Tee is always recommending podcasts for me. One she recently recommended is Call Your Girlfriend, a podcast with Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman, long-distance best friends who talk about anything and everything.
I haven’t really given CYG that much of a chance – as previously discussed, I have a podcast diet and if I add too many podcasts into the rotation, I get overwhelmed and listen to nothing.
However, Tee filled me in on a recurring theme of CYG – Shine Theory – and I looooooove it.
You can read an article by Ann Friedman about Shine Theory here, but I will sum it up as best I can. Friedman writes about cultivating friendships with smart, beautiful, successful women. This may seem like a no-brainer or a nothing statement – why wouldn’t I want to be friends with someone who is smart, beautiful, and successful?
Jealousy. Resentment. A fear that being around people who
are awesome will make you seem less awesome by comparison.
It can be really difficult to tame the jealousy we feel when someone with similar interests and goals to us is achieving success. It feels as if there’s only a limited amount of success to go around, so if someone like us is making a ton of money, publishing a novel, appearing on a TV show, starting their own business – it’s easy to feel like their success means we are less likely to achieve our own personal goals, whatever they are.
The concept of Shine Theory, per Ann Friedman, “if I don’t shine, you don’t shine.” When our friends or acquaintances achieve success, it helps us to shine more. It doesn’t mean that there’s less room at the table of success for us – if anything, it means we have more of a chance at success.
But it sure doesn’t feel that way.
I definitely experience the sting of comparison and jealousy when it comes to my career and my writing. However, it also sneaks up on me when I’m stressing about the adoption process. It’s become increasingly difficult, as the adoption wait continues, to feel happy and not jealous or resentful when others announce their pregnancies.
I love the idea of Shine Theory, and I so want to embrace it. But I acknowledge that it’s not as easy as it sounds. Logically, I know that someone else’s success or addition to their family has absolutely nothing to do with my chances for success or for Our Baby coming home.
But emotionally – it’s hard to get to that logical place when you’re sitting in your pain, feeling vulnerable and exposed.
Friedman writes, “…in reality, we’ve all been both of the women in this scenario, the idealizer and the idealized, often simultaneously. Foregoing the internal ranking system in favor of being your best self and helping your girlfriends do the same was a revelation to me.”
We can be both of these women – the one who’s jealous and the one inspiring jealousy in others. We almost always are both of these women. And even if it’s difficult, we can remember that there’s more than enough sunlight for all of us to shine, every single day. My goal is to remember this, and to help shine a spotlight on other women when they achieve success rather than allowing jealousy or resentment to keep us all from shining.