Photo: Denise Fletcher

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

Unnoticed, it ever so slowly attaches itself to the soul and its caustic solution begins the process of damaging it. For example, frogs were immersed in cold water and the heat was slowly increased until the frog realizes that the water is extremely hot. By then, it is too late. So, it also goes with the corrosion of the soul and we know it by its name: Envy.

The seeds of envy are probably sown in the earlier part of life, where there are higher expectations than can be achieved, and frustration builds. This could occur, especially when others are accomplishing these tasks. Another example is seeing others, and their children, who seem to have the best of everything: toys, travel, money, home—and comparison sets in. Often it may creep in through comments made by parents or other family members about how much friends or other relatives are achieving.

Whatever the cause, it lies embedded on the soul and begins to mushroom. So, if you feel that you may harbor this bitter feeling, take a personal self-inventory with prayer and honesty. To self-inventory, begin by writing in a notebook how you have felt—envious or not—in the past or present about family, friends, acquaintances, or co-workers. This could center on what they possess, lifestyles, successes, and what your true reactions are.

Once you have completed an honest inventory and have identified that you have an envious tendency of others, the following are a few suggestions to utilize and practice—keeping in mind that this will take a concerted amount of dedication, time, and prayer, as change does not happen overnight. It is a long process.

  1. Thanksgiving – Be thankful for what you have. Take the time to make a list for what you are thankful. The length of your list may surprise you.
  2. Continual Review – Review the prior list of people, events, or situations of which you were envious, and be cognizant every day of the pitfalls that will drag you down that old path.
  3. Positive Models – Stay clear of those who are envious of others, as they may deter you from your change in values. Instead, find and make new friends who share your new set of values.
  4. Authentic Friendship – Be happy for what others have or have attained. Try to be happy for your friends and for what they have in their lives. Learn to truly congratulate them for their successes.
  5. Care for Others – Make the time to volunteer to help others. In volunteering, we often receive ten-fold back in positive feelings as we make a difference in people’s lives.

Envy is extremely corrosive to the soul. Through prayer and honesty, one can identify enviousness. If so affirmed, there are steps and other methods that can be utilized to help you change. Remember these four words:  Prayer, Honesty, Consistency, and a Positive Attitude. Eliminating envy from your life is what He would want you to do.