By Liz Lampkin, Crosswalk.com
Friends are people who are placed in our lives as extended family. They are with us through trials and tribulations. They're there for fun times, to extend advice. A friend is someone you can be your authentic self with. They are someone you can trust and someone who trusts you. They provide companionship to help avoid loneliness. Friends wear many hats and play many roles. So it would seem preposterous to envy their good fortune, right? Well, unfortunately, this happens more often than not. Sometimes it's a conscious thing done for different reasons. Other times it's done subconsciously. Whether we want to admit it or not, we've all glared at a friend with the green-eyed monster for something, knowing that we shouldn't have. When anything good occurs in a friend's life, it should be celebrated by other friends with a pure heart and a clear mind. If you find yourself struggling with being envious of a friend's prosperity, look at the list below to discover simple ways to replace envy with joy.
Photo credit: ©Youngoldman
1. Stop Comparing Yourself to Your Friends
Comparison is a part of human nature. Everyone has measured an aspect of their lives to something or someone. Looks, finances, relationships. Comparison is something that comes naturally to people, consciously or unconsciously. While it can be seen as a tool for improvement, it can also be a hindrance if it is used from an envious point of view. If you find yourself measuring yourself against a friend with a jealous lens, take a moment and ask yourself why. If you don't know what to ask yourself, begin with these questions:
-Why do I have these jealous feelings?
-Do I secretly desire what my friend has?
-Am I feeling envious because I believe I deserve what my friend has gained?
-Am I jealous because I think my friend's good fortune will overshadow me?
As you ask yourself these questions, respond honestly. After you've responded, reflect on your feelings and take personal steps to move beyond them.
2. Learn to Have Different Desires
As friends, you will have things in common. It's what anchors your relationship. However, if you find that you have the same desires, but they haven't been met at the same time, then maybe some things need to change. The good thing about friends is that while you will have things in common, you'll also have differences. While you may desire the same types of things, many of them will look different. But, if there are identical desires, you may consider adjusting what you want or learning to live peacefully with the similarities.
3. Check Your Levels of Peace and Joy
Many times we become green-eyed because we are unhappy and experiencing inner turmoil. These feelings can be caused by any situation you are anticipating, going through, or coming out of. When this happens, you act negatively towards yourself. You doubt yourself, and in a sense, you become unstable and unsettled within. When your inner peace and joy are disrupted, not only do you act negatively towards yourself, but you act cynically towards others and the world around you. If you find yourself in an unpeaceful space, take some time for yourself to regain your peace and joy. Take some time to meditate, go on a nature walk, and meditate on God's Holy Word. There are so many things you can do to settle yourself and take back your peace and joy.
4. Know Your Self Worth
Jealousy stems from a place of insecurity. If you are unaware of who you are and your worth, your insecurities will take over your emotions and actions. You'll begin to compare yourself to others and become envious of what they have and who they are. If you struggle with understanding and acknowledging your worth take a minute and remind yourself of the following things:
• You are a child of God, and He loves you
• You were fearfully and wonderfully made in His image
• You have a distinct purpose in this world
When you know your worth, you won't have time to develop feelings of envy because you will be so focused on walking in your purpose.
5. Friendship Is Not a Competition
Life is not a race. Achieving goals is not about who will get to the finish line first. Friendships are not about competing with each other. They are about uplifting and completing each other. Competition can ruin friendships, especially if certain outcomes are unexpected. Be sure you are not competing with your friends but genuinely supporting them on this life's journey.
6. Reflect on Positive Things in Your Life
Take some time to look back over your life and see where God has brought you, what He's done and what He's doing now. If you do this, you won't have time to dwell on what others have. If you don't dwell on what others have, you won't develop feelings of jealousy.
7. Be Honest with Your Friend
If your friendship is strong and has endured hard times, then you should be able to discuss your feelings with them freely. If you can't do this, then how strong is your relationship?
If you still find yourself leaning towards envy when it's time to celebrate someone, remember the following:
-If God blessed your friend with their heart's desires according to His will and riches, He will do the same for you.
-What goes around comes around. You don't want your feelings of envy to come back to you.
-Let your joy for others motivate you to achieve your goals and receive the blessings God has for you.
-Remove your personal feelings. Don't make a friend's good news about you. Let them enjoy their moment and celebrate with them.
-Be sure of yourself. No one else is like you.
-God's timing is best, and what He has for you is specifically for you. There is no need to envy what anyone else has.
-You have a different load to carry from your friend. This is why you have different blessings and responsibilities from them, and their responsibilities are different from yours.
-Acknowledge and address your feelings. If you're feeling a little envious, admit it to yourself so you can move forward. If you're having difficulty moving forward, confide in someone so they can help you work through your feelings.
As we continue on this journey called life, we will experience different emotions. With each experience, we must learn to reflect on why we feel the way we feel and grow from that knowledge. It is my prayer that you are never jealous of a friend's fortunes. I pray that you see and celebrate the beauty and blessings of others, especially those you call friends. If you find yourself slipping into a mode of jealousy, find out why. It's okay to celebrate someone else's blessings. Honestly, when you think about it, when you celebrate someone's blessings, you're celebrating God's goodness. And who doesn't want to celebrate the goodness of the Lord? Life is filled with ups and downs. God places people, friends, in our lives to share both. Don't ruin the blessings that are genuine friendships because you desire blessings that aren't for you. You'll miss out on your blessings, including good friends.