What did the red apple in Snow White symbolize? It symbolized the Queen’s envy and jealousy over Snow White’s beauty. This 19th century German fairy tale continues to speak of two emotions, envy and jealousy, that we all know to be negative emotions but yet they still exist today in our 21st century. Why is this? While we might be conscious of these emotions appearing in our life, they can be tough to eliminate which is why they continue to exist today. When these emotions appear, what strategies can we use to remove them?
According to Pastor Dave Koops of Coastal Church, “envy is I want something that someone else has”; it is between two people. Envy could include you wanting their riches, their style, their popularity, their “likes” on social media, or any other item that is held by another person that you do not have. Jealousy on the other hand, is between 3 people and arises when “somebody is giving attention to someone else and I wish I had it” (Koops, Sermon August 9, 2020). Both negative emotions that are based on wanting something that someone else has.
Let’s go out on a limb and say, that we have all experienced these emotions at some time in our life, the desire to want more, to be envious of the success of others, to be envious of how someone appears, to be envious of other people’s riches…to be jealous that someone is flirting with our spouse. But what does this lead to? It leads to confusion, it leads to a sense of “not being good enough”, it leads to fear, it leads to debt when we try to keep up with the neighbors, and it leads to short term happiness that ultimately doesn’t fulfill us for long.
What can you do when these emotions appear? You can close the door on them. Become cognizant that the emotion is appearing, be awakened to it showing up, then consciously say to yourself, “that you are grateful for the blessings you have and you are grateful that the other person is blessed with good fortune as well”(Koops, Sermon August 9,2020). In short, BE GRATEFUL.
Recognize that what you have achieved and where you are at in life is purposeful and perfect. You are in the right place at this time in your life and whatever your individual good fortune is, is meant for just you and it is something to be grateful for. Even when things are not feeling wonderful in your life, life itself is worthy of gratefulness. We are all provided the things we need, when we need them. Not before, not after but exactly when you need them. Even when you have hardships, this is purposeful. Hardships come to you because you need them. You need them to learn, to gain strength, to have growth and to be able to see the tough times so that when the easier times exist, you know to appreciate them.
When you start appreciating what you have in your life instead of wishing and hoping for what you don’t have, you will experience a sense of freedom. Freedom, true happiness, no judgement, less stress and truly a sense of gratefulness. So when the red apple and temptation appear, resist the bite of envy and jealousy and choose to be grateful for what you have.
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