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How to Kill the Hidden Power of Jealousy


No one ever looks in the mirror and says, “I’m a jealous person,” because it implies other people are better than us or that we’re weak somehow, and we’re always trying to protect our egos. Because it’s so hidden, jealousy is one of the most destructive problems of all.

I’m so good at pretending I’m not jealous that I can disguise my hate as “criticism” and “observation” and “keeping it real.” Certainly criticism doesn’t always come from jealousy, but you can tell when it does.

I can attack someone’s weaknesses and presume a whole bunch of other weaknesses by clever extrapolation, all while highlighting my strengths, and this makes me nothing more than a jealous, petty little hater.

During testimony-time at church when everyone is confessing all kinds of drug addictions and sexual deviance, I’ve never heard a single person say, “I’ve destroyed others with my envy.” No one ever says, “I’m straight up drunk from haterade.”

When you see someone better than you—and we all do—there are two ways to respond.

1. Find ways to downgrade their human value, then rationalize your own contempt as justified criticism.

2. Celebrate their achievements and generously promote their growth while learning from them in humility.

When you know a younger person who has potential …

Jealousy has a way of cutting in and holding back the next generation. Instead of seeing a future leader, you see a competitive threat who is messing up your mojo.

I’ve seen even the best of leaders clench their teeth as they raise up young disciples, ever so slightly keeping the youth at a lower level and withholding advice and downplaying all their success. What is that? What makes us do this? Why can’t we just hand over the baton?

A leader’s job is to work yourself out of a job. And you’re a leader somewhere, either passing on your life or hoarding it for yourself.

You have more wisdom and ability than you think you do. When you talk about your passion, you’ll say things you didn’t even know you knew. You have so much to give.

So it makes no sense to keep this all to yourself. We so often hold onto our positions of authority with a ridiculous nuclear death-grip. But without passing it on, it all dies with you.

I know letting go of jealousy feels like we’re losing something. It feels like we’re handing over years of sweat and hard work to a kid who doesn’t have to pay for the lesson.

BUT—someone in your life did the same for you. Someone learned through a horrible mistake for 10 years and passed it on to you in 10 minutes. Every generation before you has accumulated valuable truth for you to be equipped, prepared and successful. And even if you never had this sort of mentor, you’ve always wanted one.