12/14/2015

How To Deal with Copycats & Learn to Love Them

How To Deal with Copycats and Learn to Love Them

To anyone that has ever dealt with people copying them (and felt super annoyed about it) this post is for you.

I’ve been sitting on writing this post for ages because I didn’t want to seem petty. I’m afraid that after writing this you might think less of me (which of course is absolutely none of my business anyway) or just be like, DAMN GIRL GET OVER YOURSELF ALREADY, but all of this bullshit in my head is just the fear talking. It’s the resistance that wants me to not share what is really going.

If you’ve been here for a while you know I am all about breaking through fear and writing about the stuff that most folks are too scared to write about.

And maybe I didn’t even need that little preface to this piece (I hear you writing group, just READ already, no explaining!), but I want to open you up to my process a little more and keep this like, really real you know? Because if you want fluff and surfac-y-self-care tips you can find that online elsewhere.

I’m here to get down to the nitty gritty, no holding back, this is real life stuff.

All feelings all the time.

And if you landed on this page you get what I’m saying.

Diving in, heart first.

People have been copying me since I was in elementary school and it has always gotten on my nerves. Growing up it was all the superficial stuff like girls dressing like me or showing up in my ballet classes because they wanted to do the things that I did after school.

True story: I cut so many holes in my jeans in fourth grade because I hated the idea of looking like anyone else.

As I got older I recognized that we each have our unique look and that is FINE, but Montessori school girls that bought MY jeans be dammed! I was determined to out dress them as often as possible.

This totally drove my parents nuts because it led me to only wear pink and purple (ONLY) for several years. It was a thing. And I was super serious about it.

As the years passed the copying (which is very much part of growing up and learning who you are in the world, I get that) switched from clothes to liking the same boys I liked, writing papers on the same artists, getting the same AA sponsor, and following the same meditation teachers. I learned to let it roll off me and though it annoyed me, the feelings never lingered and I went on about my life.

The last couple of years the copying has gone way beyond anything I could ever imagine and interestingly it’s all centered around my business. I get that in the service industry nothing is really proprietary even if you copyright everything. Regardless, it feels really shitty to find out people are ripping off my website and social media content. Some women have even gone so far as to create custom offerings, websites, and programs that use mine as ‘inspiration’.

Right.

You know the difference between inspiration and straight up copying by the way it feels, there’s a gross energy attached to it.

This feels extra lame because my work is centered around supporting women and not being competitive, weird, paranoid, and living in a constant state of scarcity.

And lately it’s been tugging at some core issues that I am currently working through. The polarity of growth always amazes me. The clearer I get on what I need to break through to step into the next level of consciousness, the louder the lessons get. Like I mentioned in my last post about setting boundaries, these painful teachings I am moving through as I rise up into more light are super dark. The polarity makes the path crystal clear.

Look, I’ll be the first person to tell you most (if not all) of my brilliant ideas have been nuggets of gold I have received from my friends, teachers, relatives, and mentors. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being influenced by the people you admire and are close to, this is perfectly normal and amazing! I feel grateful everyday for the incredible people in my life and teachers I have had the pleasure of being around.

It’s also great to ask your friend where she got those amazing jeans and go get yourself a pair! I’ve long since outgrown needing to stand out in a crowd and love catching up about fashion trends with my girlfriends. We’re influencing each other all of the time. I love connecting and sharing ideas far and wide.

There is however something totally different about blatantly copying someone’s hard work and trying to pass it off as your own. That is just not cool. And it’s okay to be mad about it!

Last week when I called my friend about the latest copying incident she said, girl you must be doing something right if people are jacking it! I paused for a moment and said, wow, I never thought about it like that, thank you!

We had a good laugh and ended the conversation on a high note.

This year I have been paying close attention to the FEELINGS that surface when my ideas or content is copied. Noticing the feelings and working with them is how I get down to the root of what is going on. Once I can get to the core, it’s so much easier to make the necessary shifts that bring me back to happiness and gratitude.

When I become aware I am being copied through stumbling on an Instagram feed or get asked by a friend, have you seen so and so’s new website or class offering?! I feel frustrated because I know how much heart and soul I put into everything I do. It feels completely unfair that someone can just come in and take the good parts of my effort and pass them off as original.

