I have a secret to tell you.
It’s something voice actors (and other performers) are not supposed to do, not supposed to feel, definitely not supposed to admit to.
I get jealous.
To be frank, I am a greedy little sucker and I want more than I have.
Most of the time, I work diligently towards getting the things I want. I audition, I send emails, I do fabulous voiceover for fabulous clients, I learn new skills, I am excellent at customer service… and, wait…. actually, I will get to the things I want! In good time. I’m just… impatient, sometimes.
Impatient and jealous, oh dear, what’s to become of me?
Do you wanna hear something cringey? Sometimes, when I see news that a fellow voice actor has scored an amazing role or lucrative job that I would love… it takes me a minute to swallow the feelings of jealousy before I can genuinely congratulate them.
This is awful! I’m a terrible person! Ew!
I can feel you all clicking away in disgust right now… that Sumara! What a killjoy, what a silly jealous little baby.
Okay, enough of that. I’m pretty sure most of you would not call me a baby (you might think it though!) and I don’t really think I’m a terrible person. I think I’m a human being with all sorts of complicated emotions and ambitions and struggles, like any of us.
So, what to do with those icky unwelcome pangs of jealousy?
Well, for starters: it’s okay to want things you don’t have. I want to be in an animated feature film one day, and I ain’t gonna pretend I don’t. I want to make enough money doing voiceover to pay all my bills and have some fun, expensive treats. I want my son to visit more often. I want Covid19 to fuck off and make way for some more positive news stories to watch on Youtube while I eat breakfast. You know, stuff. I want it.
However, it’s NOT okay (in my book) to want other people to NOT have stuff. That’s just mean. Thinking “jeez, Kate got that game role I really wanted, sigh, now I’m sad and jealous” is one thing. Thinking “ugh, Kate got that role, she doesn’t deserve it, they shouldn’t have cast her” is a whole other thing. I’m glad my jealousy doesn’t get to that point!
Healthy, therapist-type people are always saying you have to allow your feelings to just “be” before you can do anything else with them. Sometimes those feelings are a definite shade of green and still must be acknowledged as real, valid feelings.
But then. You gotta look that envy in those seductive, emerald eyes and say “that’s enough, you’re not helping me, I don’t need you – goodbye!”
I know I’m not alone in this. I’ve spoken to some colleagues who admit that they, too, are occasionally struck by those icky greenish feelings of envy. Even people way further ahead on the Voice Actor World Domination Journey than me. (I just invented that journey. It’s probably not a thing? But maybe? I’ll let you know when I get there… somewhere…)
Instead of entertaining the jealous feelings and getting all mopey or cranky, I take a moment to remind myself of positive things:
- I am working hard and making progress. Everything takes time.
- I am myself, and Kate (or whoever) is themself, and we cannot achieve the exact same things.
- If Kate can achieve this wonderful thing, then all voice actors are winning (what’s that saying – a rising tide lifts all boats!)
- I have been cast for many other things at many other times; this time is Kate’s – hooray for Kate!
For real, that 4th point is the point! This time, this moment you are feeling jealous about – it’s someone else’s moment. The minute you turn around and move the focus back onto the great moment that it is, the envy loses its power. Celebration is much stronger than rivalry, in my opinion. You simply can’t keep feeling like a jealous loser while you’re cheering for someone’s success. Trust me, I’ve tried.
I genuinely do feel better and more positive after I celebrate someone else’s success with them. Yay!
I, uh…. really hope some of you can relate to this ramble of mine, and that you don’t in fact think I’m a terrible baby. I mean, I’m old now. My teeanger said so. I don’t look at all like a baby. Really.
So, if you do relate, please share. What brings up that nasty little green monster in you?