Envy: A Battle Best Fought with Gratitude

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Анна Леонтьева

We recently had a conversation about envy among friends. Envy is a painful, heavy feeling, familiar to many, if not everyone. Each of us suggested our own solutions for how to overcome it. Despite knowing that envy is a sin, it's not easy to just command ourselves to stop feeling it and have it magically disappear. One of our friends, a priest who often hears confessions, shared that many people confess to feeling envy. However, they struggle more with admitting what they envy—success, wealth, fame. The priest offered a perspective: understanding that the life of the person we envy is often much more complicated than it appears from the outside.

Take athletes, for instance. They bask in glory, earn substantial money, and appear to lead wonderful lives. But behind all that is an unimaginable amount of hard work, a life strictly dedicated to their profession, and a sacrifice of many pleasures that others take for granted. How many of those who envy their privileged position are willing to put in such effort?

Similarly, those who earn a lot of money often have lives filled with toil, anxiety, and risk. The priest put it well: "You wouldn't envy them if you knew."

A friend shared her method of overcoming envy: she would visit the people she envied and confess her feelings to them, followed by a confession to a priest. Not everyone can do this, but she said it worked for her—God gradually healed her of this tormenting state.

Another friend had his own approach: feel compassion for the person you envy. Find something to pity them for. Surely, there’s always something to find.

I have my own tried-and-true method from childhood. I had a friend who seemed to have everything better than I did: her mother stayed home with her and her sister while her father earned a lot of money. My mother was always at work, being a high-ranking official, and my parents divorced when I was eleven.

My father loved me very much, but I didn’t see him often. My friend would come home, and I’d visit her—they always had a delicious spread of food. At our house, my Jewish grandmother would occasionally make chicken with prunes and garlic, but chicken was hard to come by back then. My meals were omelets, pasta, and porridge.

My friend was also very attractive, had cozy carpets in her room, and dressed beautifully.

I loved my friend dearly, and as a teenager, I came up with a method. I’d put myself in her place—completely immerse myself in her life. Since we grew up together, it wasn’t difficult. And here’s what I saw.

I would have her parents, not mine. Her strict grandmother, not my loving one. My grandmother adored me, always listening with admiration and saying, "Anya, you’re so smart!" It would be hard to give that up, right?

And I would have her room, not mine, and her annoying, capricious younger sister. At this point in my reflection, I felt a sense of peace. No, not the sister! She caused us so much trouble by reporting our mischief to the parents! It sounds a bit silly, but the main point is: my method works, even for adults. Whenever I feel that hot sting of envy in my heart, I tell myself: imagine living that life. Understand? That means I wouldn't have my wonderful children, my amazing husband, my beloved cat, my fulfilling job, my cherished friends. No way!

In reality, I believe all the suggested methods are good. We can't transplant ourselves into someone else’s life. And something very important for me: as soon as I start feeling envy, I get scared—what if I lose what’s mine? Please, don’t take it away; I love it all so much, and I’m incredibly grateful for it!

It turns out that if there's any way to combat budding envy, the main weapon is something we return to time and again: gratitude. Thank you, Lord, for my life, for everyone around me, and for everything I have. It's all mine, and I’m deeply grateful for it.


Original article: https://radiovera.ru/eshhe-nemnogo-o-zavisti-anna-leonteva.html

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