Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Secret Life of Jealousy

"Jealousy is when you count someone else's blessings instead of your own."

I know, I know, it's taboo! I shouldn't say anything. Let's keep pretending jealousy "never" happens. 

As much as we hate to admit it, we've all succumbed to this vice at one point or another in our lives. 

Sometimes you can be jealous and not even realize it. It can be a feeling of “irritation” that your classmate easily got an A on the last Chemistry test when you struggled to barely make a C. It can be getting upset when someone gets a job instead of you, especially when you feel that at the very least, you both should be at the same employment level. (Do I know this one well. You should have seen me in 2012 when I was job-less and God-less; the jealousy was hot!) It can be constantly putting your friend's boyfriend/girlfriend down because "they're not good enough" when in reality it's because you feel a desire to have an intimate relationship of your own with someone.

It can be watching your neighbor riding around in a new car while you're in your '92 Volkswagen insulting them for "wasting money." (You know you’d like to “waste money” like that too.) It can be talking negatively about one of your friends to others because she's "shallow and self-serving" when in reality your anger is that she's always the one getting complimented on her looks when you're out together. All these examples are a form of jealousy.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret, lovelies.

 Jealousy is a byproduct of fear.
You’re not actually jealous because she looks prettier or has more money or is more intelligent or has more Chanel purses than you. You’re jealousy is about what those things symbolize to the people in the world around you – society, community, family, friends, etc. You feel jealous because you are afraid that something someone else has or gets will make them more special in the eyes of others and consequently, make you less special in the eyes of others. FYI, there’s a good chance you’re right.

There are people who will consider what someone has better than what you have and value them more than they value you. What you fail to accept is that they have the right to. Each person gets to choose how they see others and how they value others. Whether right or wrong, it’s their prerogative. The real problem for you isn’t that they will compare you to others, the problem is that you care entirely too much about the opinions of other people. The problem is you’re allowing jealousy to freely rent space in your life. No, no, no. That won’t do. It’s time you understand exactly how costly jealousy can be. You see,

Jealousy is a spiritual disease with the sole intention of distracting you.

Distracting you from what?

God, your God-given purpose, peace, generosity, prosperity, enjoying your great life.

By doing what?

Making you upset that someone else is smarter or skinnier or prettier or funnier or richer or more praised/adored by others than you.

If you continuously indulge your jealous thoughts/feelings, believe it will destroy your life. It will spread like cancer in your bones and block good experiences from heading your way. (Do you remember what happened with King David, Uriah, and Bathsheba in the Bible? Do you remember Abraham's wife Sarai kicking out their servant Hagar from their home thanks to jealousy? Have you watched the movie Ghost?) Jealousy is not your friend. It will slowly rid you of joy for your Godly portion and hand you stress, discontentment, and misery instead. It is deceitfully seductive and dangerously destructive.

The good news: You can overcome jealous thoughts/feelings every time they come your way.

You want to know how?

Start living for an audience of ONE. Hint: It’s not you; it’s God. In the Bible God says, “Before you were in your mother’s womb, I knew you.” Do you understand what this means? It means that God thought of you, approved you, and allowed your parents to conceive you. It means that God knew exactly what you would look like, sound like, talk like, walk like, see like, think like, mess up like, succeed like, love like, and He still found you special and important enough to be born. Wow! Let this truth sink into your heart. He could have stopped your birth (your conception even!) but he didn’t. You matter to Him. You are important to him. You are purposed by and for Him.

What someone else has cannot reduce or take away your significance in God’s eyes.

When you are feeling jealous it simply means you have forgotten who you are and whose you are. Once you realize what you mean to your Father who created you, you will always know how to combat the jealous thoughts and feelings that come your way (and yes, they will try to infiltrate your heart more than once or twice).

