Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Good for you. I mean it.

Are you on an awesome vacation? Did you just get a new car? Have you gone up the career ladder? Are you purchasing a second home? Has an amazing opportunity come your way? Have you been working hard on your health and fitness? Did you overcome an obstacle? Have you improved your skills in one of your hobbies? Did you finally purchase something insanely expensive you've been saving for? Have you found love? Did you strive towards a personal goal and meet it? Did something finally click for you?

Good for you. I mean it.

There are a lot of people who seem supportive of others...until people reach a level that surpasses them. Some people can't stand to have someone that's not them excel. It sets their hearts on fire with insecurity and jealousy. They suddenly have things to say or do to subtly (or not so subtly) lessen someone's achievements, to make them question themselves or make them feel oddly guilty or wrong for being successful. You know these people - the ones who are always out there knocking people down a few pegs like it's their job. Talking out of the other side of their mouths to remind you that that successful person is not perfect. No shit, Sherlock. None of us are.

I'm not one of those people. I have many faults but this is not one of them. I'm straight up and real with people, but I don't want anyone around me to fail or feel shitty about themselves. I really love watching other people shine. I don't see the point in not hoping everyone can be the best person they can be, to have all the things they dream of in their heart of hearts. Making other people feel small doesn't make me feel better about myself, it makes me feel like an asshole. If you've surpassed me in an area of life, I don't need to bring you back down to my level to remind you that you're not as good as you think you are. What is the point of that? There are enough people out there who will rain on your parade and look for the one bad thing among all the good things to criticize. I'd rather be the one saying you go girl! I do my best to come from a place of encouragement. In writing this, I'm not looking for a pat on the back. I'm looking to recruit you to join me in the encourager ranks if you're not already there.
I don't even care if someone's success seems sudden or easy, because I know from personal experience that no success is sudden or easy. I don't know how much a success means to someone so there's no way I'm going to act like I know if they deserve it or not. I don't know how hard you work because I'm not you. I do know that every person's story has mistakes and missteps whether I've seen them or not.

Every one of us has found ourselves in a long, dark tunnel that feels like we'll never again emerge into the light of day. We don't usually publish the struggles and if we do we don't always say how much those struggles have cut us to the bone. Struggles live in shadowy recesses inside of us and have doors only those in our closest circle can enter to bear witness to our pain, shame, and strife. I don't need to see what you've been through to appreciate that you're now on the top of whatever mountain you've been climbing. I don't want to kick you back down a few hundred yards so you can satisfy some measurement of hard work or success that lives inside of my head. I want to be the hand that reaches down and pulls you up if you've run out of gas at the end.

I don't want you to downplay your successes for my sake or anyone else's. It's not right to dull your shine. If good things are happening to you and for you, enjoy them. Don't worry about what people say or who thinks you deserve it. Wasting time worrying about that kind of stuff distracts you from moving forward and continuing on your journey. You don't have time for it.
So keep going. Reach higher. Go out and get what you want. Be happy and proud. Don't listen to the voices that try to take the wind out of your sails, and when you do hear them, know that there are others like me out there cheering you on. There's no limit to the amount of people that can be happy and successful. I'm not interested in competing. I hope we all make it. I hope you hope that too.
A very happy birthday to my good friend and fellow encourager Gena down in Alabama.

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47 comments:

  1. Steph, this softens my heart and makes me feel better about the world. From the bottom of my heart thank you for all of the kindness and encouragement you've shown me. You're truly one in a million.

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  2. Word-to-yo-mutha! I saw somewhere (probably pinterest) the saying "Be an encourager. The world has enough critics." I've adopted it as a motto.

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  3. And this is why I love you + your blog... Keep it real, friend.

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  4. you are one amazing woman; if more people were like you, the world would be a much better place.
    i can't stand it when others knock people down for any reason...or talk themselves up to show others. i know someone who does both and i can't really stand her anymore. before i'd just ignore it and not bother but these days, it really bugs me and i can only take her in small doses.

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  5. I feel like worrying about what other's are doing is just not worth your time because you end up obsessing over things not in your control - like their lives...jealousy is an ugly thing!! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

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  6. I think it is so true no matter how easy it may seem there is always hurdles and struggles people go through to make it happen. No person is perfect we are just trying to be better than we were yesterday. Rock on girl, loved this post.

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  7. I love this post!! You have so much kindness and the world totally needs more kindness. No one is perfect and no one has the perfect live, there is no need for jealously. I work with alot of woman who are so insecure it breaks my heart. I mean they are much older than me and the insecurity they have makes me so sad. I always encourage no discourage.

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  8. This is great! I'm continually amazed at how rude and aggressive/mean people are on social media. Like, I know 99% of them would never say the things they say on social to a person face-to-face but having a computer screen (i guess?) makes them feel empowered enough to "speak their mind". Like...stop. There is a basic level of decency and courtesy that is absent from humanity today and it's sad. Can't we just be happy for those that are happy, empathize with those that are struggling and at peace with everyone else? Sigh.

