This past week a member of our church got a great leadership of youth award from the Diocese of Virginia for all of the work he's been doing as a youth leader. He's chairing the committee which is reorganizing our youth program, he's always available, has a huge heart for kids, and continues to amaze me with the time he puts forth. Even while he was fighting cancer he did everything he could to be available. On top of it all he's a scout master.
One of the things I'm always the most impressed with is that he's one of the few adults I know who is willing to do crazy things with kids. He understands that if it's not fun or ridiculous it's not going to bring kids.
During church they read the recommendation letter, highlighting a lot of the great things he's done and ways he's gone above and beyond what most volunteers do.
As horrible as it is, I stood there listening to this gushing and wondered... Why didn't anyone do this for me? Yeah, the big envy monster began rearing it's ugly head.
As the text by Moments in Time from the flickr image above says:
[Envy] can also be a sense of low self-esteem that results from an upward social comparison threatening a person's self image: another person has something that the envier considers to be important to have. If the other person is perceived to be similar to the envier, the aroused envy will be particularly intense, because it signals to the envier that it just as well could have been him or her who had the desired object.
Every day we compare ourselves to others. We need a bigger TV, our neighbors lawn is prettier than ours, my friend has more free time than I do, she's getting recognized for the same thing I do. That comparison can only lead down a road of self-doubt and frustration.
There are so many times we are sure we absolutely need something better. I bought my Chrysler Pacifica recently because I was convinced my old van was unsafe. But was it really that unsafe (though this new one with LATCH is much more convenient).
Before we buy that next big thing, or wish we were getting the award our co-worker received, it's important to remember the billions of other people who will never have close to what we already have. There are many other people who are also just as good as you are, and deserve awards as well. Focus on them and giving them congratulations, instead of worrying that you don't have an award yourself.
It's time to build people up, including ourselves.