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Success: Why Everyone is Not Happy About Yours

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jealousofsuccess

 

We all seek success, whether openly or secretly.

But there is one thing most of us are not ready for when it comes.

The backlash.

When you finally get the job you trained for, the house you dreamed of, the relationship you attracted, you can bet that everyone will not be happy for you. Some will even hate you and speak evil of you.

Others will even go so far as to praise you one week and be a willing party to your crucifixion the next.

What causes this reversal?

1. You had to make choices.

When you make choices, you invariably leave behind the choices not made. Mixed in among those choices are people who are still back there at the crossroads you left behind.

In a television interview Whoopi Goldberg once shared how surprised and saddened she was by the friendships she couldn’t hold onto once she became famous. She remembered when she was a struggling comedian beset with many life challenges, she and her buddies always said they would treat each other to a fantastic dinner and invite each other to their mansions when they became wealthy. Once Whoopi became successful, however, some of her buddies from the old days would not allow themselves to enjoy her success, so they declined her invitations.

2. You took action.

People who are unwilling to take the actions that lead to success often feel betrayed by you.

Many years ago I took a writing class that was offered free as part of a community services program. In one class session the teacher offered us leads to magazines that were looking for writers. The next morning I called the editor and got a writing assignment. As soon as I finished talking to the editor, I got a call from my teacher congratulating me, not for getting the assignment, but for following up on the lead. She indicated that she always followed up on the leads she gave her students. I was the only one in that class who followed the lead.

3. You changed.

Those who want to keep the status quo are afraid of how your changes will affect your relationship with them.

A number of my returning college students shared stories of marital upset brought on by their return to school. One doctoral candidate, for example, indicated that her husband was supportive of her the first semester, but by the second semester began to withdraw his support. He was so threatened by her determination to complete her degree that he threw up as many roadblocks as he could. First he refused to babysit their two children on the evenings she was in class. Increasingly he withdrew more and more support. Eventually he threw out the ultimatum: “It’s either the doctorate or me.” She chose the doctorate, and successfully completed her degree three years later.

The backlash that can follow success is not about you at all. It’s about the inner turmoil of those who wrongly believe that your success in some way diminishes them. It doesn’t, of course.

Even though the weak and fearful will not be able to share your joy, continue to progress toward your goals, make good choices and enjoy your success. Some people you will never meet will be inspired by you, and that makes all the difference in the world.

Have you had something similar happen to you? Share your experience.   Click Leave a Comment right under the title.

Comments

  1. Madonna Ball says

    This really hits home for me with my own family. They want me to be successful so long as I am not more successful than them. Sadly, I have to be my own biggest cheerleader. What an important message to share. Thank you, Flora.

    • Hi Madonna,

      You confirmed what so many of us experience but don’t always want to admit. It’s clear that everyone can’t be happy for your success. I’m glad you discovered how to be your own biggest cheerleader.

      Thanks for stopping by to chime in.

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