Friends are the people in our lives that we see as extended family. They’re with us through our best and worst times to advise and support us. A friend is someone that knows the real you, someone who trusts you and someone you can trust. They give companionship to help us avoid loneliness, playing many roles and wearing numerous hats. So wouldn’t it seem ridiculous to envy their good fortune? Unfortunately, it happens more often than you think, while other times, it’s done subconsciously.
Whether or not you want to admit it, we’ve all looked at a friend with the green-eyed monster for something, knowing that we shouldn’t. When something good happens in our friends’ lives, we should celebrate them with a clear mind and a pure heart. If you struggle with being envious of a friend or anyone’s prosperity, here are some ways to replace envy with joy.
Don’t compare yourself to your friends.
Comparing ourselves to others is human nature. Everyone has measured some part of their life to something or someone else, especially regarding relationships, finances and looks. Comparing ourselves to others comes naturally to people, unconsciously or consciously. Some people view comparison as a tool for improvement, but it can also be a hindrance if used from an envious standpoint. If you realize that you’re measuring yourself against someone or a friend from a jealous lens, step back and ask yourself why. If you’re unsure what to ask yourself, start with questions like, “Do I secretly want what my friend has?” or “Why do I have these jealous feelings?” As you ask yourself these questions, give an honest answer. After responding, reflect on your feelings and try to move past them.
Learn to want different things.
Naturally, you’ll have things in common with your friends; your commonalities anchor your relationship. However, if you recognize that you have the same aspirations but haven’t met at the same time, it may be time for things to change. The positive aspect about friends is that while you’ll have something in common, there will also be differences. You may want the same things, but some may look different. Still, if there are identical aspirations, you should consider altering what you want or learning to live with the similarities.
Check your peace and joy levels.
Most of the time, we’re envious because we’re experiencing inner turmoil and unhappiness. Any situation you’re anticipating can cause these feelings you’re going through or getting over. When this happens, you start acting negatively toward yourself, doubting yourself, and becoming unsettled and unstable within yourself. When your joy and inner peace are disrupted, you act negatively toward yourself and cynically toward the world around you and others. If you find yourself in an unhappy space, take time to regain your joy and peace. Go on a nature walk, meditate, and read the Bible. You can do numerous things to take back your happiness and peace and settle yourself.
Recognize your self-worth.
Most times, jealousy comes from an insecure place. If you don’t know your worth or who you are, your insecurities will dominate your actions and emotions. You’ll start comparing yourself to others and become jealous of who they are and what they have. If you’re wrestling with acknowledging your worth and understanding, remember that you’re a child of God, and He loves you. He made you wonderfully and fearfully in His image, and you have a purpose in this world. When you know your worth, you won’t have time to think about envious feelings because you’re thinking about walking in your purpose.
Recognize that friendship isn’t a competition.
Life isn’t a race, and achieving goals isn’t about who will finish first. Friendships aren’t about competing with each other; instead, they’re about completing and uplifting each other. Competition tends to ruin friendships, especially if specific outcomes are unexpected. Be sure you’re not competing with your friends, but genuinely support them on their journey through life.
Think about the positive things in your life.
Reflect on your life and see how far God has brought you, what He’s done, and what He will do in the future. If you do this exercise, you won’t have time to think about what your friends or other people have. If you don’t dwell on what others have, you won’t create jealous feelings.
Have an honest conversation with your friend.
If your friendship is stable and has endured challenging times, you should be able to discuss your feelings freely with them. If you can’t, then how strong is the relationship? If you find yourself leaning toward envy when it’s time to honor someone, remember that if God blessed your friend with their desires according to His riches and will, He’ll do the same for you. It would also help to remember what goes around comes around, so you don’t want your envious feelings to return to you.
Allow your joy for others to serve as motivation to receive God’s blessings for you and achieve your goals. When your friend shares good news, it will help if you take out your personal feelings and don’t make their good news about you. Instead, let them enjoy their moment and celebrate with them.
Another thing to remember is that no one else is like you, so stay sure of yourself. God’s timing is best and what He has for you is for you. Envying what others have is unnecessary. The load you’re carrying is different from that of your friends, which is why you have different responsibilities and blessings from them. Take time to address and acknowledge how you’re feeling. If you feel the green-eyed monster creeping out, admit your feelings to yourself so you can move on. If you’re having trouble moving on, sharing your feelings with someone else can help you work through your feelings.
As we go through life, we’ll experience different emotions. With every experience, we should reflect on why we feel how we feel and grow from that experience. Instead of being jealous of your friend’s fortunes, try to see the beauty of your friend’s blessings and celebrate with them.