How to Stop Being Envious of Others (Joyce Meyer)

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Battlefield of the Mind" by Joyce Meyer. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Do you constantly compare yourselves to others? Do you wish you had what they have?

Many of us live in a culture of competition. We feel that our value is measured by our success. Christian author Joyce Meyer asserts that this culture is not the way God’s kingdom operates, and we can free ourselves from the trap of envy if we adopt God’s values and perspective.

Keep reading for insights on how to stop being envious of others.

How to Stop Being Envious of Others

Meyer contends that Satan tries to trap us in a negative mindset by convincing us that our life is worse than everyone else’s, thus stoking envy. If we become envious of everyone else’s life, we’ll stop enjoying our own. Meyer explains that Satan uses our insecurities to fuel our envy. When we feel insecure, seeing other people succeed can make us unhappy because we focus on what we haven’t accomplished or what we don’t have. If Satan can keep us focused on the things our life lacks, he can blind us to the fact that God has set each of us on a unique and valuable path. Waking up to that fact is the key for how to stop being envious of others.

Meyer recognizes that comparing ourselves to others is a tough habit to change. Many of us live in a culture of competition, where our value as a person is measured by how “successful” we are. But while beating someone else may increase our value in our eyes, it doesn’t increase our value to God. Meyer urges us to remember that this culture of competition is man-made, not God-made, and that buying into the idea that we need to be at the top of our field to have value causes us to miss opportunities to enjoy our lives as they are. 

In addition to preventing us from enjoying our lives, Meyer notes that envy signifies that we may not be ready to receive God’s blessings. She explains that God wants to bless us, but he will not give us blessings that we’re not mature enough to handle. If our minds are trapped in a place of envy, it may be part of God’s plan to make us wait for blessings.

The Role of Social Media in Fueling Envy

Studies show that technology and social media exacerbate our insecurity and envy. This happens because people generally only post the very best moments and details of their lives online so that when we scroll through social media, it looks like everyone else’s lives are better than ours

Research shows that looking at social media leads to negative emotions because seeing something we want but don’t have can be an emotional trigger. This can even happen when we see our own lives posted on social media because when we look at our idealized version of ourselves, we may feel inauthentic and like we’re failing. 

Psychologists agree with Meyer that constantly comparing ourselves to other people can trap us in a negative mindset. They note that unfortunately, this problem can be hard to avoid as a great deal of modern life takes place online. Experts advise that to prevent negative emotions, you first remind yourself that social media is not “real life,” but that you also consider using feelings of envy for self-improvement. They suggest that if we see a post or photo that triggers our envy and insecurity, we try to understand what elements of that post we think are lacking in our lives. We can use these triggers as clues to areas we may want to focus on cultivating ourselves. Meyer might add that we can similarly use envy triggers to show us where we need to strengthen our relationship with God
How to Stop Being Envious of Others (Joyce Meyer)

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Here's what you'll find in our full Battlefield of the Mind summary:

  • How the Devil makes it his mission to corrupt our minds with negative thoughts
  • How to recognize the signs that Satan is attacking your mind
  • How to thwart Satan’s attacks and find happiness and fulfillment

Elizabeth Whitworth

Elizabeth has a lifelong love of books. She devours nonfiction, especially in the areas of history, theology, science, and philosophy. A switch to audio books has kindled her enjoyment of well-narrated fiction, particularly Victorian and early 20th-century works. She appreciates idea-driven books—and a classic murder mystery now and then. Elizabeth has a blog and is writing a creative nonfiction book about the beginning and the end of suffering.

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