Kent Sanders | Unlock Your Creative Potential

Unlock Your Creative Potential

7 Little Lies Jealousy Whispers in Your Ear

Not too long ago, I was talking with a friend about the success his and his family were having. He had just received a promotion at work and a substantial bump in compensation. His wife had also gotten a new job and was making twice her former salary.

Life was going really well for them.

As I listened to him recount his recent success, I was truly happy for him. He and his wife have been through some hard times and deserve every bit of their success.

But I confess that the more he talked, the worse I felt about myself. My joy morphed into jealousy as I secretly wondered why so many good things weren’t happening for me, too.

When we think of destructive emotions, we tend to focus on the obvious ones like lust, anger, and pride. But jealousy is equally destructive because once you start comparing yourself to others, it’s almost impossible to stop. Life becomes one giant contest and you see everyone as a competitor instead of a collaborator.

No one is immune to seductive whispers of jealousy. We must constantly be on the lookout for the “green-eyed monster” that loves to tell these seven lies:

1. Jealousy lies to you about yourself.

Just because you’re feeling bad about yourself doesn’t mean it reflects reality. Jealousy makes you view your life and work through a negative lens.

When we feel anger, lust, or other strong emotions, we know it’s dangerous to act on them in an inappropriate way. So why do we feel it’s OK to indulge our jealousy?

2. Jealousy lies about the reality of other people’s lives.

Whatever we see of other people’s lives, especially on social media, is only what they choose to show us. It’s human nature to only show the good parts.

Therefore, what you see on your Facebook or Twitter feeds are mostly smiles, successes, and wins. You rarely see the heartbreaks, screw-ups, and failures. (And to be fair, we do the same, don’t we?)

3. Jealousy lies about your own accomplishments.

When you focus on others’ achievements and why you don’t measure up, you quickly forget about the things you have accomplished. If you take a few moments to write down your wins over the last six months or a year, you will be surprised at all the things you’ve accomplished.

4. Jealousy lies about the meaning of success.

We tend to measure our success in relationship to everyone else. If someone else has more than we do, we see them as more successful. If we have more, then they are less successful.

The most important way to gauge your success is by asking whether you have done your best and reached your personal potential. You can’t measure success by the fickle winds of money, fame, or your number of clients or blog subscribers.

5. Jealousy lies about the price of success.

When you’re jealous of what others have accomplished, you’re only seeing the results of their success, not the process or the costs of getting there. We don’t realize that they probably labored for years in obscurity before hitting the big time or making good money.

Jealousy says that we should be enjoying those results, too, but it’s a lie unless we have also put in the work.

6. Jealousy lies about the importance of your emotions.

We are all emotional creatures, but we can’t be ruled by emotions. Otherwise, we would never get anything accomplished.

Just because you feel jealous doesn’t mean that it’s helpful or even valid. We all must learn the discipline of setting our emotions of jealousy, laziness, and fear, and just get down to work.

7. Jealousy lies about your influence.

Jealousy likes to diminish our success in our own eyes. It makes us forget about the things we have achieved and the hurdles we have climbed.

But the truth is that there are people in your circle who are jealous of you. They wish they had your skill, position, accomplishments, or success. No matter who you are, you have some level of influence.

Instead of spending emotional energy being jealous, we can focus on helping others to achieve our level of success, whatever it may be.

It’s been said that the best medicine is prevention. When you understand how jealousy can be such a destructive force in your life, you can take measures to curb its influence.

Don’t play the comparison game. Your life is yours alone to live, and your only true competitor is your own potential.

What are some ways you have overcome jealousy in your life?

A version of this post originally appeared on The Good Men Project.

About Kent Sanders

I help people unlock their God-given creative potential. I live with my wife and son in St. Peters, MO. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or YouTube.

  • Such wisdom here! I like the saying, “not my circus, not my monkeys.” Why? It makes me chuckle a little. It’s hard to be jealous when you’re laughing, right? And it is also a good reminder to pick my own path–not the path someone else is on.

    Also, it is super helpful to encourage others. It’s like the ultimate jealousy buster. Encouragement opens your heart up so there isn’t room for jealousy.

    • Thanks, Jim – I appreciate you commenting, and the kind words. So true that encouraging others is the ultimate antidote to jealousy.

      Yesterday, I was talking with a good friend who is a worship pastor. We were chatting about how easy it is in ministry work to be jealous of people who serve in larger churches. I mentioned something I heard a pastor friend say one time (he works in a megachurch): “Most people want to work in a church that’s bigger than the one they’re in now. But just remember: the bigger the organization, the bigger the headaches.” I thought there was a lot of wisdom in that.