Without question, you will be scrolling down your timeline at some point this week, month, or year and think, "wow she/he was able to accomplish all of that in these past few weeks?" or "wow look how her lifestyle has changed, always traveling, family looks happy, she's getting in shape too!" And, without question, some of you will feel jealousy's powerful knock on the door of your hearts and minds, and find yourselves investigating someone's life to criticize and demean their success and happiness in order to make yourself feel better.
Keep reading for the 5 keys and 2 tasks to avoid jealousy in 2018:
1. If you start to feel jealous of someone, force yourself to start complimenting, congratulating and encouraging them. No, don't start DMing them like you're thirsty or clingy, simply and briefly like and comment. It's not fake, it's called maturity. In reality, emotions aside, you recognize their accomplishments and you deem them worthy of emulating, you may simply be too prideful to let their moment be about them and not you and where you aren't in life, and what you aren't doing.
2. Stop comparing yourself to these individuals. You have no idea how hard they worked in silence for you to see that one post on social media announcing their accomplishment. It's the same with the onslaught of beach bodies that are sure to saturate the social media reels come April. You see the abs, lifted butt, toned arms, and maybe you even watched a few snapchat stories or insta-stories and saw a gym session. Instead of liking the picture and moving on, you decide the lady had surgery or the gentleman uses steroids. You bypass believing the best thing about them: that they were disciplined and consistent enough to achieve their desired physique. You have no idea what half a plate, low calorie, saltless meal that lady or gentleman ate for weeks, the weekly meal prepping, turning down brunch with friends, and reorganizing their lives to get in the gym for an hour daily had to be done. Stop comparing when you have no idea what their process looked like and even more so what it felt like. Stop assuming people had it easy, or took an easy way out just because you are struggling.
3. Remind yourself that even when the steps of the process are the same, you don't engage those steps in the same way. That's what makes you unique. Cutting out bread may be easy for you, but difficult for someone else. Going on a 20-day juice fast (a goal of mine) may be easier for you than it it is for me, or the demands on my life (nursing) may make it harder for me to get past the withdrawal feelings produced by detox. This doesn't give me the right to be jealous of you! Your journey is your own, your emotional and psychological responses, even your physical responses are unique. I have been breastfeeding for 20 months, and have not lost a single pound related to it since I started, meanwhile, other mothers breastfeed for 3 months and are thinner and better looking than their pre-pregnancy body (I am still not back to a size 2 by the way). You are so unique, and different, and that's beautiful. Do not taint that beauty with jealousy.
4. Instead, ASK the person about what it took for them to achieve such a goal, how did they cope and endure the hard moments when they wanted to quit, and what might be their recommendation for you. Stop looking at others as competition, and start recognizing that people are pots of gold, just carrying around all sorts of experiential wisdom that can benefit your journey and make you an asset in your community, church, school, home. Stop being jealous that people are valued and demonstrate their value, YOU HAVE VALUABLE GIFTS ALSO, they just need to be cultivated and poured out.
5. GET BUSY! If you are busy working, and doing what you know YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING, then you won't have the time to be jealous. If you want to be a homeowner next year, stop hating on your friends buying homes and throwing mental pity parties for yourself. Get in a financial group on FB, learn how to fix your credit and budget, pay down debts and save as much as possible, get a second job. Be busy minding your own business beloved, and use those who have attained as a reminder.
You will be able to look at these people are recognize that your goals are not unobtainable, that nothing is impossible. No way, can a stranger who has gone before you be labelled your role model, and then someone you know, who has attained success be only worthy of dangerous and vile jealousy. How can you value the person who you've never even seen in passing, more than that friend/associate who is finally debt free, has a profitable business, speaking at events, wearing her choice wardrobe, hosting events to give back and traveling? If you are busy cultivating purpose, refining skills, asking questions, prioritizing, and focusing on how you can be of authentic value in the sphere(s) to which you have been called, you won't have room for jealousy.
And if none of this works, just stay off of social media. People have a right to share their success and motivate others. Life is hard, we all need as much motivation as we can get. Change is hard, and we need to know that there are other people changing daily and saying consistent to motivate and teach us. You have no right to question or demean anyone's success if you aren't giving 100% to what you are currently responsible for and showing up daily, fighting passionately for the person you hope to become.
TASK 1: GET YOUR JOURNAL/PHONE and write out what your ideal day looks like. If you could have any kind of day for yourself, making millions, giving millions, working out, devotions, teaching etc., what would it look like for all 24hrs? Are you working toward this ideal day? If not, refuse to get jealous of anyone who lives their ideal day out.
My prayer, is that you will have a bitterness and jealousy free 2018. That you learn to appreciate people's gifts and achievements AND that you give more compliments than you have ever given before. I read something tonight that truly shook me, (paraphrasing) it said, the oak tree is inside the acorn. Remember that, the butterfly is in the caterpillar's DNA, the oak tree is in the acorn. Beloved, you may be an acorn among oak tress today, but count it a blessing to be able to see the majesty and beauty of your future. Do not allow jealousy and discontentment to push you off purpose and authenticity or to steal from you the blessing in celebrating others.
TASK 2: START PRAYING FOR THOSE OF WHOM YOU ARE JEALOUS! You cannot pray for people's continued success, health and relationship with God and be jealous of them. Pray for God to bless them mightily to help them achieve even more, and give more and do more for His glory. Pray for God to draw them close(r) to Him, and give them encounters with His Holy Spirit to strengthen and empower them. Make a list if you have to, and write down scriptures of blessings to pray for them.
Gace & Peace,
P.S. My book Broke Down Christians: From Confession to Change is available on amazon.com NOW. Get is here.
P.P.S Downloadable resources coming April 2018! Get excited!