No one ever wants to admit they get jealous. Yet, jealousy is one of the common strains in human relationships. There are many ways to define jealousy; envious, covetous, resentful, insecure, begrudging, the list of synonyms goes on. Today, I’m going to talk about jealousy in the form of envy.
In my post last week, 50 Random Facts About Me, one of the questions I answered was “Do you get jealous?” My initial response was, no. But I didn’t feel like that answer would set anyone free from the stigmas surrounding jealousy. Feeling jealous isn’t fun. And when we feel like we’re the only one who experiences this emotion, it makes it all the more difficult to defeat the green-eyed monster.
We all experience jealousy at one point or another. But if we never admit to it, how do we defeat something that we’re in denial even exists? Better yet, how do we help others who struggle with this “not so fun” emotion?
So, instead of answering no, I had this to say in my last post:
“Yes [I get jealous]. But I don’t stay jealous for long. I’ve learned strategies to conquer the green-eyed monster whenever it threatens to steal my joy. Perhaps I’ll write a future post about it.”
Well, the time is now to write that post! Today, I will raise my hand and say, “Yes, jealousy can be a struggle for me if I don’t check it at the door.” It’s not an everyday thing, but when it does happen, it can take anywhere from a couple seconds to a couple days to heal from it—maybe more depending on where I am spiritually. The great news is, the more I overcome jealousy, the less power it has over me.
Here are some methods I’ve put into practice that helped me put jealousy to rest.
1. I wanted to change.
And I wanted it badly. I hated “hating on” other people. It hurt. I can’t quite pinpoint when this desire emerged, perhaps my mid-twenties, but I can say it’s been a passion of mine ever since. Jealousy was a disease that I wanted no part of. It was debilitating. That’s why I’m writing this post; in hope that someone will take the necessary steps to be freed and healed from this dangerous emotion. But, you must want to change, first.
2. I realized jealousy has a root.
That root is fear. It helps to know this because I could then ask myself questions like, “Nike, what is it about this person’s accomplishments that you fear?” The answer? In my younger years, I feared that someone else’s accomplishments, beauty, spirituality, possessions, etc., diminished my own. In other words, I allowed myself to feel small in the presence of another person’s greatness—to fear that I’m not enough.
3. I admitted I was Jealous.
Everyone knows that admitting the problem is the first step to recovery. I used to mask my jealousy by putting it off on the other person. I would say things like, “That person is soooo braggadocious” (yes, I used words like “braggadocious,” haha) or, “That person thinks they’re so much better than everyone.” But when I closely examined the thought-process behind my words, I realized my assumptions were rooted in jealousy. It wasn’t until I admitted this ugly truth about myself that I could begin the healing process.
4. I made a choice.
Once I became honest with myself, I had a decision to make; I could continue to poison myself with jealousy by holding on to it, or, I could free myself and let it go. The ball was in MY court. I didn’t have to entertain jealousy. I didn’t have to STAY jealous. I could let it go. So, I did. It wasn’t always easy and still isn’t, but each time it gets easier.
5. I filled myself with good things.
What you’re full of eventually spills out of you. I’m a Believer, so I like to fill myself with scripture, focusing on this particular verse:
The power of thoughts is not some new-age concept, this notion existed since the beginning of time. The more I meditate on good things, the less room I have for negativity. Think about it; is it easy to pour liquid into a full glass of water? In the same way, it’s not easy to pour jealousy into a full spirit.
6. I recognized jealousy is a seed.
Once you entertain it, once you nurture it, it just keeps growing until it can no longer be contained. Remember when I said, “What you’re full of eventually spills out of you?” Trust me, you may think you’re hiding your jealousy well, but it WILL come out. When it does, it will reflect poorly on your character. It happened to me. That’s a story for another day. But I’ve learned what’s done in darkness is always brought into the light. It may seem like “just a thought,” but any thought, when meditated on long enough, has the potential to be carried out into action.
