I get it. It isn’t easy to scroll through social media every day and see brigade of beautiful harvests and catches… big bucks, monster bulls, a limit of ducks and geese, beautiful trophy fish. I also get it. That desire to be happy and excited for those lucky hunters and anglers, but instead feeling jealous, inferior, and “unlucky”.
This was me for a long time (to be honest I still have times I feel this way). And if I were to guess, you probably experience or have experienced the same emotion. It’s easy to fall into that trap when you work your ass off all hunting season to run into A SINGLE animal, and then someone else you know goes out for two days and harvests a really nice buck and a good bull elk (yes you are sensing a bit of saltiness, LOL).
To be honest, the way I was thinking about others’ success started interfering in my own ability to enjoy getting outside and appreciating the hunt and the catch. I started putting pressure on myself to kill. The hunt became less and less about the process and the beauty around me and more about competing with other hunters and anglers I was seeing on social media.
Hunting, fishing, hiking, and being outdoors is all I know. Without the outdoors, I honestly don’t know who I’d be… I know I would be a lost and depressed soul. You see, being outdoors allows me to take my mind off the things that I don’t need to stress about. It allows me to BREATHE, to feel fresh air pushed through my lungs. It makes me feel one with nature, it gives me a purpose (conservation and fulfilling our ancestors way of life). Most importantly, I have had some of my closest and deepest encounters with the Lord being out in the woods.
It was time for me to leave the jealousy and envy behind. It wasn’t easy, but it was simple. I am proud to say that I have figured it out… for the most part. I still have times where I find myself falling back into the trap. But I can assure you that these 4 tools that I used to change my mindset from being jealous of others to being excited for others will put you on the right track to changing your mindset too.
- START PRACTICING GRATITUDE
I personally started keeping a journal. Once a week I sit down and write down all the things I’m grateful for in my life. Naturally, a lot of these things have nothing to do with hunting or fishing. There’s a lot more to life than living outdoors. However, what I’ve noticed is that when I fill my brain with positive and uplifting things, there’s no room left for negative thoughts. Start LOOKING for the blessings in your life everyday. ACKNOWLEDGE these blessings and don’t take them for granted, no matter how small they may be.
I realize that journaling once per week is probably not enough, so I opened a Twitter account (@MarandaMTOutdrs) and I am making a conscious effort to Tweet a blessing per day on my feed. Twitter is basically the perfect gratitude journal… you can look back through your feed on days when it’s hard to acknowledge the good, and who knows, you may just inspire someone else along the way! Let me know your Twitter handles if you decide to join in on this “online gratitude journey” with me. I want to follow you and be inspired!
I know you know what I’m talking about. Stop scrolling through your friend’s brother’s girlfriend’s photos on Facebook from two years ago when she had a hunting season of a lifetime and shot a 350″ bull and a 200″ buck. Stop scrolling through that Instagram hunting celebrity’s page, looking through all of the harvest photos they’ve taken over the last couple years.
I wish it wasn’t so, but this task was hard for me to accomplish. I actually ended up unfollowing all of the people I found myself jealous of. You might have to do this too, at least for a period of time until you can change your mindset. Keep the people who inspire you and motivate you in your newsfeed. Those are the people who will help you find self-love and be proud of your accomplishments. These are the people who have already administered the mindset of uplifting and supporting others. These are the people you want to learn from.
This might have been the MOST BENEFICIAL step I took on this journey. I have a little tip for you to help you, because I know how tough it is to break this habit. When you find yourself scrolling or feeling jealous, acknowledge it, and then count to five. “1-2-3-4-5 DONE”. Then #StopTheScroll. You will thank me later. You’re welcome.
3. INCREASE YOUR “DESERVE IT” FACTOR
Chances are you are experiencing feelings of jealousy because others are experiences things you wish you could experience. Awesome hunting buddies, Insta fame, a film crew that follows them around, sponsored hunts, private property, a career that allows them to hunt ALL THE TIME, equipments and gear handouts, and harvests and catches that you wish were yours.
We forget to consider the life experiences those people have gone through to get where they are. I will be blunt here, but I’m not aiming to insult anyone. I have come to respect most hunters and anglers, as long as they in turn have a respect for the sport and understand the importance of “fair game”… sometimes “experience” means they had a father that was big into the industry, and maybe he drug them along in his footsteps. Sometimes “experience” means they are wealthy, and it’s only natural to spend lump sums of cash on guided hunts or fishing trips with some of the most successful outfitters. Sometimes “experience” means hours, days, months, and years of practice, spending time in the field, mountains, or streams before finding success. Sometimes “experience” merely means being lucky – being in the right place at the right time or drawing a special draw permit in an area where there are plenty of trophy animals.
For me personally, I haven’t had the opportunity to spend money on guided trips (however, I do have a few guided trips in mind, on the top of the list – Stag in New Zealand). I also haven’t been drug in the footsteps of some expert hunter that is my father. (Don’t get me wrong, my Dad has harvested some very impressive animals over the years, and he’s taught me what he knows).
My “experience” is more along the lines of spending hours, days, months, and years practicing my skills on and away from the hunt, and on occasion, getting a little bit lucky. I have come to terms with the fact that my timeline for “success” will take longer than a lot of other peoples’ timeline. AND THAT’S OKAY.
One of my favorite quotes says it perfectly… “The things we work hardest to obtain are the things we value the most.”
Appreciate the process. Put in the work. Realize you are on your own journey. Understand you can have anything you want if you “deserve it” enough.
4. NEVER STOP LEARNING
This goes along with increasing your “deserve it” factor. Start focusing your time and energy on LEARNING. Watch YouTube videos, read articles, watch hunting or fishing shows. Reach out to hunters and anglers who have already found success and become their friends. Ask them for advice or help. Support them. Ask to join people on their hunts, help them pack out animals they harvested. Don’t be scared of constructive criticism when it comes to shooting, putting on stalks, learning areas to hunt… whatever it may be.
I have spent time around a lot of successful people… military officers and senior enlisted, millionaires, pro athletes, successful business owners, avid hunters and anglers…. and the one thing I have observed from every single one of these people is that they NEVER. STOP. LEARNING.
Social media can really tear down our self-love and undermine the blessings we experience in life. I hope that these four tools can help you switch your mindset of being jealous of others to a mindset of being excited for other’s success.
Social media can also be a really amazing tool to network, connect, and learn from others in the outdoors community. I encourage you to start using it as a tool that makes you excited, inspired, and motivated.
And just to be clear, this message goes out to everyone… hunter and anglers or not. We all have our hobbies and passions, desires and wishes… We all experience feelings of envy or jealousy in some parts of our life. Let’s unite to start loving ourselves. Then we can start loving other people too.
What are some tools you have used to improve your own self-love and accomplishments? What have you found helps you be excited about the success of others?
“Don’t compare your life to others. There’s no comparison between the sun and the moon. They shine when it’s their time.”
Until next time,
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