On changing our brains – that has kind of been the theme this week – I listened to a brilliant podcast about envy. And the principles taught here can apply to any negative feeling: pride, jealousy, anger, anxiety, etc.

But, let’s first just look at understanding our brains today surrounding the negative feeling of envy.

As Christians, we condemn envy, right?

“A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.”

Proverbs 14:30

I just found this one on pinterest:

“Anytime you feel envious, you reject your uniqueness. It’s a criticism of God’s plan for you.”

There tends to be a lot of shame built around the natural man feeling of envy. And, though I agree that envy is not from God, I do not think God intends for us to feel shame around our feelings of envy, as if we are unworthy and less loved, less good, because of any one of our negative emotions.

Could there be another, better way to move through that negative emotion, rather than to judge ourselves and shame ourselves into the opposite emotion? Again, and this can absolutely apply to all negative emotions.

I am interested in changing my heart, not just my actions. I don’t want to be found doggedly forcing myself to obey every commandment. But rather I want to love the commandments, and love myself and where I am at, and, above all else, love God, because I absolutely feel that “He first loved me” (1 John 4:19).

That, my friends, is how we are going to approach the negative feeling of envy today – from a place of love.

What is this negative feeling that I’m feeling? Is it envy? If so, what is it that I envy? How can I turn these feelings around to find more success in my own life?

Let’s look at what Brooke teaches us today about envy.

“Envy is the feeling you get when somebody else has something that you don’t have, and you want them not to have it. This is different than seeing something that someone else has and you wanting it and you wanting to go get it.”

Do you see the difference?

Envy is, ‘You have it, and I want to take it away so nobody has it. I want to destroy it so you don’t have more than me, you don’t have something that I don’t have.’

(That is different than), ‘I see that you have something, and I want to have that same thing for myself.’ That is inspiration. That creates more abundance in the world. That creates desire within me, and motivation within me. That creates contribution. That creates goodness. That creates more for everyone.

Okay. Now that we understand the difference, let’s really look at our lives. And this could take some time, and a lot of honesty with ourselves.

“I think it’s important that we take the time to evaluate our own selves and our own emotional lives to see if we’re feeling at all envious about anyone in our life… if we’re ever delighting in someone else’s failure or in someone else’s misfortune because it makes us feel better.

Acknowledge it, pay attention to it, be aware of it, and then also use it as a signal to transmute it into something else.”

What I want you to know is that this temptation, to feel envy, happens. It doesn’t mean something is wrong with you. It is something that our lower brains do, to try and protect us, or to tell us who/what is bad or maybe harmful to us. We can manage that lower brain with our upper brain. We can tell our lower primitive brain that we are not in danger because someone else succeeded. We can calmly and gently walk our lower brains off that ledge without shaming ourselves.

What we don’t want to do is to let our lower brains run unmanaged, and then act on that negative emotion. And sometimes we are tempted to, even without us even being aware of it. We may make a comment to them or whatever, and it’s coming from a place of wanting to harm or to hurt. And we don’t want to be there, my friends.

“The alternative is to look at someone that has something that you don’t have, something that you want that you don’t have, and turn it into inspiration, to be inspired by that. Now, what’s beautiful about that option, that opportunity, is that we’ve now increased desire and motivation and abundance in the world… Instead of bringing you down to my level so everybody has less, I’m going to bring myself up to your level so everyone has more”

Think about the amount of energy that goes into that negative emotion of envy. The energy it takes to think about them all the time, and your heart starts racing, and maybe you even lose sleep. And then the energy you may be expending, trying to keep that other person down. That takes energy.

But when you get rid of the envy, that energy is yours to use on YOU! The energy can be used to create the life that you want for yourself.

“That energy could be used to create fortune for yourself, to create your own success, to create your own desire, your own love, your own inspiration.”

So how do we do this? How do we redirect that energy? How do we move ourselves through envy and on to inspiration? A couple ideas:

  • “The first thing to do is to remind yourself that life is 50-50 for all humans… Their life is 50-50 just like yours. We’re all humans, we’re all in this together, and we’re all going to struggle, and we’re all going to win.”
  • “Understand that abundance can compound itself. It doesn’t need to be stripped away… Success can beget success… Do the thoughtwork. Find what they’ve done that is igniting that envy in you. That is desire – that is something that you want. Instead of trying to take it away from them or wish they didn’t have it, give it to yourself. Cognitively, mentally practice believing that it’s possible for you, that you can have that thing.”

We can drop the shame. Instead, we can love ourselves and love God’s commands in our lives, and be curious about the envy that we feel, and manage our lower brains through that emotion and on to a higher emotion.

“Envy can be the signal. It’s pointing you in the direction of something you don’t yet have that you want. Be thankful for that person for pointing that out to you, and then get to work and go get yours. The possibility for your life is so much bigger.”


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