Love Does Not Envy

Love does not envy. I find it fascinating that many of the characteristics of love mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13: 4 – 7 are stated in the negative. We are told not to be envious instead of doing the opposite. There are other examples. Love is not boastful or proud. Love is not self-seeking. Love does not delight in evil things. It is not easily angered. It does not keep a record of wrongs. It does not dishonor others. I find that fascinating because typically we want to state what we do want, not what we don’t want. In other words, we generally want to train a positive attribute not try to eliminate a negative. Yet, here we have a list of character traits we want to make sure we eliminate. One of those is envy. According to Carol Dwek’s research, a person with a fixed mindset feels threatened by others successes. That sounds an awful lot like envy to me. How do you eliminate envy from your mindset?

According to Carol Dwek's research, a person with a fixed mindset feels threatened by others successes. That sounds an awful lot like envy to me.

Love Does Not Envy: Self-awareness

Love does not envy because love is selfless and envy is not. To prevent envy from taking hold there are two essential steps. First, you need to become aware of when you are having envious thoughts. Envy is a negative emotion because when it becomes a behavior the action is characterized by bringing down the person you are envious of. If you look at what someone else has and say, “wow, look at that nice car my neighbor has. I sure would like to have one like that too.” That is not envy until you try to steal the car or in some way deprive the other person from having it or even simply try to attack their character for attaining that car. If you use that statement as motivation and an example of what is possible, it is not envy. Love cannot be envious because love is selfless. Love rejoices in the success of others and strives to drive you to achieve your best in whatever field you have chosen for yourself.

Once you understand and are aware of the strategy you use to become envious, you can interrupt the pattern repeatedly and install a new one.

Love Does Not Envy: The Beliefs, emotions, and strategy of envy

Becoming aware of envious thoughts would be step one in undoing the character trait. Knowing that love does not envy we need to be well aware when envy rears it head inside of us. Step two would be identifying the underlying beliefs, emotions, and strategy that elicits the envious response. After identifying the beliefs and emotions you would want to take away the lesson you need to learn from those foundational memories so you can let go of the emotions and beliefs. The most powerful technique for doing that is the use of Time Line Therapy[1] techniques, but it can also be done with cognitive behavioral therapy reflective practices.

Another way to change the behavior is to understand what the process you go through to create envy. Identify the strategy you use. Once you understand and are aware of the internal process you can interrupt the pattern repeatedly and install a new one. This takes self-discipline and a big enough why. It is also very challenging to do on your own which is why there are therapists, counselors, and coaches to help people do the necessary work. When training anyone’s mindset, sometimes the initial why has to come from external sources, but over the course of the training the objective should be to internalize the why and create self-discipline.

One reason I believe strongly in training teenagers is parents are there to provide initial external motivation and accountability. Teenagers also are at the stage of their life that their responsibility is to be a learner. That is their “profession”. The students I work with are rarely self-motivated to begin with. When they finally find that why and internalize it, real magic happens. Those who work with teens are constantly trying to make them thirsty, so they will want to drink the water when we lead them to the well. Training a mindset of love is no different and it needs to train the belief that love does not envy.

Love Does Not Envy:  Love heals, envy corrupts.

Envy can eat away at a person. If they don’t have a strong enough moral compass to not act on the emotion of envy, it will often create other emotions all of which tend to increase the stress one feels. If we want to develop a love mindset we must adopt the belief that love does not envy and work on becoming not envious. Those negative emotions get held onto inside and create unhealthy situations in the mind-body system. By training yourself to not be envious you are building a love mindset. As you build patience and kindness you are changing your thinking making it less likely envy can take route. To repeat, if you do find yourself infected with envy you need to get rid of the infection by finding the beliefs, emotions, and strategy attached to envy. Then like a good doctor you use the best available medical knowledge and skills to clean the wound of the infection.

I encourage you to go to our Growth Mindset Training Academy page. There is a great deal of valuable information there.

[1] Time Line Therapy is a registered trademark of Tad James.

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