That Person. Them. Those People.

Ever find yourself wishing that your life could be like his? Am I the only person who does this? Some days I hate going to the gym. Not because I don’t enjoy working out (I really enjoy working out. In fact, I love a challenging workout). The part I hate is looking around at the guys who seemingly do less work than I do, but still, have the results I wish I could have.

Really, I’m the only person who does this? Like you’ve never made a comment about what she did to get that promotion? Busted! I knew you’ve thought that before.

Maybe the day you dreaded is finally over. Or, THAT day happens every 365 days and it’s just another reminder. THAT day you deliver flowers to everyone else. THAT day you hate but wish you didn’t. You want to be celebrated on THAT day too. Why does February 14th happen every year?!

Granted you might put on a smile in an attempt to be happy for everyone else. When I go to the gym, I don’t walk up and spew my jealous thoughts to those guys. I do sometimes secretly wish they would get fat and struggle to lose those pounds. Don’t judge!

It’s not right, but it’s a struggle. How should we handle and deal with jealousy? Is this a battle we just have to keep fighting or is there hope?

Here are my top 3 tips when it comes to combating envy:

Number 1: Don’t label THEM or THAT KIND of people.

For some reason, it’s easier to label people with titles. The problem is that we don’t actually get to know them before we label them as “THOSE people”. I used to work for a company where this guy would go from department to department. Every two years when he reached a new promotion, he would switch to another area. I didn’t really know this guy, but everyone I worked with seemed to know him. They kept saying things about how this guy kissed butt and that’s why he was getting the promotion.

I ended up working with him on a project. I got to know him and found out a little more about him. A few months after that, I transferred from 2nd to 1st shift and ended up working with the same guy. I saw his work ethic, his personality, and his temperament. He was great to work with. His work was quality work. He didn’t make excuses. He simply did his job and did it well. After a few more months, I got to know more about him and his family. He had three girls and a boy. Growing up, his dad worked in the same industry we were in. His father worked 2nd shift on an assembly line. His father wasn’t there for most of his games because he had to work. His dad missed a lot of the extra parts of his life. He loves and respects his dad, but wanted his kids to have a different experience. So, he set out to go from the assembly line to a position that allowed him to work during the day with weekends off. Eventually, that’s exactly what he did.

It’s so easy to assign labels to people without knowing their story or their motivation.

Number 2: Don’t buy into the lie that it couldn’t be you.

I think one of the biggest reasons we become envious is because deep down we don’t believe that it could happen to us. Think about it. Would you turn down a promotion? Wouldn’t you want flowers delivered to you on THAT day? I certainly wouldn’t turn down the 6 pack abs! If you received the outcome you were hoping for, you’d accept it and celebrate it as well.

Growing up without a father figure in my life, I viewed Bill Cosby as my father figure. He was funny, successful, had an attractive wife, great family, a sweet house and was a great dad! I also remember myself as a kid being jealous of Theodore Huxtable. He had the dad I wish I had. Let’s ignore the fact that I was jealous of a fictional character! I was 8 years old at the time.

I recently read a book “To Own a Dragon” by Donald Miller. He explained similar experiences growing up. His insights helped me journey through the reality of growing up without a dad. One of the biggest insights I walked out with was to view God as my father. Once I started living like that, things in my life changed. It’s not like everything I did turn to gold but my mindset changed.

The Bible describes God as a loving father. Parts of the Bible display God lovingly taking care of His children. It also shows God blessing His kids. The Bible also says that Jesus came to give us the best life possible. Aside from blessing our spiritual life, I also believe blessings include money, success, relationship status, etc. God is FOR us, He loves us. He wants us to succeed. Maybe it’s time we start believing that too. God has more for me than I’ll ever understand. No matter how much I think I know how much God loves me, I’m wrong every time. He loves me more than I can imagine. Same is true for you. God has more for me to experience and mature into and is waiting for me to take that next right step.

Heather and I had been married for 2 and a half years when I discovered a check from our wedding. We never cashed it or deposited it. I debated if I should deposit it or not. Ultimately I didn’t. I wasted the potential of the check because I didn’t take my next right step in time. I delayed and in doing so wasted the potential that was given me.

If we spend time wallowing in our sorrows and wishing things would happen to us, we’ll waste the potential given to us.

Number 3. Fake it until you make it.

At the root of jealousy is the reality that you can’t or won’t celebrate the success of other people. You may not believe that God wants you to succeed, get the promotion, have the six-pack abs or have flowers delivered. If you need to, re-read Number 2 above.

In order to fight envy, however, I have found that celebrating other people is crucial in order to find the hope. You can overcome envy. You can experience the desired outcome you’re looking for. So, if you need to fake it, fake it. To genuinely fake it, start with a golf clap if you need to and work your way up to the full-on loud clap and cheer. I have found this has literally loosened the chains of envy that slipped around my heart. Believing that God will transform my heart for others and help me celebrate others is a great start to making it a reality.

Final thought on envy… Envy is something that we believe will help us feel better. In reality, it’s toxic to us. No one else knows that you’re envious. Being envious is kind of like drinking poison hoping that it hurts the other person. Put the poison down and experience freedom! God is for you and He wants you to succeed!

Photo by Kate Trysh on Unsplash

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