7. I became more productive.
I asked myself, “What are you doing with your disposable time?” Am I idly scrolling through social media? Am I binge-watching Netflix? Am I entertaining gossipy conversations? These things are not only breeding grounds for jealousy, they are thieves of time! Have you ever heard of this saying?:
I’ve found that being productive is a great way for me to mind my own business. When I’m minding my own business, I have no time to invite jealousy by seeing what she’s up to. There’s no time for me to meditate on the things I don’t have by watching shows where people are glamorous and live glamorous lives. And, there’s no time to entertain conversations that start off with, “Girl, you’ll never believe what so and so did.”
8. I monitored my self-talk.
Self-esteem is measured by the way we think and feel about ourselves. I used to think of myself as a confident person, but I became amazed at the things I told myself when I wasn’t paying attention. A devotional by Barb Roose, titled Beautiful Already, was what inspired me to REALLY listen to the lies I told myself about myself. Even today, I must still take heed and pay attention, lest I subconsciously fall into negative thought-patterns. Why is this important? Because when we don’t feel good about ourselves, we project those insecurities onto others. In other words, we become jealous of other people’s confidence and seek to tear them down. After all, misery loves company.
9. I realized God doesn’t owe me anything.
Ah, entitlement. That dangerous feeling we get when we feel like God, or the world, owes us something. It seeps out whenever we see someone we view as “less deserving” receive something we want. A husband. A new car. A raise. Fame. Status. I can attest that it doesn’t feel good when you have to watch someone receive all the things you’ve been hoping for. But I’ve come to learn that God doesn’t owe me anything. It’s a tough truth to grasp, but we must all take hold of it, nonetheless. The sooner we do, the less hold jealousy will have over us. I can’t tell you how many times I must remind myself of this truth to this day. But when it sinks in, my inner peace is established.
10. I practiced contentment.
I’ll let you in on a little secret; if you don’t practice contentment, you will always want MORE. Why do we want more? Because we develop a habit of fixing our eyes on things other people have that we don’t have—envy. I remember it clearly. I was discontent with the way things were going, sitting on my couch moping around. Then I had a vision:
I was sitting on an expensive couch, but in a huge mansion filled with beautiful things. Yet, I wasn’t happy. I was still dissatisfied. Still moping around. I could feel myself getting frustrated, asking myself, “Girl, why are you so dissatisfied when you live in this huge mansion?” It was then that this truth sank in: If you’re not happy with the little things, you won’t be happy with the big things.
11. I realized I needed help.
God’s help. I’ll always lose if I try to battle jealousy in and of my own strength. Trust me, there was a time when I tried and failed. No. My strength must come from God, and it begins with repentance—confessing my jealousy to God and seeking his strength to overcome it.
12. I worked toward REAL confidence.
When we place our confidence in how much we have, how much we’re adored, how good-looking we are, how talented we are, how famous we are, how educated we are, and how many titles we earn, we set ourselves up for failure. Real confidence does not come from any of these things—it comes from trusting in Who’s in your corner.
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.” (Jeremiah 17:7)
When we take hold of true confidence, we experience true fulfillment. Isn’t that what we’re all striving for, anyway? Isn’t that why we run after material things? Status? Relationships? Power? To feel a sense of fulfillment? To fill a void? Isn’t that why we become jealous of others? Because their life seems more “fulfilled” than ours? Consider this verse from James 4:1-3:
I don’t quite know how to end this post. But what I want to say is that no one is exempt from the temptation of jealousy. We can, however, choose whether we give in to that temptation. These are some of the steps I took, and still take, in order to stand firm against jealousy. I cannot take credit. All credit goes to God the Father, who is a wise and patient teacher.
If jealousy is something you struggle with, pray this prayer with all your heart, mind, body, and soul:
Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for my jealous ways, and direct me toward the ways of the Lord. I thank you, Lord, that you are a patient God who is slow to anger and abundant in love. I praise you for your mercy that is new every morning. Reveal to me all the seeds planted in me that gave root to my jealousy, so that I may be steadfast and alert of the enemy’s schemes. Help me to renew my mind daily, dear God, to reflect more of your truth. I praise you in advance for giving me everything I need to live a godly life that is pleasing to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
God bless you! Have any tips to add? Don’t be shy! Let us know in the comments.