6 Ways to Tame Envy – the Green-Eyed Monster In You
I truly envy those who have perfect eye sight! After the birth of my first child, my eye sight was not the same.
There are challenges for those who wear glasses or contacts – little things like it being difficult to see when it’s raining or when you are sweating. Babies get a kick out of grabbing them. Contacts are preferred in those situations, however, contacts come with their own challenges. Heaven forbid you lose or crack one! I know, I’ve done both!
Several years back, after cracking one of my hard contact lenses, I was forced to wear my glasses for nearly a week. If I loved the way I looked in glasses, that would be one thing, but sadly I don’t.
In the process of getting new contacts, it made sense to also get a new pair of glasses that were public-worthy – something I would feel good about wearing if I had to.
A week later, I picked up my fashionable new spectacles. As I walked to my car wearing them, my vision was not that great. I confess I expected more from a brand-new pair of glasses. I chalked it up to that funky adjustment period one has with a new prescription.
1 Week Later…
It became clear that they positioned the transition from distance to bifocals too high on the lenses. The only real way to see out of my glasses was to let them slide down my nose, destroying the whole fashionable vibe I was going for.
Needless to say, I was a little frustrated with the inability to be able to see and be cute simultaneously!
A faulty pair of glasses makes seeing impossible! Do you know what else wreaks havoc on your ability to see clearly? Envy! It’s the Green-Eyed Monster!
Even before Shakespeare penned the phrases “green-eyed monster” in Othello or “green sickness” in Anthony & Cleopatra, or the “green-eyed jealousy” in The Merchant of Venice, the Greeks associated envy with being green, pale, and sickly. They believed that envy caused the body to produce too much bile resulting in one appearing “green.”
Don’t be confused, envy is not the same as jealousy.
Envy Takes A Toll!
And guess what, if you allow envy to exist, it eventually does make you sick. Proverbs 14:30 puts it this way: A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.
Taking a toll on your health isn’t the only undesirable thing that envy leads to. Envy also…
- Undermines your confidence
- Hurts your personal and professional relationships
- Decreases your productivity
- Steals your joy
- Feeds discontent and bitterness
- Wastes time and energy
- Ignites the victim mentality
- Increases frustration and discouragement
- Chips away at your self-worth
- Shrinks your ability to influence
- Consumes your thoughts
- Keeps you from living authentically
- Causes you to be negative
- Keeps you stuck
The Opportunity for Envy are Endless!
No matter where you look, you will find someone more successful or less successful, than you are! Envy can pop up literally in any area of your life! Here are a few areas envy can show up:
- Your skills, gifts, and talents
- Being married or being single
- Having kids or not having kids
- Material stuff
- Your level of influence
- Your season of life
- Careers, jobs, or positions
- Looks or physical appearance
- The number of clients, customers, or donors
- Even good eye-sight! J
Whatever you consider valuable, that’s where you are prone to envy.
So how do you tame the green-eyed monster in you?
1. Dwell on Abundance
Lurking underneath envy is the sense that there isn’t enough to go around. If someone else does well, then there is less for you.
I know a gentleman who was very stingy with compliments. If he celebrated the good in others, somehow, he believed that compliments diminished him in some way. Now that sounds wacky, and it is, but we all have funky beliefs that expose our scarcity mentality.
Remember, Jesus didn’t provide just enough food for the 5000 from five loaves and two fish. He made enough for everyone to eat plus 12 baskets leftover! That’s abundance! (Mark 6:30-44)
Do you truly believe that God has plenty for you? Enough money, clients, stuff (the stuff you need), etc.? Is He able to make this season of life full and meaningful?
I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of. John 10:10b (MSG)
What you focus on you get more of! Rather than focusing on all that you lack, instead try focusing on all that you have! Appreciate where you are today: this season of life!
If social media or advertising unleashes your green-eye monster, then limit or eliminate it.
And, keep in mind, there’s a cost and a sacrifice to some of what you envy. Perhaps a cost or sacrifice that you’re not willing to make or that conflicts in some way with your values or goals.
3. Connect with YOUR Purpose
Out of God’s creativity, He has not made any two individuals the same. You are a unique and amazing creature with a specific purpose – one that only you can live out. Comparing yourself to others is like comparing green beans to green apples. Let just say that a green bean pie with ice cream or an apple casserole topped with crunchy onions – not yummy!
When you walk in your purpose it’s more fulfilling than anything else you can do and it will also bless others and make a difference in the Kingdom in fruitful ways.
4. Focus on Obedience
When it comes to life, everyone is at a different place in the race. Of course, you want to run the race like you want to win it, but remember, the starts are staggered, and the routes are all different. Trying to evaluate your success based on where others are on their journey is pointless. The important thing to focus on is whether or not you are being obedient and staying on track on your own race. That obedience is sure to contribute to your success, but success is not the goal, contrary to what the world might lead us to believe. Instead, focus on staying in step with where He is leading!
5. Be Yourself
Envy tempts me to copy you, and you to copy me. When I’m tempted to be more like you, I’m not being authentically me. Instead, I become a cheap imitation of you.
When you are authentic it’s refreshing. It naturally draws people and opportunities your way.
6. Value Others
Admiring the talents and accomplishments of others is powerful. Sharing in their joy – that’s good for you! It’s good for them too. It’s seeing the unique way God has equipped others for their purpose and the celebrating the opportunities He’s blessed them with.
What you bring to the table is different, so is what I bring to the table. Each one of us will be used by God in different ways. You are loved extravagantly by Him and so are they! And there is nothing you can do to gain more of His love.
Envy has a way of making your vision funky, just like my new specs.
To be honest, we all feel the twinge of envy now and then. You and I live in an age when we are sent messages about so-and-so’s promotion via LinkedIn, we can see the happy successes of everyone on Facebook, and based on Twitter everyone is absolutely killing it!
Remember, nobody has it all! Rather than drifting into envy, let that funky feeling motivate you to make the most of who God’s made YOU to be and how He’s blessed you. Be generous with your time, talents, and money. Serving others is transforming.
Even with contacts, I’ve had to get cozy with the idea of wearing reading glasses. My grand-kids know Grammy’s glasses are a prerequisite for reading a story and happily go hunting to find them. I’m just so grateful that I can still see to read them stories…even if I have to wear glasses!
When the green-eyed monster pops up in you, what will you do?
This post has been updated and revised just for you!