Pretty much without exception, if I know you, I am or have been jealous of you in some way, for some reason.
If you have a college degree higher than an Associates, I’m jealous of that. If you’re over 5 feet tall, I’m jealous of that. If your skin tans and doesn’t burn. If you can wear earrings. If you can focus your attention for any extended period of time. If you can wear more than one hairstyle. If you can figure out technology. If you can tell a story. If you can write fairly quickly. If you can be asked an impromptu question without your brain completely shutting down.
I won’t go on, but I could.
It’s important to note that I’m talking about jealousy, not envy. My desire to have what you have is jealousy. My desire that if I can’t have it, you can’t have it either, is envy.
Jealousy starts the moment I turn my focus from me to you and decide that what I have is less in some way. It begins with comparison, and as Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
The good news is that we don’t have to be the losers in our own lives. We can fight against jealousy.
Two mindsets help me. I say help because I will probably always struggle. The first is to be content and grateful for what we have.
If we must compare, do it with broader perspective. Let it not be with the many who have more, but with the multitudes who have less.
There is the saying “If you have food in your fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep you are richer than 75% of the world.” Focusing on that one sentence alone wipes out the vast majority of my “issues” AND helps me be grateful for the wealth I do have.
“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” --Eckhart Tolle
The second part is to focus forward.
Everyone has a purpose, and our purposes are not in competition with each other. Jesus didn’t give the Great Competition. He gave the Great Co-Mission. There is room for everyone on the road, and we can help each other as we all move forward.
When I look around at everyone else I lose focus on my own purpose. When I focus forward, I see my own path more clearly.
If we focus on our own paths, and are grateful and content, we can see ourselves and others without the green lens on their supposedly greener grass, and we can love ourselves and them better.
I don’t have to be jealous of you. That doesn’t mean I won’t be, but I can do something about it.
For an excellent and extraordinary four part podcast on envy, CLICK HERE
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