"For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead..." Romans 1:20

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Envy

"Envy is the art of counting the other fellow's blessings instead of your own." --Alan Cohen

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 remember in third grade, when I was eight, wishing I could give a party for the whole class like Sonja did for Halloween that year, so I asked my mother if I could have an Easter party.  She agreed to a few friends, but not the whole class.  I remember feeling very pleased with how it turned out.  But, I also remember that Sonja got the lead of Cinderella in the school play that year.  I didn't do too badly because I was chosen as one of the girls who would attend the Ball.....until my mother became ill and couldn't make my costume which meant I had to be one of the serving girls, instead, and wear an apron.  Perhaps that WAS jealousy I felt.  And then for our social studies project her sugar cube igloo won first prize while my Sahara desert tent made from my Dad's old flannel pajama material was rather simple and plain and took no prize.  I KNOW that was jealousy I felt.  I remember thinking bad thoughts about her and may have even complained that she had to have had help from her mother to build it. 

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


2 comments:

  1. I enjoyed reading your experiences from so long ago. I don't remember ever hearing these, but it is a wonderful focus on jealousy. I think we all have had times like that, even now. Thank you for the reminder so that I can avoid feelings like jealousy. I love your framed picture when you were 8 years old, especially your pose!

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