Overcoming Jealousy

Causes and Cures for Jealousy

Overcoming Jealousy
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When you look closely at the word jealousy there's something vital that stands out. The feeling of jealousy makes you feel lousy! Karen Wolff of Christian-Books-for-Women.com considers the causes of jealousy and then describes simple, practical steps for overcoming jealousy.

How Do You Define Jealousy?

The word "jealously" in Webster's dictionary is defined as "zealous vigilance." Somehow this definition doesn't seem to carry the powerful force of emotion in jealousy. The Bible says in Proverbs 27:4, "Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?" (NIV)

That seems to give a little more meaning to the word.

Jealousy - An Ancient Emotion

Whatever happened to the days when people were genuinely happy for one another? Do you remember those days when nobody ever wanted something that someone else had? Oh, wait! Those days never existed.

Jealousy is probably one of the world's oldest emotions. It's been around since the beginning of time. Look at Cain and Abel. Now there's a prime example of jealousy run amok.

What causes jealousy? Why does it start and how do we overcome jealousy?

Common Causes of Jealousy:

  • Unmet expectations. Many times we place unrealistic expectations on ourselves and the people around us. Often times we feel things should come easier and faster to us. Then if things don't happen when we think they should, we inevitably run into someone who already has what we want. All of a sudden, we feel this surge of ugly, green emotion called jealousy.
  • A sense of entitlement. For some reason, we have this ingrained attitude that we are entitled to things. Kids leaving the nest for the first time believe their own standard of living should be the same as their parents. They don't consider that their parents have worked for years and years. Many times people with financial problems feel "entitled" to buy things on credit, even though they know it's a bad idea. Having the nicest car and the newest toys seem more important than getting out of debt.
  • Insecurity. It is so easy to look at other people and wish we had what they have. And so many times it doesn't stop there. We start berating ourselves for not having what they have. Then we begin to believe negative junk ourselves. The next thing we know, we've developed insecurities in our relationships.

Is There a Cure for Jealousy?

So what can we do about jealousy?

Now, after reading about all the stuff that can cause feelings of jealousy, we may feel like we're doomed. We may think we'll always come up short in some area of life. But that surely isn't the case.

Overcoming Jealousy

Here's some good news! There are a few things we can do to stop the jealousy ball from rolling right over us.

How to Overcome Jealousy:

  • Stop comparing yourself to other people. You were created as a very unique and special person. God had a plan for you long before you took your first breath. Relish that thought. Love the fact that you're special. What God has in mind for you isn't the same as for someone else. So you don't have to feel bad that you don't have all the qualities, features, money, or anything else that someone else has. Your journey is just that — yours.
  • Stop worrying about you all the time. Find a way to be a blessing to someone else. When you change your focus away from yourself, all of a sudden your self-image improves. You get to experience the feeling of satisfaction that only comes when you're a blessing to someone else. Your priorities start changing, and one day you realize that the things that used to make you so jealous and so nuts, don't bother you so much anymore.
  • Stop wanting what other people have if you're not willing to go through what they did to get it. When you see a person who is physically fit and looks positively great, it's easy to feel really jealous. But are you willing to work out every day? Are you willing to eat healthy and look for ways to be healthy? If you're not, then there really is no reason to feel jealous, is there?
  • Start focusing on all that's positive in your life. God has given you so many wonderful gifts that many other people don't have. Focus on using those gifts to help someone else. Since your mind can only consciously think about one thing at a time, doesn't it make sense to make sure that "one thing" is positive and is moving you toward the really great things in life?

Breaking free from jealousy starts with your thoughts. When you change the way you think, you change the way you feel and act. The easiest way to change your focus is to begin by helping others. It will definitely be time well spent. Or better yet, thoughts well spent.

Also by Karen Wolff
How to Hear from God
How to Share Your Faith
Worship Through Relationship
4 Keys to Making Right Decisions

Karen Wolff, a guest writer for About.com, is host to a Christian Web site for women. As founder of Christian-Books-for-Women.com, she wants to provide Christian women with a place to find practical information, tips, and help with a variety of issues they face every day. For more information visit Karen's Bio Page.

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Wolff, Karen. "Overcoming Jealousy." Learn Religions, Aug. 25, 2020, learnreligions.com/overcoming-jealousy-701265. Wolff, Karen. (2020, August 25). Overcoming Jealousy. Retrieved from https://www.learnreligions.com/overcoming-jealousy-701265 Wolff, Karen. "Overcoming Jealousy." Learn Religions. https://www.learnreligions.com/overcoming-jealousy-701265 (accessed June 8, 2023).