My mentor is a highly successful businessman in his late 80’s. He has shared his life changing wisdom with me for many years. One of the greatest lessons was a lesson on envy. He told me “Pamela, you’re truly successful when you can celebrate the success of others as much as you celebrate your own.” I must admit, 15 years ago that went right over my head.
But then another mentor of mine, Jim Rohn, spoke to me daily while I showered. I played his 6 CD set called “The Art of Exceptional Living” on repeat for 2 years. He taught me “If you help enough other people get what they want, you can have everything you want.”
My third mentor was Zig Ziglar. Zig taught me “to get what you want, help others get what they want.”
And you know what … he was right! All 3 of my mentors were right. My focus on self would only hold me back. My jealousy of others would limit my own potential.
It’s our natural tendency to be threatened by the success and happiness of others. Well let me assure you, our God is not limited on blessings. What he gives me does not take from you. My success does not have to come at the cost of yours. Your happiness doesn’t have to suck from mine. We live in an unlimited world controlled by a God with a personal investment in YOU. We’re screwing this thing up on our own.
Proverbs 14:30 “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”
We may be rotting from the inside out and not even realize it. The source of the destruction … envy. A feeling of discontentment because of what someone else has. And I don’t care how sweet and kind you are my darling, seeds of envy and jealousy have been planted in your heart somewhere along the way.
And it may sound like this:
Her husband is so loving and attentive … I sure wish mine was like that.
Her children behave, they don’t draw penis’ on the wall or eat the buggers in public – that must be nice.
She’s on the same diet as somehow she lost 15 pounds this month – what the what … I’m still stuck on the first 3 pounds. That’s so frustrating.
Her life just seems magical … and mine just seems miserable.
You don’t wish her harm, but hey let’s be honest, it wouldn’t be the end of the world if she had a really bad hair day when you were looking top notch for once.
This is all completely normal. We all battle these fleeting thoughts and feelings. AND IT’S ROTTING OUR BONES.
Could envy and jealousy be the root of your anxiety? Could that tinge of jealousy be responsible for your unhappiness? Could those fleeting thoughts of “gosh if she posts one more positive thing on facebook today I’m gonna barf” be a thief of your own joy?
Answer: YES YES and YES.
We all battle it – some more graciously than others. And here’s the big kicker – thoughts of jealousy and envy aren’t always targeted towards “her”. They’re often targeted towards him. Him – your man.
Why does he get to get dressed every day and just walk out the door and leave this mess behind?
Why does he get to have a fulfilling job?
Why does he get to go out to lunch?
Then he comes home and does nothing.
How dare he complain when I ask him to take out the trash.
You may not say it, but if you feel it, it’s rotting your bones. It’s eating away at you from the inside and the result will be a weakness that eventually causes you to snap.
He may not understand why you occasionally lash out over small things like shoes left in the kitchen – you may not understand why you occasionally lash out over these small things. But it’s all a result of a festering frustration that has grown because of a seed of envy or jealousy.
They have it easier than you. They don’t understand your load and they certainly don’t help carry it.
We’re all being offered the seeds of envy and jealousy today. Those seeds often just look like a truth. A dose of reality. But if you take those seeds and you allow them to grow inside of you, they not only ruin relationships, but they take a perfectly good life and make it less than.
Maybe you’ve been feeding and growing that envy and jealousy without even knowing it. But what you do know is it doesn’t feel good inside of you. How do you stop it? You starve it.
Here’s the 2 step plan to starve the seeds of envy:
Is there a particular person or group of people you may be struggling with in this area? Think of him, her, or them right now. Now intentionally do 2 things.
First, pray for them. Pray blessings and favor over them. Yes, the very person you’re a wee bit jealous of. Go ahead and do it.
Second, think of all the areas of your life that you love. What is good and what is right in your world? Get down and wallow around in those things. Let those things cover you. Layer it on thick.
You see when you layer on all that is good and right in your own world, you protect your heart from being infested by envy and jealousy. Some of us have simply left the door to our heart wide open by thinking and talking about the part of our life that we dislike.
It’s natural to complain and whine – but it’s oh so dangerous. You’re inviting ugliness right into your heart and it will grow.
Close those doors. Close them with genuine prayer for that other person – and an intentional focus on all you love about your own life.
My mentors were absolutely correct. I have everything I want in life today and it has come as a result of helping others get what they want. The greatest success I’ve ever experienced is celebrating the success of someone else without feeling threatened or jealous.
Isn’t this what God had in mind when he created each of us and put us on this same planet together? To thrive TOGETHER. To help one another. To live in peace. Yes.