There is No Comparison: How to Deal with Jealously, and Why there’s No Such Thing as Competition
Every actor has fallen into the jealousy trap at some point, and the story can go something like this: one of your friends who you love and admire has been with you since the beginning. Maybe you went to school together and decided to take the plunge and move to a big city market. Together, you’re navigating the choppy waters of the entertainment industry when all the sudden she books a role. A big role. And you find yourself thinking, “Why wasn’t that me?”
These feelings, while being completely normal, can also be disturbing. It’s unsettling to feel jealous, and it can be harmful to your relationship.
It’s really important to stay positive and confident on your own path. Here are some ideas to help you sort through feelings like this when they come up in different situations along your acting journey.
Remember You Don’t Know Everything
In the age of Facebook, it’s so easy to peruse someone’s online material and sink into comparison mode. But the truth is, online and in real time, you simply don’t know everything.
What you know about a person is what they choose to share. You can’t know enough about their journey to make a fair judgment on whether you should be farther along than them. Essentially when these judgments happen, you’re comparing yourself to someone’s highlight reel! That would make anyone feel horrible.
When it Sneaks into the Casting Office
It can be especially tempting to evaluate other actors when you’re sitting in the waiting room of a casting office. You might find yourself thinking thoughts like, “Wow, all these people are better-looking than me and probably have more credits on their resume.”
Let me just point out that when these thoughts arise, you’re not focusing on your audition. Allowing yourself to put energy into unproductive thoughts before you step in the room is not helpful.
Remember, these casting directors called you in. They gave you part of their time, and they want to see you do great. If you’re worrying about what other people are doing, you’re forgetting that this is your time to shine. Redirect your thoughts back to what you’re there to do, which is give a thrilling audition.
When it comes up, give yourself a second to feel jealous. After all, we are human beings, and all of us experience a rich spectrum of emotion. If it’s a friend you’re jealous of, it can be really helpful to genuinely express how happy you are for her – because underneath all the feelings, isn’t that the truth? You’re friends with her for a reason, and she’s going to kick butt with this new role.
There is No Competition
Wendy Braun said, “There is no competition because there is no one exactly like you.” And it’s true. No one has your life experience, no one has your quirks, no one has your view, except you. Your job as an actor is to share your unique self with the world.
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Dr. Seuss, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” Go be you!
When have you experienced jealousy, and how did you deal with those feelings? Drop a note below to contribute to the conversation.