|envy is a green-eyed monster - is that really you?|
Envy can make the most beautiful person ugly, and seeing the green-eyed monster in the face of someone you admired is frightening. An envious person recently offered me some friendly advice and told me it was unbecoming to stand up for what I believe in. Sadly, the envy behind that advice was far more unbecoming.
How does envy affect a person? What can be done with it? Is there a way to turn it around and make it into something positive?
A couple years ago, I was envious of a person who accomplished something I wanted to do. Since envy was a temptation, fed by greed and spawning hate, the easiest response was to feel hatred. Tempting as that was, envy would not be my burden. I tried to counteract it.
"I'm a little envious that you thought of this idea first.
How brilliant! I admire you. Congratulations!"
It was not painful to admit feeling envious. Just the opposite. It felt good, and it felt even better to share in the happiness of someone else's success. There was nothing unfair about it, even though I wanted that success, deeply. The only way to have it was to first embrace the success of others, celebrate it, and learn from it. In doing so, I could be a small part of that success, and I was free to emulate it.
So, I went down the path, happily letting someone else pave the way. My heart was strong, and I dismissed the hate and greed of envy. I loved what I was doing, loved the people around me, and it showed. As a result, I experienced success beyond anything I could have imagined. There was no longer any reason to envy other people.
Ironically, I learned what it was like to be envied. In some ways, it was worse than feeling envious, more difficult to control. I had to say, "no true friend would act that way" and "it's time for you to go." That process was a little painful because I let some good go with the bad. Unfortunately, the scales were tipped too far in the direction of bad, and it was all because of envy.
|Cain Slaying Abel, 1608-1609, Peter Paul Rubens|