There are a number of emotions that can creep in and test us. Things like an anger, selfishness, fear, hopelessness, insecurity and arrogance are just a few. One of the most dangerous emotions we can experience is jealousy. Jealousy usually involves personal relationships which makes our response even more critical. The Bible addresses jealousy in Proverbs like this, “Anger is cruel, and wrath is like a flood, but jealousy is even more dangerous.” (Proverbs 27:4 NLT). Jealousy is more dangerous than anger and wrath.
When we are struggling with jealousy, we cannot seem to think about anything else other than the object of that jealousy. Those thoughts consume every idle moment we have. We typically don’t want this to be the case, but can’t seem to find a way out. Here are some helpful suggestions for the times when we find yourself trapped by jealousy.
Know Who You Are
One of the struggles with jealousy is that we are not confident in who we are. We are aware of our own flaws and shortcomings yet only see everyone else’s highlight reel. Comparison is dangerous. Most people are a little too hard on themselves and struggle with overall self confidence. This is not true for everyone, but most people try to avoid being arrogant which will often cause them to avoid confidence. Everyone is a 10 at something. We cannot be like everyone else, but we can live with confidence in the talents and abilities that we already have.
Shift Your Focus
One of the problems with jealousy is that we are often looking at the wrong thing. We focus on what we feel as a slight or a mistreatment when we could be focusing on what good things we have or what good things may be happening. We may be focusing on one small event, conversation or action and not taking the entire picture into account. As the old saying goes, “you can’t see the forest for the trees.”
Improve Who You Are
There may be times when we have a deficiency that is creating the tension that leads to jealousy. We truly may need to step up and raise the bar in our own life. This may be taking a course, practicing our trade or getting assistance from someone who is ahead of us. Personal growth should always be a part of our life, but sometimes it requires intentional focus on a particular area to help us escape the jealousy trap.
Sometimes you have to trust people even when they have not earned it. It is easy to trust those who have earned it, however, those people are usually not the object of our jealousy. How would your situation change or look differently if you gave someone the benefit of the doubt? What if you chose to believe them even when it was difficult? I do not mean we should place ourselves in harm’s way, but we can put trusting others into practice everyday. As we do, trust grows and jealousy wanes.
Selfishness is a sign and usually a precursor to jealousy. We are only thinking about how we feel in a particular situation. Practicing generosity is one of the greatest cures to selfishness and jealousy. One of the best ways to be generous is in our praise of others who are getting what it is we want. Cheering the blessings in other’s lives helps us overcome jealousy as effectively as anything we can do.
We all struggle at times with jealousy. Knowing how to overcome it effectively will allow us to quickly move on and not find ourselves in a situation we regret. Jealousy is dangerous. Don’t allow it to linger.