When or if you achieve some level of success in life, some people are going to hate you for it. You can bet your mortgage money on that one. Obviously, success draws its share of admiration, but it’s guaranteed to rouse some hate as well. So why do some people hate you when are successful? I think there four basic reasons.
The first and most obvious reason is that they are jealous. Some people can’t stand anyone else’s prosperity. They are naturally resentful of it. They always wish it was them instead of you. Funny thing, though, they never wish for any of your hardships, losses, disappointments, pain, illnesses, or anything of the like. And they conveniently ignore all the hard work that paved the way for your success. They just focus on the fact that you acquired something good that they didn’t – and they don’t like it.
The second reason is that your success often makes them look bad. It might increase the standards for which they will be judged in the future. They are satisfied with the status quo and you are ruining things for them. You are rocking the boat. You are upsetting the applecart. Because of you, they might be forced out their comfort zone. They may actually be challenged to improve themselves. Their life of ease my soon be shaken up. That’s not what they want.
The third reason is that they might not think you are deserving of success, for whatever reason. They may feel that success came too easy for you and that, because of your natural ability, you didn’t have to work as hard as they would have to, in order to gain comparable achievements. They may think you are not credentialed enough for the success you have achieved. For example, some people will automatically dismiss your accomplishments because you don’t have what they feel is the right amount of education or experience. They may think you are not good enough, pedigreed enough, or from the right kind of family or background. They have a mental image of what a successful person should be or look like – and you’re not it.
The fourth and final reason is familiarity. They say it breeds contempt, and this is especially true for someone who has achieved a certain level of success. The Bible says (and I’m paraphrasing now) that successful people can find respect anywhere except within their own family or hometown. There they often find nothing but resentment. For example, people might say something like, “Isn’t this the same old Jim I grew up with, went to school with, and partied with – who does he think he is now?” For some reason, they have an image of you (pre-success) burned into their psyche and they just can’t remove it. They apparently see your success as a form of betrayal – a betrayal of the person you used to be. Go figure!