Envious; Ending Rivalry Among Female Relationships
“If envy were a fever, all the world would be ill.” – Danish Proverb
Envy; we have all felt it, but far too few of us care to admit it. Whether we care to acknowledge it or not, we have all been guilty of envy at some point in our lives. Intelligence, beauty and status are just a few among the many qualities that women rival about. Female relationships were intended to be empowering and uplifting. How is it that the very relationships we build our lives around (family, friendships, business partners) can unexpectedly turn from being a source of strength to a seedbed of competition, envy and jealousy where misunderstanding and treachery set in? We need to look no further than ourselves.
“Envy is rooted in selfishness.”
– Vickie Kraft
Envy always begins with a desire–a perfect body, a more prestigious job, greater talent; once again, the possibilities are endless. There is nothing wrong with wanting these things; the problem therein lies when we become so focused on what someone else has that we forget to acknowledge the things we do have. We then fail to recognize our own strengths and proceed to compare our weaknesses with someone else’s strengths. Talk about an unfair match! Craving someone else’s ideal qualities (that are unrealistic for you) creates an insatiable spirit of jealousy and competitiveness that eventually paves the way for bitterness/resentment. Cheryl Jacobs once quoted, “Never compare your journey with someone else’s…Your journey is your journey. It’s not a competition.” There will always be someone smarter, prettier, more talented than you and envy is a brutal taskmaster if you become its slave. I have fallen into this trap myself one too many times. If you let it, envy will drive you to a miserable lifetime of rivalry instead of an enriched life filled with empowering bonds and an atmosphere of unity and celebration within your female circles.
“Fish are friends, not food.”
– Finding Nemo
If you have ever seen the animated film “Finding Nemo” (2003), you may recall a shark named Bruce who calls a meeting with his fellow sharks for what would be the equivalent to a real-life “AA” meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to help encourage sharks to not eat their fish friends. During their meeting, Bruce has them recite the following motto: “I am a nice shark, not a mindless eating machine. If I am to change this image, I must first change myself. Fish are friends, not food.” I love this motto because it is a great reminder of the comradery we should have among our sisterhood instead of devouring each other through bitter rivalry. In order to get there, however, we must first change ourselves. Let us be reminded to celebrate each other’s successes and strengths and not cut each other down just to make ourselves feel higher or better about ourselves. Let “her” victory be an inspiration to you instead of the start of an endless cycle of competition and spite.
Take it from the wisest man who ever lived, King Solomon, who in Proverbs 14:30 writes: “A sound heart is life to the body, but envy is rottenness to the bones.” Don’t let envy rot your bones. Don’t let it steal the unique bonds and the source of rock-solid strength that can only be found in the beauty of female relationships. There is power in unity. We are all in this womanhood ship together– let the journey we embark upon be filled with encouragement, love, support and celebration for a stronger, united sisterhood!