I believe the turning point of my and my husband’s life was when he was assigned in Pilillia, Rizal. From the peak of our careers–his in the Bureau and mine in my freelancing business–we went face flat on the floor. Little did we know that it was a blessing in disguise.
Prior to moving to Pilillia, we had the unhealthy habit of looking at others and comparing our success with them. We wanted to be the best at everything. And when we weren’t, we would punish ourselves with discouraging words.
Perhaps it was the quietness of the place, or the abundance of time, that made us reflect on our lives and our goals. Four months of reflection and intentional living really turned around our views and beliefs. “Rock bottom is a beautiful start,” my friend said. And it’s true!
We learned to only look at ourselves every time we need to check our growth. We asked better questions to gauge our progress, like “How were we three years ago? How can we be better than we were back then?” instead of asking, “How is this other family doing? Are we better than them?”
The change in mindset helped us live happier lives and encouraged us to truly focus on our own goals (as opposed to going on a race with another family’s goals).
As we looked back at 2013 and the years that came after, we saw how far we’ve come. We achieved many of our goals, some of which we even surpassed. That’s good, right? Yes, of course.
However, I learned recently that as you become happier and more successful, hatred builds around you…even if you don’t really mean to get other people angry, or envious to the point that they want you to fail.
When we went on a mountain retreat during my birthday weekend, I couldn’t help but feel upset as I spoke to my husband about my heartaches because people who we consider friends seem to be on a mission to take us down. I feel strongly about this because it’s a habit of mine now to only see the good in people. As in, kahit sabihin pa ng iba na this person cannot be trusted, I choose to trust first. I choose to see the good first. So I really don’t understand why others can’t do the same thing.
But the sad truth is that the more successful you are, the more the average person begins to hate you. I know because I once had the “average person attitude.” When I see a successful person, I immediately judge.
Siguro ill-gotten wealth yan.
Siguro mayaman magulang n’yan.
Siguro selfish yan.
Let’s make the example something more relatable. Let’s say you see a lady pull up in a red Ferrari. What goes on in your mind? I won’t lie. When I first encountered this, I thought, “Nakapag-asawa ng mayaman!”
After our stay in Pilillia, I learned to control such thoughts and geared those thoughts towards something more positive and productive.
When Arjay and I saw the success of a friend in her restaurant business, our first thought was it’s only because her parents gave her the money to start the business. “Lucky her,” we said.
Then, we reflected on it and began to ask the right questions so we can imitate the steps she took towards her success so we can achieve ours. Instead of judging and making assumptions, we went directly to the person and asked how she achieved her success. You’ll be surprised at how generous these people are with their knowledge and advice! You just need to ask.
So when we finally reached what we believe is the kind of life we want and people started hating us for that, I couldn’t get myself to understand why people felt that way. Shouldn’t they be happy for us? Shouldn’t they use us as a motivation?
I was so baffled about what was going on that I went as far as researching it. I was surprised because this hatred towards successful people is a legit thing. I mean, why would big business magazines and financial websites tackle the topic right?!
“Criticism is self-hate turned outwards.” (Why the Most Successful People Have the Most Haters, Entrepreneur)
“It’s not that having money makes you into a bad person. In fact, you will probably become more generous and supportive of those around you, since you’ll have the resources to do so. The problem is that the pressures start to grow with the income you earn, and some people just can’t take it.” (Face it: Your success will make a lot of people hate your guts, Financial Juneteenth)
“Everybody loves a “rags to riches” story. But do you know what’s even better to the media? A “riches to rags” story. Everybody is captivated by those who scaled the mountain of success and then came tumbling down.” (Why do people hate successful people?, JT Foxx Blog)
Can you believe that? There are actual self-help books and articles for successful people and how they can better handle haters! Grabe lang.
Anyway. I have two things that I want to get across here.
First, if you are one of the people who hate me or my husband (or both of us) for our success, instead of wishing us bad luck or stabbing us behind our backs, I hope and pray you’d just ask. Ask me how we did it. Ask me how we can help you. We can be successful together!
Also, know that there is no one standard for success. Our happiness may not be your idea of what ‘successful’ is and vice versa. Instead of thinking, “Ang yabang ng mga ‘to, wala namang narating,” reflect about your idea of happiness and success.
Second, if you feel like you’re a target of these haters, it’s okay to feel bad…but don’t let their words rule your world. I’m lucky that I get support from my husband and a few of my super trusted friends. Surround yourself with these people and only listen to yourself and their encouraging words.
Cheers to your success!