Have you ever wondered why the color green is associated with envy? Apparently, green is a color commonly associated with sickness, say from an overproduction of bile that might turn your skin green. In my surface searching, most references trail back to Shakespeare and this line from Othello where lago warns Othello: “Beware, my lord, of jealousy; it is the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on.”
Envy is something we don't talk about very often in most of our circles. It's an inner grumbling and discontent that tends to simmer quietly in our hearts and minds. We may be tempted to compare ourselves to others, but in order to get an inch higher, we have to find a way to cut them down a few pegs. Gossip, Criticism, Resentment, Bitterness are close siblings of Envy.
When I catch myself in the throes of wanting something I don't have, scorning someone else's success and accomplishments, wishing I had their hair, looks, shape, travel itinerary, or even waiting for my ship to come in already...I am learning to step back, adjust my attitude, and refocus on the blessings right under my nose. And I'm learning how to practice the art of admiring others and how they have worked to achieve their dreams and goals.
It seems to me that the antidote to envy is admitting deep gratitude for what we do have.
And second to that is expressing admiration of what others have.
Instead of focusing on myself and what I don't have or dismissing what I do have, I can train myself to stop and take a good look at what is admirable in someone else. It might be their unique gifts, accomplishments, appearance, strength, hard work ethic, or positive attitude.
It's not surprising that most worthwhile things and attributes really take a lot of work to achieve. This is one reason why it is easy to admire these traits in others because we suspect their success came from a hefty investment in time and energy.
Instead of "Gee, I wish I were her size" try "I'm so grateful that I am healthy and can choose to exercise each day. I'm grateful that I have money to purchase lots of fresh fruits and veggies, and that I can set goals to take better care of myself. I really admire how hard she works to maintain her figure. She is inspiring to me. I'll need to ask her next time I see her just how she stays motivated to make healthy choices and exercise."
Instead of "her life / her kids / her husband / [you name it] is perfect" try "Man, I really admire how hard she works at staying on top of her game. I'm so grateful that I have the opportunity to work hard, too. Truth is no one is perfect, and most people struggle even if they appear not to. Perhaps she could use a word of encouragement right now."
Take time to compliment someone, tell them what you admire, ask them their secret, drop a positive and encouraging comment. Write a note of appreciation. Celebrate their victories.
Most things or scenarios that we envy may not be out of our reach. We serve a heavenly Father who promises to take care of us. When we work on His team, there is no scarcity. If we really want something, we may simply need to ask God or make a plan to earn it or achieve it.
Let's look at others to admire what they've managed to do or acquire and then to stand in awe of something so inspiring. After all, it all starts with a grateful heart.
Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude,
by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe;
All content © Victoria D. Walker, 2013-2020.
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