Tuesday, August 13, 2013
“Desiderata” was a poem written in the 1920s by Max Ehrmann and then later set to music. It was the theme song for my high school graduation, and I recall the lyrics address what happens when we compare ourselves to others.
“If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.”
Helen Keller said, “Instead of comparing our lot with that of those who are more fortunate than we are, we should compare it with the lot of the great majority of our fellow men. It then appears that we are among the privileged.”
If you’ve been bitten by the “Green-Eyed Monster” of envy, try using some of these strategies.
Dealing with Envy
1. Get the full picture. Learn more.
It’s likely that all is not as it seems! Most of the time we envy one quality about a person, and we presume the rest of her qualities are as perfect as the one we want. We don’t always have the full picture.
2. Praise her.
This may seem counterintuitive to praise someone who makes you feel inferior, but there is value in praising someone who is serving as a role model, someone who sets a good standard for you and others to follow. Research shows that when we hear something we like, a burst of dopamine is released in our brains. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, and it's associated with feelings of joy, pride, satisfaction, and well-being. Genuine praise is sincere and doesn’t put yourself down. (I could never cook as well as you!) Keep the praise focused on the recipient.
- are generally considered as positive people.
- are less likely to be complainers.
- are likely to receive praise more often than complainers.
- “make the day” of the recipient.
- boost the dopamine level (feel-good level) in others.
- boost their own feel-good levels.
Giving praise is a good emotional, intellectual, and spiritual habit.
- 1. Refer to the task, quality, or act.
- 2. Mention the qualities that are evidenced.
- 3. Refer to the results, benefits, or effect on others.
Example: Jennifer, I love the way you apply your makeup. You have an artist’s touch with a make-up brush! The effect is so lovely.
Example: Jeannette, I am so impressed by your passion for canning and freezing. It takes days of dedication and a lot of stamina. Your pantry looks amazing filled with all those beautiful vegetables. You’re an inspiration!
3. Focus on YOUR strengths.
Sometimes we focus on the thing we don’t do well – what’s missing instead of what’s present. Gratitude is focusing on what we have not what we don’t have. Discover what you do better than others. We all have different gifts, talents, and skills. We’re all a little better at some things than others.
4. Learn from her.
Your friend is doing something right if she has your attention. There is a difference in using someone for a role model and feeling envious. If you envy someone’s ability to manage her home, find out her success. What are her strategies? If you envy someone’s weight management, find out what she does.
5. Do your best.
If we focus on doing our best at whatever task is at hand, then how can we complain. I know, some of you say, “My best isn’t good enough.” It’s also important to know when good enough is good enough.
6. Visualize your best self.
Create and stamp for good on your mind a mental picture of yourself as succeeding. Never let it fade. Never see yourself as failing. Never doubt the reality of it. The mind always tries to complete what it pictures. Always picture “success.”
For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. James 3:16