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How to Stop Feeling Envious of Others

February 7, 2019

 

 

A fascinating study was done several years ago with Capuchin monkeys.

 

I believe it teaches us something about envy. 

 

Here is a link to the 57 second video.

 

Seriously, pause your blog post reading and watch those monkeys for a minute.

 

It's hilarious

 

and fascinating.

 

The first monkey is perfectly happy with his reward of cucumbers, 

 

until he sees his little monkey friend in the cage next to him receive grapes. 

 

Grapes are better than cucumbers, after all.

 

So suddenly,

 

cucumbers aren't good enough.

 

How many of us have acted like Capuchin monkeys before?

 

Shaking our cage, so to speak, because our life didn't measure up (in our mind) to our neighbor's life? 

 

{Sheepishly raises hand}. Ahem. 

 

I have. 

 

Why is it that when another is blessed with good fortune, 

 

we often suddenly think that what we have

 

and even who we are

 

isn't enough?

 

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland explains that one of the reasons we might feel this way is because we allow ourselves to fall for the lie---

 

the lie that we aren't enough.

 

And it is a lie.

 

The world will compare us to one another,

 

judge us, 

 

send us blaring messages that we aren't pretty enough, 

 

skinny enough, 

 

rich enough,

 

or well-traveled enough.

 

So how do we combat the green-eyed monster of envy?

 

I have three simple suggestions:  

 

1. When you find yourself feeling envious of another--

 

Pray for them. 

 

You won't feel like doing it.

 

Believe me, I know firsthand.

 

But do it anyway.  

 

It will turn your heart to heaven

 

and Heavenly Father will help you to change your envious feelings into feelings of love. 

 

Genuine happiness for the fortunes of others feels so much better than envy. 

 

2. Be grateful.

 

The next time you feel envious of another,

 

I want you to take a minute and write down 4 things you are grateful for.

 

Or at least think about them in your mind.

 

And here's a little tip---

 

be specific. 

 

Instead of "I'm grateful for my family", 

 

I try to write/think things like,

 

"I'm grateful I was able to have a special moment with my daughter while reading I am Malala yesterday."

 

or

 

"I'm grateful we had enough money to make a student loan payment this month!"

 

General gratitudes are important,

 

but being specific puts me in that moment and helps me get my mind and my heart in a space of abundance almost immediately.

 

It helps me move away from the scarcity mindset that envy and jealousy love so much. 

 

Try it. 

 

Try being specific when counting your blessings.

 

It works.

 

2. Remember that God does not compare us the way the world compares us. 

 

He truly does not do this. 

 

Just like the father in the parable of the Prodigal Son doesn't compare his two boys with one another, 

 

Heavenly Father doesn't measure us against each other either.

 

He sees us individually. 

 

Loves us personally.

 

God extends charity, 

 

hope, 

 

and repentance and redemption

 

through His son...

 

to everyone.

 

 Elder Holland wrote an amazing talk about this very subject here. It's one of my all-time favorites. Give it a listen!

 

If this post is helpful, share the love with your favorite physician's wife friend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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