Depending on what type of space I am in, the experience could end at being annoyed in the moment. If I’m tired or stressed however, the feelings go in a deeper. I get drained from people taking my energy. There is a term for this in energy medicine, we call it a psychic attack. These incidences leave me feeling wiped out. When I am in this place I need to just let it go and do the action steps to shift when I have more energy.

When I lean into the frustration that surfaces from being copied and the feelings that others are taking my energy, I recognize the two of core issues I am actively working through right now: setting boundaries and living in prosperity.

A few weeks ago I wrote about setting clear boundaries in my relationship with Jason. Since getting back into this practice our relationship is like night and day. So much has shifted in a very short amount of time for the better. As far as copying is concerned, one action I know I need to take is to stand up for myself and let the copycats know what they are doing isn’t cool. Setting this boundary is about taking up more space and using my voice in a bigger way. Just thinking about it I get a little feeling in my stomach that lets me know I’m on the right track.

I realize I cannot write back every person that copies me and that isn’t even the point. My work with boundaries is to stick up for myself when I need to and let the rest go, trusting the universe has my back and all will be well. When I meditate on it, the path is clear about which people I need to contact and which people I need to release. If you decide to work in a similar manner get quiet and listen to your intuition, do what feels right to you, even if it feels scary.

The second piece in dealing with the copycats is to shift my focus from lack to abundance. There are a couple of ways I work in this area. Once I have blown off steam about being annoyed, I turn my attention to sending those people love and prospering blessings. I sit quietly and imagine them receiving all of the blessings I want for myself and then some. I radiate light and love from my heart right to theirs. If that feels hard and I’m really having a go of it, I write out a letter to them and tell them how much joy they are receiving, how much I desire their prosperity and how grateful I am for the lessons they are teaching me.

Faking it until you make it fully applies here.

Don’t hold back, go for it.

I cannot even tell you how powerful these practices are. If you want to shift your energy around being copied (or anything else!) send the person you’re having issues with loving energy or write them a love letter. The beauty of this work is that you don’t have to feel a certain way to participate. All that is required is your willingness to be honest and take action. Staying in action changes you, which ultimately shifts the energy you attract.

I know exactly why these major lessons are up for me right now and what my work is. As we move towards the winter solstice it’s time to dig into our shadow side and seek out the ways we need to re-calibrate to reach our next level. Transformation is rarely comfortable, but it is always worth it.

As I move through these radical changes this season I am spending extra time in gratitude. Yes, I’ve established that copycats get on my nerves to no end, but from a wider perspective it shows me I am on the right track. Being copied is a sign that I am doing things well, that my life is touching people and inspiring them to change.

And at the end of the day to inspire and help people create meaning is the reason I get out of bed every single day. It’s always important to look at every situation from all sides. Each little rub we get throughout our day is an invitation to look within, see what is there, and open our hearts a little more. You can choose in each moment to love those people that annoy you and send them nothing but glorious high vibe energy.

It will change everything about you.

The reality is there is plenty for everyone and the more you shake off the frustration (but feel it first, that is totally healthy!) and reach for love the more of everything you seek will find its way to you.

Today I am choosing to love each copycat that comes into my as messengers from the universe asking me:

How much do you want to outgrow this stuff?
How willing are you to do this deep work and step into a bigger role in your life?

The answers are in my heart and they are clear as day.

I’m shedding these old layers.

I’m willing to expose my deepest insecurities to shine even brighter than before.

I am leading with my heart and I don’t care anymore what it looks like.

This is me.

Opening.

Stretching.

Humbled.

Grateful.

All my love.

/////

Have you experienced copycats? How do you love yourself (and them) through any frustration?

xoa

Comments

  • Paulette

    Thank you so much for this post. I have been struggling with other people copying me all of my life too. I never wanted to admit that I felt annoyed by this because then I would seem arrogant. I’m learning now that I should be humbled and flattered that someone would want to copy my work. I’ve noticed that when someone goes beyond being ispired by what I do to straight up copying it, it pushes me to create something different. I then have to dig deeper into my authentic self and create something ever more meaningful to me. I just wanted to thank you for sharing this subject that needs to be talked about, especially in the wellness industry. We each have a unique voice and something beautiful to create. It’s comforting to know that I am not alone.
    Love and Light,
    Paulette

