Good Pride vs. Bad, Evil, Life-Ruining Pride

Recently, I decided to “stay off Facebook”. I haven’t deleted my account, and I’m not going to, but for me “staying off Facebook” means I’m not interacting much on there or going on there to look at other people’s news … basically because I’m jealous of everyone right now. I’m jealous of all my friends, and their friends who aren’t even my own friends. I’m jealous of people’s book deals, and book tours, and covers, and really great sales ranks, and vacations they take that I’ll never be able to afford, like, ever. I’m jealous of it all, and irrationally angry. I seem to be unhappy with my life, even though I have so many things and should be grateful. My logical brains KNOWS this. It knows to stop being jealous and be happy for others, but my irrational side keeps screaming at that other side to shut the heck up and mope around in misery. So I’ve moped around for quite a while now. I haven’t been writing. I’ve been eating healthy. I’ve been exercising, but I haven’t been entirely content. So I opened up an Instagram account and have decided to feed things through there, for the most part. Instagram seems a lot more doable for me these days, even though I’ve never really used it before.

I WANT to be connected to other people. I want to keep up. I want to be happy and interact, but I’m beginning to realize that as an author I’m not obligated to anyone for anything, which is a hard lesson for an author to learn, I think. When we put our work out there, it’s easy to feel obligated to please others with more work, better work, faster work. It’s easy to feel obligated to keep yourself out there, interacting, happy, happy, happy, happy. But as I’ve stepped away lately, I have seen and been reminded by a good friend that popularity and money simply do not matter in the grand scheme of things. The writing I produce and the quality and pride with which I put it out there? That matters. It’s all that matters.

So here’s to letting go of the bad pride — the kind that keeps me depressed and chained down by comparing myself to others — and grabbing hold of the good pride — the kind that keeps me motivated to do my best and be happy with what I’m doing. I wish the same for all of you.

Posted by Michelle D. Argyle

12 comments

Now, what in the world makes you think that people’s posts on Facebook are reflective of their real lives?

Michelle D. Argyle

I never said any of my thinking was logical, lol 🙂

I’m proud of you (no pun intended, har har) for moving forward. You might like Instagram better. It’s simpler. Although some people like to bomb it with a billion photos all.the.time. I’ve been struggling with annoyance/jealousy over someone who keeps posting tons of pictures of every time she goes to Disneyland (which is VERY often), of everything she buys there, all the nice food they eat, etc. Very hard for someone like me who has to stick to a rigorous budget that leaves no room for anything fancy.

But darn it, there I go, just like you, and I must remind myself (as I have reminded you), that yep, ’tis true, popularity and money REALLY DON’T MATTER. They don’t, they don’t, they don’t. What matters is relationships and the impact you leave on the world. And I’d say you are doing a mighty fine job at that. 😉

Michelle D. Argyle

Katy, we are alike in many ways. Thank you for your encouragement!

Michael Merriam

I’ve been seriously thinking about taking a vacation from social media for pretty much the same reasons your described here. I read all those same things and I just feel depressed and tired and on the edge of just setting the writing aside, because obviously I’m not any good at it. If I was I’d be landing those same deals/agents/publishers and traveling all over the world meeting my adoring fans. Yeah.

I think it’s time to step away again.

Michelle D. Argyle

Michael, yeah, it sounds like you could use a break too. I never feel good enough anymore these days, either, but I’m trying to see that as not a bad thing. Good luck in your break!

Sherryl Caulfield

It’s a rollercoaster. Some days you’re up. Some days you’re down. Feel your pain… Only thing you can do is keep moving through it. Big HUGS xo

Michelle D. Argyle

Sherryl, it truly is a rollercoaster, and I think more so for certain personality types. Big Hugs back!

Solidarity. I just deleted 99% of my FB history (took me 5 days!) and installed an app called “FB Purity” which hides the newsfeed. The newsfeed is what gets me sucked back in. Now I can (1) still use my FB account to log in to other sites, (2) see if I get FB messages and respond, (3) see if I get party invites and (4) look at people’s walls only if I want to catch up with them in particular.

I’ve also blocked it from my phone.

It’s been really nice so far. I’m on Twitter. There’s hardly anyone on Twitter so it’s a repository of my brief thoughts and a way to keep up with the news. (Also people just show off less on Twitter. Why is that?)

Michelle D. Argyle

Jaimie, I didn’t know there was such a program! This might simplify my life a lot. I just fear that if people know I’m never looking at their stuff if they’d be offended or upset, but at the same time, I do visit pages when I want to catch up on someone. I just need to accept that fact that I’m easily overwhelmed and this is how it has to be for now. I keep trying to like Twitter, but it’s hard for me.

Michelle,
I’ve read your post on quitting FB and I’ll never go on Twitter, so I hear you. As for that bad envy, you might enjoy this post:
http://www.tobiasbuckell.com/2013/05/27/survivorship-bias-why-90-of-the-advice-about-writing-is-bullshit-right-now/
Just remember success isn’t always about money. I’m not making much, but I’m making more than four years ago. I’m not able to quit my day job yet, but ebooks are forever, and I’m in for the long run.
Oh, and instant success is a myth, so don’t buy that, even if you still believe in fairies! 😉
Barb

Michelle D. Argyle

Thank you, Barb, for the fantastic advice. It’s truly stuff I have to keep learning and over and over.

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