What to do when others seem to be successful

Updated: Apr 10, 2021

"An abundance mentality springs from internal security, not from external rankings, comparisons, opinions, possessions, or associations." - Stephen Covey

Yesterday to this day, I had a very interesting and fascinating experience. It was triggered by receiving an email from a former friend (I forgot I had subscribed to her newsletter), who announced her YouTube channel. When I opened the email to unsubscribe, I couldn`t help seeing the big picture of her YouTube channel. My immediate reaction was not really envy, but more with thoughts like "Oh, did she copy me? Had she stalked my content to create her own? It looks so similar to what I do!"(relating to my 2min Stories on Facebook and Instagram).

Because I felt somehow "negative" when receiving her email, I decided to unsubscribe from her newsletter, honouring my latest commitment to listen to my intuition and nourish positive emotions. But being a dedicated spiritual student, I soon wondered whether I reacted too quickly, out of my smaller self instead of my Higher Self. I also remember the spiritual teachings that abundance is endless, that abundance is accessible to each of us, and if I want to succeed myself, I have to likewise celebrate others` successes. I then also felt guilty for my own feelings (i.e. very low on the emotional scale) knowing that she was also a good friend, who was there for me, who inspired me, who expanded my horizon. She was also someone who shared my value of personal development, and if I take my vision seriously - to raise the human consciousness - I can appreciate any help from others that contribute to it in their own way. Also doesn´t this all conflict with my wish for everyone to live their passions and truest selves, but then struggle in this case to celebrate it somehow? I also like to compare our work to that of singers or artists - we luckily have so many music artists that can take care of the 8 billion people on earth with various tastes and stories. I know for sure that I, too, appreciate my own diverse and rich playlist of songs from the best artists in the world.

As you can see, there are many true thoughts here - but how to detangle and make sense of this muddle of thoughts and emotions? Here are my take-aways building on reflection, mindfulness, and spirituality:

1. Acknowledge your feelings.

As I am doing a Positive Intelligence course at the moment, I am currently training to move away from our "Saboteur" mind to our "Sage" mind. So whenever the Judge comes through, we shall just notice and label the judgment or negative feeling (such as "Oh, here comes the Judge again"), intercept this Saboteur with a mindfulness break (such as breathing), and then shift to the "Sage" perspective (such as "What could be the gift and opportunity here?").

Although I succeeded in that moment, and even wrote down all the good things about this former friend and how her work helps in the bigger scheme of things, I only felt a temporary and short-lived relief. Soon after, my negative, judgmental thoughts and emotions would creep in again, and I would try to intercept the Saboteur mind again. And yes, maybe it is about coming back to mindfulness again and again, but I also wondered whether I moved on too quickly, neglecting my feelings, although knowing intellectually that feeling that way may be ridiculous (although latter is a judgment again, just towards yourself). So the first step is to always acknowledge your feelings that are currently present. Let them be, feel them, without judgment, but with curiosity and self-care. My coach nicely said once, "be fascinated rather than frustrated". Even if it feels uncomfortable, remember that "e-motions" are energies that want to motion.

2. Shift your perspective.

Once you have given your feelings the room they needed, ask yourself "What is it that I am able to learn here?". I am currently reading Oprah Winfrey`s "What I Know for Sure", and in one chapter, she told that during a very difficult hardship, when she just couldn`t stop crying, her friend and mentor Maya Angelou told her to say "thank you". Oprah did, but wondered what she would say thank you for. And Maya replied, that we say thank you for our faith that we will go through this, that no challenge can keep up with the Creator`s power. I love this perspective, that this will not only pass, too, but also that we will grow out of this, stronger, wiser, beautifully.

You can, for example, connect (best with a short meditation) with your Inner Mentor or a mother`s perspective, what would they say to you? Our Saboteur is often self-centered and concerned with the ego`s needs. As we may know, it is often less about others, but more about us, how we react to outside people and events. In this case, my ego was afraid - of what this would mean if a former friend would copy me; if others are using my work; if she even gets more successful building on my hard work. When detecting the underlying feeling of fear, I learned that my fear was linked to a past experience during childhood, when other classmates would take benefit of me as the class`s unpopular nerd. Alone this insight was something I can see as a gift that resulted from this uncomfortable experience.

My Inner Mentor would not feel or even know fear, knowing that I am loved regardless, that I am full of wisdom and inspiration of my own, and that being authentic and sincere will not only distinguish my work, but also attract the right people. So rather than focussing on her, whom I cannot control, I remain focused on myself (and of course, staying aware, but not alert or paranoid). I can always shift my focus back within - checking in with my own needs (e.g. more self-care and self-love) and my objectives (e.g. my own creations with heart and sincerety). "What will be mine, will always find its way to me." (Similar to "What is hers, is hers.")

3. Listen to your intuition.

While I could shift my perspective from the ego to my Higher Self, there was another feeling that I had to acknowledge, too - my intuition or gut feeling. Already for a while, a feeling lingered with me that made me feel negative after each interaction with this former friend. I was surprised and couldn`t detect any real issue - she was kind and helpful, she didn`t do anything mean, and, as said, she also even shared one of my biggest values, which is personal development. While I did notice that sometimes our conversations would run out of topics (unless it is about relationships) and that she seemed to be more in her own head than with me, I also felt bad to distant myself more from her. But as I have learned now, my intuition is always right, even if I can`t understand it (yet).

It wasn`t until I had a great conversation with another friend about it, sharing also my values of personal development, mindfulness, and Buddhism, that she helped me gain a broader perspective and, by this, encouraged me to listen to my intuition. The perspective she offered was that intuition can tell us that someone may not wish us well. This was literally mind-blowing to me and I could feel the shift in me. It was like a "Universal" sign that finally reached me. I realized, because I was so long surrounded by the wrong people, who were ego-driven, status-driven, not valuing deep personal growth, mindful communication, or compassion, I was reacting to people, who do, as if I had just received a drug after a yearslong deprivation. So when I met this former friend, I was excited and felt less lonely meeting someone else who looks into my favorite topics, too.

But now I learned that there are still different vibrations of people within the personal development space that just don`t match yours. While I would love to master the principles of unconditional love and oneness like a Dalai Lama, as long as my energy can be misused or negatively affected, it is my responsibility to take care of it. I realized that esp. in the world of wellbeing, coaching, meditation, there are, of course, people who only scratch at the surface, who, once in touch with a positive momentum, claim themselves teachers and advocates. But I am not one of those who stops at the top of the iceberg (not suggesting that my former friend would fall into this category). I am one who is willing to do the hard and dirty work, facing my fears and difficult emotions, healing my wounds, and looking deep at life, in service of others. For example, only because people come from the same country or share your favorite hobbies, unfortunately (still), it doesn`t mean that they are also a match for you, energetically and spiritually. While we shouldn`t separate ourselves from others too much given also the current world dynamic of right nationalisms (isn`t it sad that we even don`t get along with people who come from the same country as we do?), we also need to take care of our boundaries, values, and wellbeing.

What have you learned about like-minded people? Let me know by sending an email to hello@vietlinhle.com – I very look forward to hearing from you! :) PS: Subscribe to my #mindfulmagic Newsletter to stay in touch for upcoming posts, free offers, and news :)


This week`s ...

  • Inspiration: Ellen Schucman - Course in Miracles: Workbook

  • Reflection: What does my intution tell me about people in my life?

  • Intention: I take care of my values, boundaries, and wellbeing, even if people seem to share my interests and ideals - if they don`t serve me, it is my responsibility to consider this.