Don't worry about what the other person has or does not have; that does not affect what you will or won't have. If you work diligently, stay grateful, and serve others you will always be blessed with more to be thankful for. Make it a habit to remember your worth in God when you are feeling “less than” or “not good enough” and you will find it easier to kick jealousy (and the bondage it tries to bring) to the curb. Because honestly, in the words of Sweetie Brown,

"Ain't nobody got time for that!"
What are your thoughts on this, lovelies? Have you ever felt overcome and overrun by jealousy? Have you been the object of jealousy for someone else you know? Do you feel people don't talk enough about jealousy and it's effects? Leave a comment below:)

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  1. Jealousy is a very touchy subject for me. I know I can be very jealous of other woman, and it's for those reasons you mentioned. I'm guilty of, at times, fearing being less beautiful, funny or smart than another woman in the eyes of my husband - and that's something I have to work on because he gives me no reason to feel that way. I've found myself being jealous over the clothes they wear, the education they have, their income etc... But then I look at all the things I have, like a loving husband, a mortgage and a vehicle, and I realize I could be the root of jealousy for someone else and I don't want to be.
    It's something I knew I always had to work on, it's something I don't like about myself. Your post has given be lots to think about... Thanks!

    1. You're welcome, Rachel. And thank you for your honesty! It is not easy to talk about this topic even though I have no doubt that it is a worldwide epidemic. I know jealousy well and the more I learn about it, the more I see that it is encouraged in all the subtle and not-so-subtle forms of competition created for us through entertainment, social media, societal standards, and in our close communities - it's consistently about showing off what you've got over someone else.

      When it comes to your marriage, I recommend that you remind yourself daily (and throughout the day) that you do not need to be the most beautiful or the funniest or the smartest to receive your husband's love. There is no one that will ever be perfect - even though some might "look" or pretend to be - and nothing anyone else can reduce the beauty of who you are unless you allow it. Continue enjoying and growing in deep love for and with your hubby:)

      And like you, as I've became conscious of how toxic jealousy really is, I don't want to contribute to being the root of jealousy for someone else. I think the best we can do is to live our lives as humbly as possible - not to hide our lives but to always be mindful of whether we share good news (or post a Twitter pic) to offer others an opportunity to enjoy with us in what we are truly grateful for or if it's just to hear them praise us and flatter our own egos. Jealousy is not in anyone's best interest and trust me, you're not the only one working on it:)

  2. This is a compelling post :-) Jealousy is something that can eat away at you ten to the dozen. I think in the society we live in it's very easy to feel envious of others..someone who "appears" to be better than one-self. It's so ridiculous but so true. I often find myself looking at others and putting myself down and then thinking, "hang on, I'm not a failure, I'm doing ok" We do need that faith!
    Life inside the Locket

    1. Thank you for commenting, Lucy! It is definitely easy to feel jealous because our society promotes it through various competitive means. I love that you counter such negative thoughts with positive ones and reaffirm your self-worth to yourself. I believe that is the way to keep winning over jealousy and that can only happen when we are rooted in our significance and purpose in God and not the opinions of other people.

  3. Wow thank you for tackling a subject many writers tend to shy away from. Jealousy is something everyone especially females have to deal from time to time and unfortunately no one is immune to it. Not even the prettiest woman (whoever that is). What has helped me overcome jealousy is guarding my heart diligently and challenging those thoughts with the word of God as soon as raise their ugly heads. You cannot control the thoughts that cross your mind, but have control over what you do with them; u either embrace or fight them. When those thoughts come, i use it as cue for me to look back over the numerous blessing in my life. Also, another principle I adopted in my fight against jealousy is understanding that the blessings that the other person has came from God and who am I to question God. God can bless anyone as he wishes. Be grateful and appreciative of the blessings you have. I think extra caution should taken by those of us who frequent Facebook or other media outlets where we are constantly bombarded by pictures and posts reminding you how great everybody else seems to doing. If were are not careful, you will subconsciously start comparing yourself and undervaluing what God is doing in your life. I can go on and on about this because i know the feeling too well. I pray that God will continue to help us in our attempts to do the right thing.

    1. No problem! The uncomfortable topics need to be addressed in discussions too. I love what you said about guarding your heart and challenging those thoughts with the word of God - I 100% find that to be effective.

      And like you said about Facebook, caution is key. We have to be aware of the potentially negative effects of body-watching on social media and offline too.

      Thank you for commenting:)