You are probably wondering…why the hell did Samantha decide to write a blog post on jealousy? And I have to admit…I am not quite sure. I can’t say I’ve been feeling particularly jealous of anything or anyone as of late. However I have heard a lot of comments in day-to-day life like, “ugh, Pinterest just makes me feel bad about my messy unkept house” or…”that couple seems to have it all together, my marriage is nothing like that” or….”why can’t my butt look like that in shorts? I need to lose weight.” (ok, I confess…maybe I was the one that said the last one). I guess the reason I am choosing to write about jealousy is because it is a real life topic, a real life struggle and a real life thing that I think we don’t like talking about. I am not a perfect woman…so feelings of jealousy – yes! I too have felt them…and too many times to count. Personally, I’ve learned to address the ugliness within myself and work on it from a biblical perspective, it is just what has worked for me. My faith is important to me…it is a huge part of who I’ve become and want to ultimately be. I am not claiming to know it all, but here is a little bit about how I try to combat jealousy and what I’ve learned over the years.
What I’ve learned about jealousy.
Jealousy. It is one of those words when said out loud makes my skin crawl just a little bit. I think because it sheds light on the cold hard truth that I have been guilty of feeling jealous many times in my life. And since I am an average girl with an average life I figured others probably deal with this too. One of the hardest things I’ve learned to do is lay claim to my flaws and the areas I need to work on and mature in. It isn’t easy to identify the ugliness we all hold within and it is even more hard to identify it and then work on fixing it. I can’t say that I have a hard steadfast relationship with jealousy…but, it has been something I’ve dealt with on occasion and continue to battle. Because, it doesn’t just go away forever…it always pops up from time to time. The question is…do you tell it to go away and learn how to deal with it? Or do you let it fester and take up residence within?
Jealousy is something we are all capable of feeling and probably have all felt at some point in our lives. Jealousy robs us of our happiness. It forces us to look at the imperfections in our lives and magnify them to a level that is emotionally destructive…and sometimes even physically destructive. Jealousy creates a barrier between living life to the fullest and enjoying the here and now. Jealousy says “you aren’t good enough”. Jealousy turns the heart to stone. Jealousy exposes our ugly. The scary thing about jealousy is that the more we ignore our jealous tendencies the sneakier and more cunning it becomes. It is like a virus that continues to manifest itself within…except there isn’t a direct antibiotic or ointment that can block it from holding fast to our soul. After a while of ignoring our jealousy we become numb and immune to it. It becomes part of us. It controls the way we respond to our environment and those around us. And then one day we realize it has grown to a point that things that we say and do become a reflection of that jealousy and we become resentful, spiteful, hurting individuals. We end up needing a lot more grace than we ever realized.
Now that we’ve named jealousy for what it is and can admit we feel uncomfortable knowing we’ve been jealous at different moments in our life it is time to put action steps in place to stop it in its tracks before it thinks it can hang around.
Nobody MAKES You Jealous
First and foremost…I am a firm believer that nobody makes you jealous. You are the owner of your feelings. Unfortunately, yes, there are a lot of things out there such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest…etc…that place in front of you more of the things that might heighten jealous feelings. But nobody makes you jealous.
Don’t Ignore It.
Don’t ignore your jealousy. It is natural to feel jealous from time to time. It is a natural human emotion that our society has capitalized on in a sense of materialism. The media, marketing, advertising…is geared almost completely at making you want what you don’t have…in other words…they are good at triggering jealous feelings. We have been wired since we were old enough to conceptualize life in terms of “They have this or that…and I don’t.”
Jealousy in Sheep’s Clothing… It Isn’t Always Obvious
Jealousy isn’t pretty but it isn’t always obvious either. Jealousy can’t be identified in levels of severity and it often is felt in the smallest of ways for the silliest reasons. A lot of times we tend to brush the “little things” we feel jealous about under the rug. We ignore that something made us feel jealous because we don’t like the way it makes us feel. But this is where it starts…and this is where we need to meet jealousy head on and kick its ass back to where it came from.
Jealousy Is the “Bad Guy”
Feelings of jealousy are natural. But holding on to those feelings and letting it affect our mind and heart is not healthy. It is important to look at jealousy as “the bad guy”. A serious battle between good and evil. A battle that rages on around us on a day-t0-day basis. Identifying it as you against “IT” will remind you that you are not your thoughts. Our envy stems from an imperfect world and earth where forgiveness and grace is needed.
Your Not a Bad Person Because You Feel Jealous
I can be my worst critic at times. One thing I had to come to terms with was realizing that just because I felt jealous from time-to-time didn’t mean that I was a bad person…it simply meant that I was an imperfect being who needs forgiveness and grace. I had to learn to be patient with myself and give myself room to slip up and gather myself back together and try again. I had to acknowledge that it was my responsibility to find out how to healthily combat jealousy and not expect others to change or do things differently to cater to my feelings.
Why Do I Feel Jealous?
One thing I’ve learned is that when I feel jealous I internally recognize it and pray/meditate about the why. Why do I feel jealous? What part of me isn’t satisfied with what I have? Why am I not grateful for all that I do have?
There once was a time that I could go days and days without stopping and reminding myself how extremely grateful I am for what I DO have. At the end of those days I often ended up feeling really negative and jealous of others around me. When I finally noticed a correlation and connection between the two I decided it was time to change and focus on all of my blessings. Sometimes life can be disappointing and it is difficult to feel grateful. But as we know feelings are fleeting. So combat feelings of jealousy by reminding yourself about all there is to be grateful for. Even if you don’t feel like being grateful in that moment.
Proverbs 13:30 “A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.”
Psalm 30:12 “Oh Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever.”
What do you think? How do you combat feelings of jealousy? Any tips you can add to the list?