Are you an envious person? If your answer was a quick “no”, was it true?
Did you really stop to think about your attitudes and behaviors toward others? And I don’t just mean strangers, I mean family and those you call friends.
Is it possible that you said no because of the negative connotations that envy has? Or because you don’t want anyone to think less of you? Or maybe because you’re a Christian and envy is just not Christ-like? Or perhaps because you seriously think that you don’t have an envious bone in your body and never have.
You could be right. But let’s do a little envy check, just to be sure.
Are you a social media stalker? Do you view others pages to see what they’re up to and never post responses to their good news, or any news at all?
Or better yet, are you not on social media because you can’t stand to even look at others’ good news and celebrations? Do you constantly think, “Her life can’t be that good,” or “He’s such a show-off?”
Do you congratulate your neighbors on their new car or upgrades to their home, or do you go out and buy something to outdo them? More holiday lights, a deck, landscaping?
Did you congratulate your “friend” on losing 30 pounds, because it would be noticeable if you didn’t, but secretly loathe her inside?
Do you show up for friends’ or family celebrations and whisper negative comments about every detail, like “This color scheme is horrible and so is the food,” all while smiling in their faces?
Have you shown up at events just to see how they turned out, secretly hoping they’d be a flop? Or done something to help them fail?
Do you hold grudges against family members who are more successful than you? Are you overly critical of them, constantly looking for fault in their lives or in their actions? Or do you consider them selfish because they don’t spend money on what YOU think their money should be spent on?
Are you envious of friends who have more friends than you do? Or bothered when your best friend makes new friends?
Do you complain the entire week your co-worker goes on vacation because he’s gone someplace you long to go? And were you really happy for him when he got that promotion?
These questions may sound immature to you, but guess what? Envy is not just for kids anymore. It’s everywhere and it’s ugly. It’s contagious and no one is immune to it. You are probably the object of someone’s envy, right now, and don’t even know it. And it may be someone close to you.
When a person is envious of another, it’s fairly easy to detect. It’s evident in the words they speak, the sighs they breathe and the eyes they roll. Their language is criticism and their attitude is contempt. The odor of envy exudes from their pores and fills the air with its foul stench. And its color is a horrid green.
And sometimes it sneaks up on you when you least expect it. Like when you, in your ninth bridesmaid gown, watch the last of your single friends come down the aisle to meet her groom and your heart screams “This should’ve been my turn.”
When we’re envious, we’re quick to point out what’s wrong with the object of our envy. We’re anxious to tear them down. We want to make their advantages, promotions, blessings or success look small. And we do that because we feel small. We feel less significant, less pretty, less powerful, less important. We make it look like they are the problem when in fact, WE have a problem. It is us that is making us feel this way; our lack, our longing and our loathing. And we’re usually very uninformed, to boot.
We don’t know that John got that new car because it belonged to his sister who just died. And we don’t know that Susan lost 30 pounds because she has cancer. We assume that the good times of others means that they don’t ever have bad times.
We’re so busy being unhappy about our own lives or trying to keep up with the Joneses that we behave as if the good things happening to others are some sort of an affront toward us. As if their good fortune has anything to do with the state of our lives. A state which we have contributed to, through choices good and bad.
Many people who are walking in envy don’t realize it. They don’t hear it when they open their mouth to put someone else down. But you might. So, when you recognize it and it’s safe to do so, call it out, with love. It will be an awkward conversation, because no one likes to hear that they might have an issue with envy, but it will be freeing for those who acknowledge and deal with it.
And if you’re finding that the envious person in your life, is you, I encourage you to rejoice when others do well; to be a supporter and not a hater. Speak and think positively and positivity will be your reward. Be happy when others receive what was meant for them and look forward to the blessings in your future. You weren’t meant to live someone else’s life. God has a great and distinct plan for all of us and what God has for you, is for you. So, be your best self and live YOUR best life!
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