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  9. I think this comes down to comparison. I admit that I struggle with this, living in the uber-competitive world of military wives and growing up in a small town where you were encouraged to do all the times. It's just there and really hard to avoid. I feel genuine joy for others; that "good for you. I mean it" thing. It's definitely been a process though.

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  10. Just another reason you are amazing. Love this perspective.

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  11. Love love LOVE this. So much. Too many people out there are so passive aggressive with their encouragement- like everything out of their mouths is followed with a "but..." If the world had more people who were encouragers, it would be a much happier place1

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  12. Just beautiful. I love the last ecard. Let us all make it! Jealousy is ugly! Be happy for people! Those who "make it" and are not real nice will get back what they put out,eventually, either in this life or the next!
    Perfect post!
    Love, Your Momma

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  13. love this post. even if I'm secretly dying of jealousy on the inside for someone, I always make it a point to be happy for them and encourage them and remind myself internally that their successes don't mean my failures. great, great post.

    p.s. i just started doing fresh lemons in my water and I LOVE it

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  14. I'm not going to lie - I get jealous sometimes. I think- why not me. It's silly and stupid and this is a good reminder of what's really important. This is the way to live.

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  15. I love this! I'm good at saying "good for you" but genuinely meaning it is harder. It's so dumb that our first thought is often about ourselves, and I'm trying my best to not make comparisons that are totally unwarranted. Like you said, there's not a limit or quota of people that can succeed. So we should cheer each other on and, if anything, use each other as inspiration that those goals are reachable.

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  16. You are awesome and such a great way to empower others because I agree there's so many people out there that don't know how to be happy for anyone's achievements except their own.

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  17. If I responded the way I wanted to, this would turn into another post instead of a comment so instead I'll just say YES. To all of this.

    Saying "I'm happy for you" to someone else and meaning it does not at all diminish your accomplishments and choices or struggles.

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  18. LOVE this post! I'm always amazed at people who try to bring others down when they find happiness/success. We should all be there to support and uplift one another. I've always loved how real you are, and I know that you'd be one of the first cheerleaders for someone's success!

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  19. So many people are just so 'downing' of others.. .love your voice of encouragement!

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  20. I have never understood why people can't just be truly happy for others. I 100% agree with this.

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  21. This was fabulous. Seriously, thanks for the food for thought.

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  22. I abso-freakin-lutely LOVE this post! I still get jealous sometimes especially when it's someone my age or younger that is doing all these amazing things and then I start the comparison game but I try to not let myself go there. But I'm never one to be an asshole about it. Internally, I'm just jealous.
    I cannot stand it when people who are supposed to be your "friend" try and cut you down because of something good. My boyfriend and I have both had to cut people out of our lives because of it. Friends are supposed to lift you up and be your cheerleaders. They are not supposed to make snide digs about "how can you afford that" and this and that sucks. You should be happy that I'm doing well in life and in turn I will be for you.

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  23. fabulous post. when i was younger i was such a jealous and bitter person! now i can be jealous in a good way, and i really am proud and happy for people when they get to achieve something or do something i want to do (like travel). i legit don't understand bringing other people down, it makes no sense and doesn't help the bringer downer in any way at all.

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  24. I definitely struggle with jealousy at times, but I think I've come a long way with it and I'm never one to downplay another's success. We need more encouragement in this world, we can all (and should all) be that way!!

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  25. I use to be a jealous person but then I realized it feels better to be happy for someone and if I'm genuinely happy for someone's success I'm more likely to experience success myself. You get back from the world what you put out into the world.

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  26. OMG this post brings me all the joy after dealing with this EXACT issue on Saturday night. Just be happy for other people! If you aren't happy for them, just be an adult and shut your mouth and walk away. It's not necessary to bring other people down.

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  27. I am like you I don't wish ill on people. I will admit I will a tiny weeny bit jealous but wishing something bad or hoping they fail never crosses my mind. In fact it just pushes me to try harder and I would go to them for advice too. But I have known my share of people you have mentioned in the post. I cant handle such negativity.

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    1. Don't you get the feeling of I wish I had it too. That's what I feel. Would you call that jealously?

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  28. I've never been a jealous person so I whole-heartedly agree with this. Celebrating other peoples' successes is important. Don't you want someone celebrating you when it's your turn??

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  29. Love this! I long for the day when all women will be supporters and encouragers of each other. Don't understand when women, especially, demean other women.

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  30. I try not to feel jealous of people because we don't always know a person's whole story. Maybe another woman's husband has a six-figure salary, but maybe her husband cheats on her, too. No matter how enviable their life might seem, there is probably at least one aspect of my life that they would like to have.

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  31. The highest of high fives!!! Oh how I love every word of this post!!! Why, oh why must some people tear others down??? I never understood how some people can't be happy for others. You are so right, someone's success might look sudden or easy but that is just because we don't all share the struggles to get there. I love the shit out of your big, encouraging heart!!! I feel the same way you do, you won't see me dulling someone's shine. Like your last quote, I hope we all make it!!! If only everyone felt this way, could you imagine the world we would live in?

