Count Your Blessings—and Others’ Blessings Too
by Laurel Shaler
Are you ready to feel less jealous and feel more grateful? If so, take some time to count your blessings. Consider your shelter (regardless of the size of your home), your clothing (regardless of the brands), and your transportation (regardless of the mode). Consider your health and healthcare. Consider your achievements (and don’t let the world define them for you . . . what have you accomplished that God called you to?). Consider your education (no one can take it away . . . and this doesn’t only refer to degrees) and employment (or consider your retirement or your opportunity to stay home with children full time). Consider your freedom and safety. Consider your community. Consider your family and friends. Consider your church. Most of all, consider your faith!
But don’t stop there. Consider what you see in the lives of others that you can celebrate along with them. Theodore Roosevelt was right when he reportedly said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” When we compare ourselves with others, it robs us of joy. We start to compete with them. This competition drives us to want to be “better than”—and to become envious when this isn’t achieved. But if we can learn to truly be happy for the good things in other people’s lives, we’ll be far less likely to envy them for those good things.
If you struggle with jealousy, it may sound like a big leap to practicing gratitude. However, I think you’ll find that once you begin to count your own blessings, you will find that it is easier to be happy on the behalf of others. Sincerely happy. Romans 12:15 tells us to “rejoice with those who rejoice.” Paul knew what he was talking about. It really is important to be grateful not only for your own blessings, but for the blessings of others. When we can get to this point—even if it feels like a monumental task—we can get closer to our goal of ending envy. People who are grateful “have better relationships, are more likely to protect and preserve these relationships, are more securely attached, and are less lonely.” Now these are things to be thankful for!
Dr. Laurel Shaler is a national certified counselor and licensed social worker. She is an Associate Professor at Liberty University where she serves as the Director of the Master of Arts in Professional Counseling program. Dr. Shaler writes and speaks on the intersection of faith, culture, and emotional well-being, and is the author of Relational Reset: Unlearning the Habits that Hold You Back.