10 hacks for dealing with jealousy at the Fringe

Lucas O'Neil

Jealously is one of those emotions that's happy to show up at any time. It's like one of your friends who is always down to join whatever it is you're doing, and you're like: do you not have somewhere to be? In the entertainment business, especially, there's is no shortage of cues for jealously. Like I'm writing this blog post and you're not. Jealous?


Okay, maybe not the best example, but you could imagine feeling something about this opportunity you don't have. And that'd be fine! Those feelings would be diluted across the vast expanse of your normal life. But fringe isn't normal life, is it? It's a month-long festival of performance, attention-seeking and anxiety, which may actually amp up the potency of want and envy and self-doubt that jealousy generates.

What's to be done? Well, nothing can be done to stop the feeling because someone's always doing better than you in some way. Even if you've sold out every show and received a 6-star review, someone else will get 7 stars. And they'll win "Highest Quality Sleep," too. Which you didn't even know is an aware category. Point is, there is no winning, but there is mitigation.

So. here are 10 strategies for dealing with jealously at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe - and probably anywhere. They (sometimes) work for me!

1. Don't go to the Fringe. Boom. Not going to the Fringe is a great choice because if you aren't there then you can continue to believe that if you'd attended, it'd would have gone even better for you. The downside is that you'll see photos and videos of lovely people crammed into small venues having a ball. And that'll put you back to square one.


2. Go to the Fringe. If you don't want to be jealous of those at the Fringe, you gotta be there, mucking around in it. This helps you avoid the passive form of jealousy - FOMO, fear of missing out. Being in motion, having something you're striving for, is a great antidote to envy and its emotional brethren. Notice where your attention is, and then redirect it to your work.

3. Gratitude journal. Now, we're in the good stuff. I'm sorry to admit that gratitude journalling works, but it does. When jealousy takes us out of our current life and transports us into the hypothetical "better" version, writing down what you're grateful for is a grounding practice. It's humbling, too, because there's often a lot more going well than you realise.

Lucas O'Neil

4. Celebrate the wins. When you see other people doing great - and you're feeling down about it - behold your triumphs instead. For they are many indeed! I'll write the day's victories on sticky notes and put them on my wall. Potential example: one of your leaflets is thrown in the bin, but you fish it out before it's sullied, so you can re-use it. You write "unsullied leaflet" on a post-it and let the win wash over you.

5. Do something not Fringe. Take a walk, meditate, take photos, dance, find some nature. Personally, I enjoy standing in front of the ocean because the scale always reminds me that whatever I'm experiencing is just a bit of the whole. When feelings are big, it's nice to be shown that the universe is bigger.

6. Complain. Find a mate and let jealousy run the show for bit. I find that my brain is sometimes like a small child that wants dessert for dinner (dessert is expressing jealous feelings), and when I give it dessert for dinner by talking about my feelings, my brain gets over it quickly. It'll realise "I actually can't eat this much," and then let it go.

7. Befriend the pain point. The performer from earlier - the one with the 7-star review and incredible sleep cycles - is really giving you fits. It's a problem. Here's what you do: go see their show. Find them amongst the masses. Befriend them. Celebrate their win. Connection always helps me see the performer as a person and colleague rather than the embodiment of an accomplishment I wish I'd achieved.

8. Copy them. If you've successfully befriended this former foe, learn from them. They are clearly doing something you also would like to do, so engage with them as a resource.

For example, for this blog, I asked my friends for tips for dealing with jealousy. And they provided better ideas than mine. But instead of being resentful, I just copied their advice word for word.

9. Be curious. Jealousy gets a bad rap. It's viewed as a negative emotion that only does harm, but I don't think that's fair. The corrosiveness of jealousy is a result of how we handle it. Jealousy is a highlighter of what we want. And how nice is that? I'm suspect of how often I actually know what I want. But with jealousy, I can get a little closer, if I'm open to seeing.

10. Do nothing. It's just a feeling. It will pass. Oh no. This should have been the whole list.

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