Actors can be supportive and encourage each other in this business, but actors can also feel competitive with each other. Some actors will get breaks that you did not, and others may become quite successful while you are still slogging away in a restaurant job or just trying to make ends meet while taking classes. These situations may feel bittersweet. You may want to feel happy for them, but you may also feel envious and frustrated that you have not been as fortunate. Try to resist the urge to compare yourself to them, and instead be happy for their success, as you would want others to be happy for you if you were in their place. The fact is that only one person gets cast in a role. So make peace with that fact and continue honing your craft. Hopefully sooner than later you will be cast.
Although it can be hard not to compare yourself to others, remember that comparing yourself to someone else is an inaccurate measuring stick, and it can erode your self-esteem and send you into depression. When you compare yourself to others—whether in regards to a relationship, a career, or other achievement—you are only comparing yourself to your perception of others. Everyone has different life circumstances and different paths. You are on your own unique journey, and it may take longer or go in a different direction. However, it will never be the same as anyone else's, and it has just as many opportunities and possibilities.
It is understandable to feel envious of others’ successes, but remember that envy is usually just a good indicator of your own insecurities. When you can figure out why you are feeling insecure, you can start to overcome it. A good psychotherapist can come in handy for these situations, and help you focus instead on your own strengths.
When you find yourself comparing yourself to others, stop for a minute and ask yourself: What am I grateful for in my life? What relationships have I made that are important to me? What accomplishments have I made in my life? What have I done recently that I am proud of? In what ways have I grown and improved? What steps am I taking to keep growing?
After all, these are the things that really matter.
Robert Curtiss, a former psychotherapist, works at Essay Management with personal manager John Essay, whom he helped to create TheActorsGuideToEverything.com.