This article was originally published on Making Life a Bliss Complete. It has been republished here with permission.
Nobody wants to be accused of being envious, especially when it is true.
I have often battled with this monster, and have often given in. My mind would be submerged in bitterness, inadequacy and irrationality.
It is next to impossible to be true friends with someone whose skills, talents, looks and achievements you envy.
Throughout my young life, my problems have lain mostly with envy of talent, popularity and praise. Growing up, the people I didn't like were the ones most like me — the ones with the same talents and hobbies. I found myself being angry if someone got asked to sing more than me, got more praise than I thought I got for similar achievements, was cast the part I wanted in the school play or got a better grade than me, even though I thought I had worked just as hard.
I sometimes still grapple with this in my adult life. As I have prayed for this weakness to be made a strength, I have received answers of how to wash the green away:
Be patient and understanding
If someone gets something before you, or does better than you at something, that person may have more experience, know the right people, have more time to work on it or have more resources. Perhaps God's will for them is not the same for you, or at least not right now.
Be genuinely happy for others, not jealous of their accomplishments
Most of the time, your friends and peers are not trying to hurt you when they succeed. You should not expect them to halt their dreams or accomplishments for your sake.
The grass isn't greener on the other side
Recognize that even if people seem to have it all (or at least what you want), there are many things they may not have, or are struggling with, that you don't know about. People aren't defined by one facet of their lives, nor do they get their entire fulfillment from one thing.
Wish others well
Remember that life has its ups and downs, and so have you. Maybe you are on the down side of the teeter totter right now, but you will be lifted up again in time. As you hope for your side to go up, never hope that someone else's side goes down. Someone else's fall will not lift you higher, nor will your envy.
Sit down and count your blessings. When all you do is think of what you don't have, you are missing out on the wonder that is your life. You may not have a fancy car, or a perfect relationship, but you have life. You have tremendously more than you even realize.
Trust in God
Pray to God every day and night that He will help you recognize your potential, your worth and your calling in life. Also make an effort to pray for those you envy. Pray that you can see their worth, and how they can play a positive role in your life. Ponder on what really matters in life. God doesn't care how beautiful you look a certain day, how much money you have or how many people know your name. That is what Satan wants you to think. No; the true test is how you learn to love others unconditionally - and overcoming envy will aid in that process.
Instead of ignoring those you envy, sincerely compliment and praise them. Ask for their advice on how to be better, and humbly request an honest opinion of your skills. This vulnerable interaction can help build a rewarding friendship. Also, being kind to and lifting others will make you happier in return.
Appreciate and love who you are
Life isn't meant to be a competition. You should only compare yourself to others to motivate you to be better than youare now, not to be better than someone else is right now. In fact, you may never have exactly what someone else has or do what someone else does, and that is OK. That doesn't mean you are less loved, less blessed or less valued.
Find joy in yourself. Love yourself. You are blessed with many individual gifts and talents. Use them to help others. As you focus on serving with what you do have, you will be blessed with more.
I can say from personal experience that this shade of green is not a good color on anyone. I can also say that freeing yourself of this suffocating weight can make all the difference in how you feel, how you think and how you act every day. You will feel wonderful and free. Take off the green.