Hello and happy Monday!
This is Susan Hyatt and it’s GO time.
This is the 79th episode in a series of GO mp3s to wake you up on your Monday morning and get you going.
In this episode we’re talking about what it means (and what to do) when friends “unsubscribe” from you.
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Wanna read the full transcript? Here ya go:
If you follow my work online, you’ve probably noticed that I have… an email mailing list! I know, not exactly a huge shocker! LOL.
I started my mailing list almost a decade ago, and it has always been one of my favorite parts of my business. As my high school teachers would tell you, I am very talkative and very opinionated, so having a place where I can write anything I want, with no censorship, is super-fun for someone like me.
I send out emails to my subscribers about once or twice a week. Typically, these emails include: inspiring stories, advice, links to my latest podcast episodes and blog posts, announcements about my upcoming programs, all the kinda stuff that you might expect.
So anyway, the other day, my husband asked me, “How many mailing list subscribers do you have these days?” I said to him, “Huh, I actually don’t know!” I hadn’t checked those numbers in quite a while. So, I logged into the software and started poking around to find out.
While I was in there, I noticed something surprising.
Someone that I consider to be a very close friend had “unsubscribed” from my mailing list.
I have to tell you, it really shocked me.
Now look, I know that there are a million and one reasons why someone might want to unsubscribe from my mailing list. Maybe my newsletter just isn’t what you need right now, and that’s OK. Or maybe you want to declutter your inbox. Or maybe you’re trying to spend less time reading emails and more time doing your own creative work. Or maybe you’re heading into the woods for a six-month silent technology-free meditation retreat. Who knows why! If anybody wants to unsubscribe from my mailing list, or ANY mailing list, it’s totally OK and I’m not going to be offended.
HOWEVER… this situation surprised me, because this wasn’t just “anybody” unsubscribing from my list. This was a close friend. This is a woman I’ve known for years, a person I’ve spent a lot of time with in person, face to face, and who I really admire and adore having in my life.
So, when I noticed that she’d decided to stop getting my emails, it felt kinda weird. Almost like if one of your closest friends un-friended you on Facebook. You’d be like, “Huh? What’s going on here?” That’s how I felt.
And… the plot thickens.
I was chatting with someone on my team, Holly, and I mentioned that my friend had unsubscribed. Holly knows my friend, too, and she told me something I didn’t expect to hear.
Holly said to me, “She unsubscribed because she’s jealous of your success. Whenever she gets your emails, she starts comparing herself to you, and she feels bad about herself. That’s why she unsubscribed.” Apparently, this woman had told Holly all of this.
I was like, “WHAAAAAAT?”
Then my son Ryan pops his head into the room and says, “My friend’s mom said the same thing to me. She unsubscribed from your emails because your life makes her feel bad in comparison.”
I was like, “DOUBLE WHAAAAAAT?”
I thought about this for days. Two women that I really love—and that I know personally—had both decided, “I can’t hear from Susan anymore because hearing about her fun life makes me feel bad.”
This really troubles me, and here’s why:
As women, we are socially conditioned to “compete” with one another, often in really unhealthy and ridiculous ways. We’re taught to “compete” for male attention, for starters. We get into sick, twisted competitions about who is the “perfect” mom in the neighborhood. We’re also taught to believe that if one woman is “winning,” then that means you are “losing” in comparison. There are a million reality TV shows—like pageant shows, or dating shows like The Bachelor—that reinforce this type of message. One woman gets the ring, or the trophy, or the tiara, and meanwhile… you lose.
This type of messaging is beaten into our heads, practically since pre-school. In my opinion, that’s why so many women have a hard time watching other women shine.
You might see a woman who is thriving and shining and your knee-jerk response is, “Ugh, I can’t handle seeing that. Now I feel shitty about myself. Delete.”
But wouldn’t it feel sooooo much better if your knee-jerk response was something like, “OMG, that’s amazing! You go, girl! I’m so inspired. If that’s possible for you, imagine what’s possible for me, too.”
Here’s my challenge for you this week:
The next time you see a woman doing something AMAZING—whether she’s a friend, a blogger you admire, or a celebrity—notice what happens inside your brain.
Do you respond by thinking, “Ugh, I can’t watch this” …?
If so, try to dig into your thoughts and explore what that’s all about. Are you feeling jealous? Are you feeling competitive in an unhealthy kind of way? Are you feeling annoyed with YOURSELF for not working on your own goals as diligently as you could be? See what’s up with yo’self.
And then, work on your thoughts. Try to replace those negative thoughts with more positive ones. Coach yourself. You can say to yourself,
“Whoa. I just felt a major wave of jealousy. Something about this woman is ‘triggering’ me, and that’s interesting. Deep down, though, I’m really proud of this woman. She’s amazing. And I’m amazing, too. Instead of feeling bitter about her success, I’m going to learn from her success, and I’m going to work hard on making MY dreams come true, too. If she can do it, why not me? Why not now?”
If you have that type of conversation with yourself, it’s going to feel so good. I promise. Instead of feeling jealous or depressed about your life, you’ll feel motivated and inspired. Plus, you’ll become a better friend. You’ll be able to “show up” for your friends, and celebrate with them, instead of ducking away whenever they’re succeeding.
I know that’s the type of friend you want to be, and the type of person you want to be, so… before you automatically hit UNSUBSCRIBE, check in with yourself, and see if you can turn that jealousy into FUEL to reach your goals.
You can do this. It’s something we ALL need to practice.
Oh, and if YOU have a friend who mysteriously abandons you right after you receive some great news, or just as you’re reaching a new level of success, try to have some compassion for your friend. Most likely, they still love the heck out of you, but they’re just feeling a little “triggered” by your awesomeness, and maybe they need a little time to work out their feelings and get back into a positive, supportive place. Hopefully, that will happen quickly. And if not, that’s unfortunate, but… that’s life.
Meanwhile, you can focus on finding NEW friends who are capable of cheering for you, and who aren’t afraid to stare directly into the sun of your awesomeness. Those ladies are out there, I promise you. A lot of those types of ladies attend my retreats, enroll in my programs, and hang out on my Facebook page! They’re out there and they’d LOVE to meet you.
Don’t be afraid to gaze directly into the sun.
Don’t let other people’s success make you feel smaller.
And… find friends and colleagues who operate that way, too.
That’s my advice for you this week, and…
It’s GO time.