real about how I feel and why. It wasn’t always pretty and certainly not comfortable, facing the sides of ourselves that we don’t like, that we aren’t proud of, that maybe we are even ashamed of rarely is.
Regardless I kept going, I knew I didn’t want to keep feeling this way, I knew it wasn’t really who I was, I also knew that the only way to stop feeling this way was to feel this way. To actually feel the feelings!!
I couldn’t deny how I was feeling anymore, I needed to face it, feel it, understand it and then release it. That was the way to a better feeling feeling, not denial. So for the last few months my journaling has taken a different direction, much of it is about these less desired sides of me, the feelings and thoughts I am not so proud of.
As I allowed myself to feel, to move through the feeling, as I sought to understand it, feel it, release it and reach for better feeling thoughts, rather than judge them my view changed. I looked at things differently. Different thoughts started to be triggered within me. I felt genuinely happy for each of these amazing authors, amazing people actually!! As I held their books I felt twinges of excitement.
And here is what else I realised as I sat this morning scanning my book shelf and seeing more and more titles from people I know. I allowed myself a moment to recognise how far I had come, how much my feelings and reactions had changed and then it dawned on me.
Doctors know doctors
Builders know builders
Salespeople know salespeople
Mother know mothers
Widows know widows
Not exclusively sure, but you tend to know more people in similar fields and occupations and situations as yourself. Like attracts like and we do gravitate towards people who understand us, who share certain experiences.
It isn’t that the market is saturated, it is not because ‘everyone is publishing a book’, I am meeting more and more authors because I have finally stepped fully into this world! The word I dreamed of being a part of for so long!!
My book wont be less important or less valued because of the incredible work of these people, if anything it will be more valued. My success wont be lessened because of their success. The worlds we write about are vastly different, the messages our own, the mark we will make uniquely ours but we are coming together to support, encourage and cheer each other on. That isn’t competition, that is collaboration, that is cooperation, that is connection.
These incredible people, talented writers, brave survivors, amazing business people, inspirational individuals are not my competition, they are my peers, my mentors and my friends.
As I sat on my bed this morning and looked at their books scattered through my bookcase I can honestly say I felt nothing but pride, privilege and gratitude.
I am proud of each one of these authors, the further along my journey I am the more I understand and appreciate their journey.
I am privileged to know them.
I am so grateful for their connection, friendship, advice, encouragement and support.
So Jenny, Zoe, Kerrie, René, Rachel, Ocean and Shelagh I am proud of what you have achieved, excited to see what is yet to come and truly honoured to call you a friend.
And thank you, thank you for being the catalyst for me to dig deeper, to truly understand my feelings and free myself from them.
You may have walked before me but really we all walk together.