There are numerous Bible verses that instruct us not to be jealous.
Proverbs 14:30 says this: “A sound heart [is] the life of the flesh, but envy the rottenness of the bones.”
Yikes! This is just one of many examples that can be found throughout the Bible.
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We all know that we shouldn’t be jealous, but that doesn’t stop us. We’re only human.
We need to learn how to actually stop being jealous of other people.
There are many articles out there on this very subject, but most of them just scratch the surface.
The tips usually include things like: practicing gratitude, limiting the amount of time you spend on social media, and reminding yourself that you only see everyone else’s highlight reel on Facebook and Instagram.
These tips, albeit somewhat helpful, ignore the root causes of jealousy. What makes us feel envious?
I recommend that you take a deep look inward to discover why exactly you’re feeling jealous of another person. If you understand why you’re feeling the way you feel, it’ll be much easier to change it.
I believe these are the three main reasons why we feel jealous of other people:
- It’s human nature to compare ourselves to others.
- We aren’t content in our own lives.
- Someone else has something that we believe we will never have.
The Instinct of Comparison
It’s in our nature to compare ourselves to others. As humans, we often learn by imitating other people.
This isn’t a bad thing and comparison can actually be a useful too.
Comparison can actually be a useful tool.
When we see someone else lose weight, pay off debt, or achieve some other amazing goal, it may inspire us to do the same.
But there is a dark side to comparison.
As my pastor once said “Comparison ends badly. Either you compare yourself to someone else and come out ahead, which makes you feel superior and judgmental…or you compare yourself and fall short, which makes you feel envious.
Neither option puts you in the position to be loving or compassionate toward someone else.”
Discontent in Our Own Lives
When we feel jealous of others, this often points to discontentment with our own lives.
A genuinely happy and gratitude-filled person isn’t thinking about what everyone else has.
She’s thinking about the many blessings in her own life.
You Have Something I Can’t Have
Jealousy is an emotion that stems from a belief that you have something I CAN’T get. If I see you pay off your mortgage early and I believe I can do this too, I feel inspired and motivated.
If I think it’s impossible for me to get out of debt and that I’ll be broke for the rest of my life, I probably feel jealous of your financial wins.
The solution in this situation is not to stop scrolling through Facebook to avoid seeing the awesome things my friends are doing.
The actual solution here is to change my thoughts…because it is my thoughts that are causing my emotions.
What if I believed I could change my financial situation? This big of a mindset shift won’t happen overnight.
I once believed I would be trapped in debt forever. I thought debt was normal and I couldn’t see a way out.
After reading Dave Ramsey’s book, The Total Money Makeover, I started to think about money differently.
Over the next few years, my thoughts about money changed drastically and now I’m 100% debt-free aside from my mortgage.
If you’ve held a particular belief for years, it’ll take time to change that. Start with a neutral thought like “a lot of other people have paid off large amounts of debt” or “I think it’s possible that I could someday pay off my debt.”
Eventually, you might be able to believe a more positive thought like “I am confident that I can pay off my mortgage in 8 years.”
In this example, I have the power to obtain something that my friend has (being mortgage free).
But what if I’m in a situation where it’s simply impossible for me to get what my friend has?
Let’s say I have a friend who can eat whatever she wants and never goes to the gym…but she still looks amazing.
That will never happen for me. I can’t change my metabolism. If I want to be thin, I need to exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet.
In this situation, instead of feeling jealous of my friend, I could decide that I don’t actually want to eat anything I want without gaining weight. While someone might be able to eat a terrible diet and still look great, they may not feel as good as they look.
When I eat junk food all the time, I feel awful. I might get headaches or stomach pain, and I just feel tired and lethargic. Eating a good diet, on the other hand, makes me feel energized and healthy.
Also, there is a concept called “skinny fat” – this means that someone who looks thin on the outside may not actually be as healthy as they look. Their diet and exercise habits might actually be having an impact on their health – even though it isn’t obvious to other people.
The point is that there is no need for me to feel jealous of my thin friend who eats whatever she wants. When I think about what I actually want in my own life, I don’t want to eat junk food all the time. Instead, I want to take care of my health.
To recap, if you’re feeling jealous of someone else, it’s likely because you are thinking that person has something that you CAN’T get. There are a couple of ways to deal with this:
- Decide that you can get the thing that you want.
- Decide that you don’t actually want the thing.
Our circumstances (and the circumstances of others) do not create our emotions. You don’t feel jealous because your friend bought a gorgeous house or landed an awesome job.
You feel envy because of the sentences in your mind.
If you’re tired of feeling jealous of other people, ask yourself this: what am I thinking that is causing me to feel jealous? What could I try thinking instead?
What would be a more useful thought?
Comparison doesn’t have to be a negative thing. It is simply a tool, and it can be used in a positive way.
Let’s use comparison to get inspired to achieve whatever it is that we most desire.
Instead of being jealous of what other people have, let’s decide that we will create the lives we want…
and let’s cheer each other on as we do exactly that.