Thursday, May 29, 2008

Taming The Green-Eyed Monster

I read this post the other day and really thought it was worth sharing. I really like this Real Simple blog site, they have all kinds of interesting stuff everyday. In keeping with Jen's post from yesterday I will occasionally be blog-jacking something I either want to keep and/or share. Giving credit where credit is due, you will always find the source and quotation marks around the message.

Taming the Green-Eyed Monster

"Both of my parents worked so after school my sisters and I went to the babysitter's house across the street until they got home. She had a huge house, and it was full of children (her own as well as others). The great thing was there was always someone to play with but the challenge was with so many people around you had to jockey for attention.

One of her nephews only visited occasionally yet he made an impression on me because he never wanted the focus to be off of him (kind of difficult with 12 children running around). No matter what anyone said, his reply was always the same: "How about me?" Although I don't remember his name, I remember this annoying refrain because he was an only child who had a meltdown when it wasn't about him. Nowadays, we'd all like to think we've outgrown these childish habits. We don't have regularly scheduled meltdown moments unless we are members of that special breed of society called Drama Queens. But I digress...Yet instead of abandoning our feelings of envy we've learned to mask them. We've found more subtle ways to unleash the green-eyed monster.

One of my favorite signs of envy is the back-handed compliment. This is the worst kind of give and take because we are actually saying something nice and then peppering it with criticism. If we're caught doing this we often try to make everyone think that we are actually really happy about whatever the circumstance (even though we aren't). I realize that many of us have an initial response not so different from that little boy. We think to ourselves, "why didn't such and such happen to me?" Of course, we don't want to admit that this is our first thought. But it does happen to all of us. I think it's okay if the thought passes through your mind but doesn't take up residence. When those feelings hang around too long, that's when the problems begin.

So what's the best way to tame the green-eyed monster? First, you have to remember that life's peaks and valleys are different for everyone. When a friend is up we may be in the valley (or vice versa) so we need to celebrate those highs with them so they'll be there with us. Next, we have to see envy for what it is instead of acting like those feelings aren't there. I hate to mix metaphors but it really is the 800lb. pink elephant in the room. If you can see it, you're less likely to be trampled by its effects. Instead, teach yourself some new tricks and ride those feelings right out of your life. "

I really like this because haven't we all had people in our lives that are experts at the back-handed compliments. You go..."thanks", and then realize..."hey, wait a minute"? People can often get away with a lot in the form of a back-handed compliment, a "just kidding" remark, or just by being envious and selfish about everything. This is such a big part of the pride of this generation that President Benson talked about during his life time. It is also the 'scarcity mentality' that Stephen Covey talks about. I want to be aware of it and never catch myself engaging in it. It is so destructive and counterproductive to relationships.