Photo by Belynda Wilson Thomas

The jealous are troublesome to others, but a torment to themselves. William Penn

Is envy at the root of many of the ills of our society? Was it envy that made Cain kill Abel?

There is a big difference between jealousy and envy. We are jealous if we think a girl is after our guy or worse yet he is showing some interest in her. In our mind our husband is ours and we feel threatened that we might lose something we have.

Envy is a reaction to something we think we lack. We may be envious of someone and their husband, their career, new car, fame, fortune, or opportunity. Envy harms us in a negative way if it takes up our time, consumes our thoughts, ruins our professional or personal relationships, warps our personality, and creates negativity in our lives.

Can it be a good thing if it spurs us to take action to better our lives and if it makes us move past the fear of failure by taking action to prove we can do it too?

God told Cain it was up to him what happened with his envy. If he changes, he will be able to control his anger and not sin. If on the other hand he does not, his anger will overcome him and he will commit a terrible crime. Cain slew Able because he didn’t control his anger.

Is this same scenario being acted out in our society over and over again by people who cannot control their envy and become bitter and resentful? What we also have going on is the media attention this garners which might make some people feel powerful for the moment, “Ignore this,” as they spray bullets.

Gratitude for what we have is one of the antidotes to envy. We can stop judging ourselves and comparing ourselves to others. We need to forgive ourselves for not being or having what we envy. We may need to forgive the person we envy for making us envious because of their good fortune, hard work, or genetic lottery. We can turn our envy into an appreciation of others’ good fortune. We can use our envy to generate goals for ourselves.

Envy is the art of counting the other fellow’s blessings instead of your own. Harold Coffin

If we can live by our own definition of success, and realize no matter what we see in someone else’s life we don’t know the whole story. We need to remember that other people’s success doesn’t impact our own; we need to do what we need to do to feel successful in our own lives. Can we quit comparing ourselves to other people and focus on our talents, assets, and goals? Can we be thankful for the people in our lives? Can we accept the things we can’t change, and change the things we can to create our best life?

There may be things we can’t change that are the cause of our envy. We will need to come to a place of acceptance before our envy turns into a negative force. We may need to look for a group of positive and grateful people. People who are nonjudgmental, generous, and kind may help us begin to feel that way too.

Maybe we can start a gratitude journal, focus on one positive thing per day, stay away from negative input, remind ourselves of what we can control, and give other people compliments. Research tells us that complimenting people we envy can help us overcome our feelings of resentment. Can we find a way to help others and will this help us see how much good we have going for us, in our own life?

Envy is one of the seven deadly sins. When it shows up in our lives we need to find ways to deal with it positively because if we don’t it may overcome us.

What role does envy play in our life?

Blessed is he who has learned to admire but not envy, to follow but not imitate, to praise but not flatter, and to lead but not manipulate. William Arthur Ward

A person is born with feelings of envy and hate. If he gives way to them, they will lead him to violence and crime, and any sense of loyalty and good faith will be abandoned. Xun Kuang

Jealousy is both reasonable and belongs to reasonable men, while envy is base and belongs to the base, for the one makes himself get good things by jealousy, while the other does not allow his neighbor to have them through envy. Aristotle

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

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