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  32. This is so great and I'm so glad you wrote it. I know so many people like this—people who are always there to remind you of how hard the thing you're going after is to achieve/attain, or how few people succeed in X field, or how it might not be what you thought it was when you get it, etc. etc. These people would rather try to reduce your ambitions than have any significant ones of their own. And I cannot deal with them, so I don't.
    But, I will be honest, I have a very jealous streak. But I also, like you, NEVER want anyone to feel bad because of something I said. I want people to leave my presence feeling as good or better than they were before. So while I may be feeling those pangs of jealousy, they DO coexist with genuine happiness for the other person. But sometimes, I'll use it to help motivate me to get after what I've been slacking on. It's a really hard balance to strike, for me, but at least I hope the jealousy never shows through and my congratulations seem genuine, because they always, always are.

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  33. I just about nodded my head off whilst reading this. I completely agree. I'm about the least competitive person you'll ever meet; whilst this means I'm useless to have on your team in a sports game, it means I am generally quite good about celebrating the successes of others with them. My very best friends are those who I am comfortable telling about my achievements, and knowing I'll get straight up joy in response - and doing the same for them when the roles are reversed. You're so right - there really is no limit to the number of people who can be happy and successful!

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  34. seriously this is the best post ever! I always try to be happy for people and their amazing accomplishments but I sometimes let jealousy halt that support for a minute. But I quickly realize that I'm dumb and never let the green monster take over for long haha seriously you are much happier and people are much happier when we are HAPPY for them!! Everyone is blessed with different opportunities and it is always so nice to share that support :)
    xo, Candace | Lovely Little Rants

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  35. Such a great post and something we all need to remember. When I was younger I used to get very jealous and frustrated about my former coworkers successes. I would take it so personally which was really self-centered. It's so stupid that I had to mature to be supportive. That's one good thing about getting older...you can look back and realize all of the times you were an ass to other people and better yourself!

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  36. I believe jealousy and insecurity are something we all have inside of us and at times it is hard to keep the locks on their cage. As you said it is our choice to keep them reigned in. Great post.

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  37. Can this post go viral, please? We need messages like these to "break the internet"! I love this post & your heart. This year I have been focusing on being an encourager; encourage is one of the words I chose this January. I think I have been doing good, but there is always room to do more. We should all lift each other up.
    XOXO

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  38. WONDERFUL post! I totally agree. I used to be very jealous and judgemental of others. Thankfully, I've changed a lot and am totally supportive of others' success. The only reason I am not successful is because of ME only, not others. I've come to realize that.

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  39. Wow, great post! Instead of breaking people, we should help to build each other. Some people really work hard to excel and I think it is just so rude when instead of cheering them some people try to bring them down. Insecurity, jealousy, competition, whatever it is, I think at the end of the day people who bring other people down just want to feel above everyone else.

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  40. Awesome post. I heart you.

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  41. I really enjoyed reading this, and I think there are many of us that feel the same way. As for your encouraging entourage -sign me up!

    Honestly I think people are focused too much on what others are doing. Frankly I have noticed that the ones who are always tooting their own horns are the most insecure. I just let them be. Everything negative slides off of me like butter anyways!!!! Either way I concur with your opinion.

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  42. I have to be honest. There was totally a time when I was that person who couldn't handle the success of others. I wouldn't ever say anything to their faces, but I'm sure some things made their way back to them. I'm sure I wasn't the most pleasant person to be around as I could hardly stand myself. I think that behavior is a sign of major immaturity and insecurity. As I've made my way down my path, I've realized this as one of my biggest mistakes and I see now that we're all in this together and we're all just doing the best we can. Thanks for the reminder!

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    1. WOW!! I applaud you for being so brave and actually saying or better yet writing that you were once that person. I think we all are. Some people are just worse at it or never grow out of it. I think it just takes time to become comfortable in ones own skin and not care about what others are doing. I think the older you get the less you care about others' opinions. I'm glad you're seeing the other side of things and concentrating on yourself :)

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  43. Amen! I'm thrilled when people do well for themselves. I like positivity, and people that are successful and doing well are typically more positive no matter how they get to that point. I know I have my own flaws, so I most certainly don't want to hold others to a standard higher than I hold myself. Oh, and I also realize that not everyone will think that I'm successful as a SAHM, but I've never been happier which is success to me!

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  44. I love this post! I love the support and encouragement behind it. I am a person that does get insecure at times and I wonder often why I can't seem to have the same results, but is never want to knock someone down for their success. I might be jealous but I really do wish you all the best!

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  45. Hi! My name is Pam and I blog over at A Little Glitter. Nadine entered your post in the Share the Love Link-Up that I am hosting! This entry is so on point. I feel sorry for the people out there that cant be happy for others. Other people's success has nothing to do with you. It doesn't preclude you from accomplishing anything. Although, you can share in their joy and use it as an inspiration. It is nice to e-meet you and I will follow along with your blog and social media from now on. :)

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