Nobody wants to be accused of being envious, especially when it is true.
I have often battled with this monster, and often I have given in. I have submerged my mind in bitterness, inadequacy, and irrationality.
It is next to impossible to be true friends with someone whose skills, talents, looks, and achievements you envy.
Throughout my young life, my problems have lain mostly with envy of talent, popularity, and praise. Growing up, the people I didn’t like were the ones most like me – the ones with the same talents and hobbies. I found myself being angry if someone got asked to sing more than me, got more praise than I thought I got for similar achievements, was cast the part I wanted in the school play, or got a better grade than me even though I thought I worked just as hard.
In my adult life, I sometimes still grapple with this. As I have prayed for this weakness to be made a strength, I have received witnesses of how to wash the green away:
- If someone gets something before you, or does better than you at something, that person may have more experience, know the right people, have more time to work on it, or have more resources. Perhaps God’s will for them is not the same for you, or at least not right now.
- Most of the time, your friends and peers are not trying to hurt you when they succeed. You should not expect them to halt their dreams or accomplishments for your sake.
- Recognize that even if people seem to have it all (or at least what you want), there are many things they may not have, or are struggling with, that you don’t know about. People aren’t defined by one facet of their lives, nor do they get their entire fulfillment from one thing.
- Remember that life has its ups and downs, and so have you. Maybe you are on the down side of the teeter totter right now, but you will be lifted up again in time. As you hope for your side to go up, never hope that someone else’s side goes down. Someone else’s fall will not lift you higher, nor will your envy.
- Life isn’t meant to be a competition. You should only compare yourself to others to motivate you to be better than you are now, not to be better than someone else is right now. In fact, you may never have exactly what someone else has or do what someone else does, and that is OK. That doesn’t mean you are less loved, less blessed, or less valued. It doesn’t mean you have lost at life.
- Sit down and count your blessings. When all you do is think of what you don’t have, you are missing out on the wonder that is your life. You may not have the fancy car, or the perfect relationship, but you have life. You have tremendously more than you even realize.
- Pray to God every day and night that He will help you recognize your potential, your worth, and your calling in life. Also make an effort to pray for those you envy. Pray that you can see their worth, and how they can play a positive role in your life.
- Instead of ignoring those you envy, sincerely compliment and praise them. Ask for their advice on how to be better, and humbly request an honest opinion of your skills. This vulnerable interaction can help build a rewarding friendship.
- Ponder on what really matters in life. The everlasting goal is to return to live with Heavenly Father someday. God doesn’t care how beautiful you are, or how much money you have, or how many people know your name. That is what Satan wants you to think. No, the true test is how you overcome your envy and learn to love others unconditionally.
- Find joy in yourself. Love yourself. You are blessed with many gifts and talents. Use them to help others. As you focus on serving with what you do have, you will be blessed with more.
I can say from personal experience that this shade of green is not a good color on anyone. I can also say that freeing yourself of this suffocating weight can make all the difference in how you feel, how you think, and how you act every day. You will feel wonderful, and free. Take off the green.