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It Hurts to Feel Inferior to My Friend

An Incredible Woman

My friend, Jolie, is amazing. She is naturally gorgeous, warm-hearted, smart, friendly, a champion of women, and a successful architect. She's impossible not to like so she has tons of friends.

She's so awesome that she just accepted a new job with rare, desirable perks such as: working remotely as desired (instead of a 100 mile one-way commute); a great boss; an enviable salary; and the ability to create her own job title—and make herself part of the organization's C-Suite.

I'm truly proud of and excited for her. She is talented, works hard, and deserves it. But five years after having to stop working just as my career was really taking off, I can't seem to help but be jealous.

I've Been Meaning To...

As if that's not enough, she is creating a podcast series. Her first episode is fantastic and bound to be a huge hit.

In my first blog post, I explained how easily discouraged I got at this new blogging endeavor.

It had been incredibly exciting to start writing again. Especially when my writing was going to have a greater purpose—to connect with and maybe even help other people with chronic pain and illness.

After one post, I quit for almost two years.

And for at least a year now, I've been considering starting a podcast. They're really popular and I thought it might be a better way to gain an audience.

But I've procrastinated and done nothing towards it.


I can boil it down to one major theme: self-doubt.

The Beast of Self-Doubt

I think my self-doubt is due to two fears:

  1. The fear of inferiority—that my work product will be inferior to that of others (which stems from comparing myself to others), and

  2. The fear of failure—that nobody will care what I have to say

French novelist Honore de Balzac said, "When you doubt your power, you give power to your doubt.

My doubt has had a lot of power. Besides delaying my blog, I was almost ready to give up the idea of a podcast. I didn't want to "copy" Jolie's idea, or be the second person in our friend group to start a (lower quality) podcast.

So what did I do?

Everyone Needs a Jolie

I decided to talk to her. Tell her everything I was thinking and feeling and how jealous I was of her and her awesomeness.

Her response was unexpected. She took zero credit for all of these successes. She gave all the glory to God. She said she's not awesome, but God is producing awesome results by working through her.

And she told me that these thoughts and feelings of self-doubt were all LIES! Lies Satan was telling me. Lies I was subconsciously telling myself.

Putting Good into the World

Jolie encouraged me to use any outlet I could to put good into the world—a blog, a podcast, a book. Anything. Everything.

She chided me a bit for procrastinating, and said I should take one small step each day towards my goals.

She also reminded me that even if I don't get the significant audience I'm hoping for, it's enough that I write or record just to help myself.


Today I will remember...

comparing myself to others will only hurt me, and possibly my relationship with the person I envy. Instead, I will focus on myself, my abilities, and how I can put good into the world.

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(Adapted from the "It Hurts to Mom" podcast 5/5/2023) Deva Joy Deva Joy Gouss is a psychotherapist in Atlanta, Georgia, an author, and she's worked with lots of people with chronic illness, pain, and


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