Handling Jealousy and Envy

when we want what others have

when we want what others have

If you look at my page on Rejection Issues, you’ll see that one of the symptoms is jealousy and envy. In the past, I would admit to some jealousy and envy on my part of other people, because they got the breaks, and I didn’t. It seemed like others always got the breaks, while I languished in Rejectionville, always chosen last or not at all.

As I matured, in faith and in emotional health, I tried hard to eradicate jealousy and envy from my life and my thinking. I was successful for a little while.

Let’s look at the definitions first.

Jealous – very watchful or careful in guarding or keeping, resentfully suspicious of a rival or their influence, resentfully envious, requiring exclusive loyalty

Envy – hatred or ill will, feeling of discontent because of another’s advantages or possessions, resentful dislike of another who has something one desires, desire for some advantage or a quality that another has.

I was recently reminded that I was again falling prey to one of these two. I discovered it was envy. I had to be hard on myself because even though I didn’t want to take away the opportunity this young woman has, I still wished for one of my own.

It seems to hit those with rejection issues even harder because of our intense longing to belong, to be accepted, to be successful, and to feel justified in our existence.

But envy is just plain wrong. About thirteen years ago, a young woman felt free enough around me to tell me she’d been jealous of me. I thought what? Me? This girl had no idea. We were in a bible school together, and I had studied and gotten good grades. She probably studied harder than I did, but didn’t get really good grades, and for that, she was jealous of me.

I believe I handled it pretty well. I immediately felt compassion and expressed it to her. I said, “Oh my, I’m sorry. I may make life look easy on the surface, but I’ve had my troubles, too.” My mother had been ill most of that semester with one thing or another. It was a very hard time for me. The young woman and I worked it out, and she understood there can be more than meets the eye to a person’s life.

I think we misuse the terms, which is why I used the Webster’s New World Dictionary to explain what they really mean. We use the word jealous, when we actually mean envious. When we want what the other person has, that’s envy.

A flyer for a writer’s conference came in the mail about two to three weeks ago. In it, I saw someone I knew was going to be giving a presentation. She’s the daughter of a friend I haven’t seen in some time. I was livid. It seemed to me that it wasn’t fair that she gets an opportunity when she’s young enough to be my daughter. Why don’t I get any? Because I don’t…get any opportunities, and haven’t for so long I can’t even remember the last time I got one. Now, I don’t even have any kind of presentation ready, so why would I think I’d get an opportunity?

It is envy, pure and simple, which I believe God began to really deal with me about it. I did ask forgiveness from God, because I knew I was wrong and I felt remorseful that I had felt that way at all.

So, I’ve decided to bless her. I’m only going to one writer’s conference away from home this year, and it’s not the one she will be presenting a workshop at.

The main thing we have to do when we recognize jealousy or envy in ourselves is to: release it. We must not hold on to it, because they’re killers. Maybe I’ll get into it sometime about what they kill, but that’s another post.

For today, it’s simply, release and be free!

What about you? Have you been jealous or envious of someone? What did you do about it? Leave a comment and let me know.

2 Comments on “Handling Jealousy and Envy”

  1. Thanks for sharing, Donna! Excellent post! Most of us deal with these emotions from time to time. Sometimes the best thing we can do besides releasing the negative emotions is to place ourselves in different circumstances…start hanging out with different people, start a new hobby, start attending a different church, volunteer for a ministry where help is desperately needed, etc. Love you, Donna!


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