    • ashley

      Hello Paulette. It is so wonderful to hear from you. I resonated with everything you shared as well. I especially loved what you wrote about creating something different, that is such a huge pro-active piece of our work and it takes us deeper into our purpose. Thank you for being here and taking the time to write about your experiences. It felt like such an important piece to write about for our community. Thinking of you and sending light your way. Grateful we are in this together. xoa

  • Lara

    Ashley – Thank you so much for this. I stumbled upon your website this past weekend, as a friend photographer had been published on The Body Book site – I found you there and immediately connected with your moon intentions and gratitude practice. It’s so encouraging to hear you express legitimate annoyances (and those other feelings I sometimes deem ‘petty’ or outside of who I want to be) – and then find a way to shift your thinking but also take action on creating positivity without denying the annoyance/energy drain. Thank you thank you! You are such an inspiration (and not in the “copying” way ;)).

    • ashley

      Hi Lara. I am so grateful you are here. Thank you for taking the time to share! Your words really hit home and that’s exactly what I was trying to convey, that it is totally okay to have feelings and be annoyed, the practice is about letting them be and then moving into action. Our feelings are always there to tell us something important.

      Isn’t the Body Book great? Love the community over there. Wishing you a wonderful Tuesday and thanks again for being part of this conversation. Lots of love. xoa

  • Lucy

    I check into this blog so often. I love that you posted something that people might see as a rant. It is vital to talk about things that annoy you if you are going to be fully honest you can’t not talk about things. Also the copying thing is such a personal thing I even had someone have the same hair cut and dye their hair to look like me! I have struggled with self esteem so when people copy me i try and soak it in that this is positive that people are willing to take the example change their hair to be like me. Rather than in the past feeling threatened. Love reading about your journey :) xx

    • ashley

      Hi Lucy! It is wonderful to hear from you. Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences. I appreciate your encouragement about posting something really close to my heart that some folks might take offense to. It feels really important to be able to share all sides of myself here and explore some of the areas that make me uncomfortable. You’re right, being 100% honest is what it’s all about! I love that you are soaking in the positive influence you are having rather than feeling threatened, that is awesome growth. Wishing you a wonderful rest of the week. Lots of love. xoa

  • Corinne

    Your site stands out from the others, easily. It is a gem, and your authenticity and care make it what it is. No one can rip that in a quick quibble on instagram. I can totally relate to losing sight of that, though, and when I do, it is because I am not in a right-minded place. I love your courage in taking this on! Maybe things are different for me, as I do not work in wellness explicitly. Each day I have to push back against the voice in my head and try and switch into my inner silence (especially during this amazing changes). In my true self, where I feel safe and secure, I am not worried. I try and remember that people spreading the message is a good thing, and that I have to create a culture around me where people can ask for my help and support if they want to start a similar endeavor, instead of just pushing forward “alone”. I much prefer being alone so it’s tempting to encourage others to be the same. My imdustry is very collaborative and people are pretty open about copying. It’s the individuals who don’t fess up and openly ask “I really love this, can you help me with one of my own?” who really create waves. It’s a great lesson for me to try and embrace them anyway, and realize that I was like that to my early mentors.

  • Olga

    I just wanted to send you my best wishes, Ashley, reading this really touched me.
    Your writing, your presence really stand out in the noise of social media, THAT nobody can copy.

    • ashley

      Hello Olga,
      Thank you for your heartfelt wishes! Very grateful for you. All my heart. xoa

  • Corina

    Hi Ashley, I was thinking the same thing as the friend you were talking to. And sure you are doing many things right. I can understand that getting copied is annoying. But just like the saying, Be yourself, everybody else is already taken, it’s just a copy of you or your work which never can be as good or authentic like the original. And people see and feel that. I have been copied all my life too. Sometimes it felt like stalking, sometimes more like stealing. The most frustrated and angry I was when I trusted someone who later stole my ideas. This happened a lot, But in the end they never were successful with it. Being copied always pushed me forward, because I had a strong feeling of getting away from this person or situation. It always helped me moving forward and starting new things. Corina

    • ashley

      Hi Corina,
      I love what you shared about being pushed forward, that is exactly how I feel. Let the copying serve a a fire to keep creating and living out our passions! Feeling your strong energy sister! xoa

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