Jealousy, often termed the green eyed monster, befalls even the most humble person. Leering over the proverbial “fence” of Facebook, Instagram, and other social media posts peddling idylllic bliss, and seeing gorgeous pictures of faraway places and perfectly groomed happy smiling faces, we get trapped. Delicious gourmet meals, and amazing achievements we could only dream of having stare back at us through a green haze.
Yet if we meet up with that very same “happy” individual we envy online in person, and spend a few moments just listening carefully, they will tell you about the tears, struggles and frustrations behind all that posing.
Nothing comes without a certain measure of struggle and strife. If it were easy, we would all be millionaires, jet- setting around the world in private planes. Social media has created this platform which encourages us to brag and display a version of ourselves far beyond reality; our image softened by filters, enhanced by colour correction, our story condensed in snappy, glamorous reels.
Believe me, every smile has hidden tears, every achievement has hard work backing it up. We all know the moment the camera clicks to light up and show our best side. It doesn’t reveal the screaming kids fighting to be next to mom, or the dog begging for constant attention. Forgotten is the huge pile of dishes, or the argument you just had with your partner. When that camera clicks you set aside everything that led up to that moment, you capture the best version of you.
We buy into the idealistic versions of ourselves and others. Allowing that standard to set the bar and placing those expectations on ourselves. But we forget that these perfect pictures use editing software to erase the pain, blood, sweat, and tears.
There we sit scrolling through our social media, allowing that green -eyed monster to crawl into us. The longer we mull over it, the bigger it becomes, until it consumes us and explodes in envy and ugly comments. We allow those questions and comparisons of “Why them? What makes them so special?” to fester and become a whimper and a whine. Before we even know it, we are mocking and ridiculing the very traits we admire and covet.
For some reason, this vile monster prefers women and tends to prey much more on the female gender. Instead of motivating you to achieve great heights, you obsessively compare yourself to others. This is self-destructive and can lead to depression, anxiety, shame and low self- esteem.
It took me forever to accept that I was different – strange and slightly weird. I stood out as a child because of my dyslexia and ADHD. I’d run around playing soccer and rugby with the boys, and I could climb higher in any tree than most. I never sat still and would talk continuously. I never quite fit the mould of conventional femininity. For me to measure up to the standard set in society by glamorous magazines was way beyond my reach. This mindset caused me to hide who I really was in an effort to fit in. It robbed me of the peace and joy of childhood.
Teddy Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
I’ve witnessed a very alarming trend of envy within the Christian community, the very place we are supposed to display Godly values. This jealousy or envy revolves around those who have favour with God, or who God chooses to use. To break it down, we gossip and slander those who are living out their dreams. When we have dealt with our baggage and know who we are in Christ, there will be no reason to look at others, to worry about what they’re doing, or be envious of what they have.
This monster of jealously and envy is an indication of personal inadequacy and lack of self -worth. Often we try to deal with these identity issues by strengthening things that could be external factors, instead of dealing with the inner root system: God wants us to be grounded in His truth and strengthen our identity.
If the lenses we use to view the world and others with are faulty, the message our heart receives will also be faulty. Knowing who we are, and how God sees us, are vitally important to how we present ourselves. This includes the ongoing process of dealing with past hurts and wounds. Don’t get stuck just going endlessly around in cycles and thinking that if nothing changes, something is wrong with you, or God isn’t working.
Don’t allow the green- eyed monster to take root in your life and fester. Rather focus on what God has already given to you, and shine with the truth of who you are. In being your true authentic self, with all your imperfections, you will find way more acceptance than by wrestling to fit in and belong.
If we truly know our unique commission, and the sphere of influence God has called us to, there will be no reason to look at anyone else’s journey or desire what they have. What may appear to be easy, or favour, is probably years of work and time spent in an intimate relationship with God. Don’t ever presume that what you see in another is effortless or without struggle.