Cohen goes on to say, "Jealousy is really a disguised attack on oneself."
I have never considered myself the jealous type. I would always be happy for the other person when they were able to have a nicer "whatever" than I had. Cohen says we should see the person you're envious of as "a harbinger of good for yourself." He says they are showing us that if they can have something that good, so can we.
|Me - Age 8|
I can see how jealousy is dependent on what you think of yourself. Concerning the party, I was able to give my own party, and even though it wasn't on the same scale, I'd planned it myself and with my mother's help executed it to my 8-year-old self's satisfaction and felt rather good about it. But when I wasn't able to wear a pretty costume in the play or make a fancy-looking project, I felt less of myself and therefore was envious of Sonja's success.
So, it would seem feelings of envy can be a good thing if we use it for good. It can either act as a catalyst to get us moving in the direction of making that same thing happen in our lives--not because the other person has it, but because it's worth having in its own right. Or, it can show us where we need to work on our self-worth. Self acceptance is a large part of that, realizing we do have limitations. Not everyone is gifted with the same abilities.
If, however, we stew in the jealousy and allow it to become resentment it becomes harmful--not only to ourselves, but to our relationships.
Cohen says a good way to think of envy (N.V.) is as New Vision. He says the fact that I can recognize the good others have indicates I'm able to perceive good for myself which is the first step in obtaining it....IF I can reframe my envy as a sign of what I can and will have. Here is my 8-year-old self "reframed"....rather fancy, if I do say so myself.
Father, above all else I want a content heart, but thank you for showing me that desiring more is not always a bad thing if it helps me to grow or enables me to help others.
Link to scripture: Philippians 4:8
Take action: Reframing Thoughts