If you've grown up in church, then you would no doubt be familiar with the "Ten Commandments." Of all the 600-plus ancient Jewish laws, the Ten Commandments were the only laws that were written "by the finger of God." You could openly interpret the other Jewish laws, but since the Ten Commandments came straight from God, there was no wiggle room for different opinions.
The very last commandment was "you must not covet your neighbor's house -- or anything that belongs to your neighbor." In other words, you must not get envious of your neighbor (or anyone for that matter). To "covet" means to have such intense desire that you would be willing to take inappropriate actions to get what you want.
"Coveting" begins with comparison. That is, when you look at what someone else has and compare that to what you DON'T have, then you start getting jealous. When you continue to dwell on what your friends have, then bitter feelings come up. If you continue to look at all the good things your buddies have, it could very well lead to inappropriate action. For example, if your co-worker got a promotion that you believe that YOU deserved, you might start smack-talking about that person to his or her boss. This could cause that co-worker to lose his or her position -- or even his or her job.
When you covet, you're not content with what you already have. You're not content with your own family, your own spouse, your own body, your own business, your own job, or your own life. You look at what others have and think that they are somehow better off than you. Coveting happens when you're more interested in another person than you are in your own self.
Here is the thing about coveting: it is an endless abyss that is never filled. No matter how good you have it, it is never enough because someone else has something better than you. Yes, you have a brand new car -- but you have a Ford while your friend has a brand new Lexus. Yes, you have a brand new house -- but your friend has a brand new house in Beverly Hills. Your friend's wife is prettier than yours. Your friend's husband is fit and athletic while yours is, well, not. Your friend's children are better behaved than yours. Your friend makes more money than you. See, coveting never ends. No matter how good your life is, your friend's life is better.
The gym environment is a place where coveting is the norm. It's hard to not compare your body to those Greek gods and goddesses at the gym, who have rock-hard bodies while you have a soft and gooey body. But even with the hulks and, uh, "hulkesses," they compare themselves with one another. Their pecs aren't as big as others. Their boob jobs aren't as nice as others. They aren't tanned as nicely as others are. They can't lift heavy enough. You're trying to bench-press 50 lbs while the person next to you is benching 400 lbs. You're trying to squat with 20 lbs while the other person is squatting 600 lbs.
If I had my own, very loose Bible translation, I might translate "you must not covet" to "you must not compare yourself." You must not compare your house with your friend's house, your spouse with your friend's spouse, your children with your friend's children, your income with your friend's income.
Listen, there will ALWAYS be someone who has something better than you. Getting envious of what other people have is like an addiction that cannot fulfill a desire. Imagine if the cigarettes and alcohol couldn't calm you down. You'd be smoking and drinking over and over until you finally kill yourself. Coveting is the same way: there is no end to it and you will covet until you worry yourself to the grave.
Comparing yourself to others never ends well. Ultimately, you lose. The other person isn't thinking about you, but you're thinking about him probably more than he's thinking about himself. The girl that you're jealous of doesn't even know that she's on your thoughts. When she's getting herself ready in the morning, she doesn't even know that you exist! So, why spend time envying over people who probably aren't thinking of you -- let alone envying you?
If you want to covet, then covet this: to make yourself better than yourself. You covet because you feel something lacking in your life. What you lack is not what your neighbors have: you lack what you don't have. You don't have self-control. You don't have contentment. You don't have certain skills. You don't have aspirations in life. You don't lack THINGS, because THINGS get broken. You lack personal values. You lack life goals. You lack the need for self-improvement. If you want to compare yourself to someone, then compare yourself to the person in the mirror. And the one thing you could covet is the need to NOT covet.
I could say that you have a lot of good things going for you -- but that may not be true. I could ask you to just be happy with what you have -- but you can't force yourself to be happy. I could say that if you live in America, then you're in the so-called "top one percent" of the world -- but that's simply comparing yourself to other people. It's like saying, "Well, I know that my life is screwed up, but there are people in Thailand who are more screwed up than me." Really, should you make yourself feel better by comparing your poverty to someone else's poverty? It shouldn't.
But this is what I would say: the only person that you need to pay attention to is YOU. There will never be an end to all the people who got better toys than you. But you only have ONE you and ONE life. Don't waste that ONE life that you have by going after what other people have. Don't waste YOURSELF by trying to be someone else. The other person is good at being himself. You are good at being YOU -- so focus on being the best YOU that there ever was. Let everybody else do the coveting -- because that's quite a stressful job that you shouldn't want.
All information in this blog are for inspirational purposes only. Unless otherwise stated, all content is written and copyrighted by Aiyo A. Jones.