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How to Overcome Jealousy

Updated on October 6, 2017
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Matthew is a writing junkie in his 20's. He's from Nigeria, West Africa.

Jealousy rises when one’s feelings are allowed to dominate his thinking. The feeling of jealousy can be controlled when one chooses to channel his thoughts in the right direction, as against letting it go haywire. If jealousy seems to you easily, chances are, your thoughts, words, and behavior are all wrong and negative.

Inferiority and Jealousy

At the core of a jealous attitude is an expression of inadequacy and inferiority. Jealous people aren’t always going to feel jealous, there has to be some intimidating figure. When something or someone they see begins to look bigger than whom they feel they are. Their sense of self-esteem or self-worth seems threatened by this imposing figure in front of them.

However, when someone thinks of himself as a valuable and important person, the instinct to be jealous becomes less and less dominating. When you give yourself approval as opposed to seeking it from others, your jealousy begins to die slowly.

The rivalry that exists amongst jealous people is simply as a result of ignorance—ignorance of individual differences. And that breeds a sense of insecurity and inferiority. When purpose, responsibility, uniqueness and timing are all understood, it’ll become difficult for someone to be jealous.

To illustrate, suppose a 3rd grade student is solving a 9th grade mathematics problem. And out of 50 questions he was able to get 35 of them correctly. Then a 9th grade student is asked to solve the same set of problems and he was able to get 36 correctly. If you were to access their performance, without a doubt, even though he got less, yet, you would say the student in the 3rd grade out-performed the one in the 9th grade. Why? It’s because of their difference—the 9th grader was more advantaged but still wasn’t able to score far higher than the 3rd grader.

Now, if you happened to be the 3rd grader, wouldn’t it be absurd for you to be jealous of the 9th grader, just because he did better than you? In fact you ought to be proud of yourself, and he, ashamed of himself. Accordingly, when you get jealous it’s a sign that you’ve not recognized your difference from others. You’ve not fully grasped how God has made you a unique personality. Consequently, you try to irresponsibly compete with and compare yourself to others. That’s ludicrous.

Again, jealousy is a sign that you’ve not discovered your difference. Just because your friend is succeeding doesn’t mean you’re failing. Our creator gave us different strengths and weakness, and if we’re able to understand our individual differences, the feeling of jealousy will be greatly palliated.

John the Baptist and Jesus

Taking a cue from John the Baptist, in John 3:26-34. John was being approached by his some of his disciples, and some other Jews. They had seen Jesus and his disciples baptizing people at a nearby location. And, as they explained to John, a lot of people were going to them to get baptized.

This report was supposed to evoke rage in John because he’s the only one know by all to be a baptizer. Baptism is the form of ceremonial cleansing that John introduced where an individual would have all of his body being deepened into the water, as opposed to the conventional routine where just a little bit of water would be sprinkled on the individual being cleansed. He originated the concept of baptism—Jesus didn’t. In fact, he was so known for baptizing that it was attached to his name—John, the Baptist.

It was like Jesus and his disciples were trying to steal the show off him, thus making him less significant and respected among the people that he’d initially been. Jesus wasn’t only stealing his fame and reputation, he was also stealing the practice he first preached and originated. And Jesus seemed to be thriving more than John ever did because, as they narrated to him, many people went to them. Although it was later recorded that Jesus didn’t partake in baptizing people, his disciples did, however, because of his presence among them, a lot of people were attracted.

If anything, this was supposed to arouse some feeling of jealousy in John, but he wasn’t jealous. Well, why? What was John thinking? The statements he made when the incidence was reported to him would give us a bit of insight into how he interpreted the scenario.

We’ll analyze some of his statements, from John chapter 3:27-29: “John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven. Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.

From John’s statement, we can adduce that for one to not be tempted into being jealous of others, he has to be clear about 3 things:

1. His difference from others: John understood that Jesus was different from him, and he was different from Jesus. He knew didn’t have to be jealous of Jesus’ uniqueness, neither did Jesus have to be jealous of his.

If you’re able to grasp your difference from others (your unique qualities, gifting, and so on), you won’t be jealous of someone who can do some certain things better than you can, because you’re both gifted differently to fulfill different assignments. Being jealous is a sign that you’ve not grasped your difference from others.

2. His assignment in life: John understood that his assignment in life was to be the fore-runner of Jesus, not his fore-competitor.

When you know your assignment (purpose) in life you wouldn’t be busy looking into people’s lives and getting jealous of their success because you know everyone has their own path to cross in life. And there’s no need being jealous of someone crossing his own path, because that doesn’t stop you from crossing yours. When you understand that God has got the best planned out for your life (Jer. 29:11), frivolous competition with others will be cancelled.

3. His joy was attached to the fulfillment of his purpose: John understood that he his joy and fulfillment wasn’t attached to seeing Jesus fail, but to seeing Jesus succeed.

You need to understand your role in the lives of other people. Like John, you might be assigned to a particular person. And if you’re not, you and everyone else still has a role in the lives of everyone. Until this role is fulfilled, your joy might be stifled.

Everyone has a personal responsibility to play in the lives of others. This responsibility is to help people. God made it such that your life purpose would have something to do with helping people and he attached your inner, spiritual fulfillment to the accomplishment of that purpose. No man will be truly joyful until he finds his purpose: helping people, not getting jealous of them.

In closure, if someone, for example, took your fiancée away and married her. That might want to cause you to be jealous, but if you understand that God has a plan for your marriage—he’s interested in whom you marry. And that he’s specially prepared a mate for you in which both of you are going to have a blissful marriage. According to Jer. 29:11, God himself knows your personal desires, and the woman he’s prepared for you to marry is going to be a perfect epitome of whom you consider to be a wonderful woman—like Adam saw Eve to be perfect for him. When you understand the place of Providence in your life. When you know that God’s got you covered, jealousy and insecurity will lose its place in your life.


© 2017 Matthew Joseph

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