Now, that's hard to do! How could you look at someone else's cool toys and not want those toys for yourself? Ask kids to learn how to admire someone else's new video game without wanting that video game!
But let me tell you, it's actually more liberating to simply admire than it is to admire AND desire something. It's tiring being jealous of what other people have. In fact, it's downright stressful to be envious of your neighbor's new job, new car, new house, or new business. It's stressful to want your grass to be as green as your neighbor's grass. It's stressful to want your spouse to look as good as your buddy's spouse.
If you are always thinking that your life has deficits, then you would always be stressed. If you are always thinking that your friends have it better than you, then you won't be satisfied with your own life. You'd be sitting on your couch crying about how you could never have nice things.
But if you could look at something and tell yourself, "I don't need this to enjoy my life," you could learn to admire a beautiful sight without wanting to be a part of it.
I like looking at nice houses. My family and I would just drive through certain neighborhoods and just admire the beautiful houses that we see. But we no longer desire those homes. We don't need those homes to make us happy. We are content with our little apartment, and if something better comes up, great! But we won't drive around your neighborhood with our heads out the window like dogs!
The key is contentment. Be happy and be at peace with what you have. Then you could learn to admire what other people have without being jealous.
And think of this: who knows what kinds of troubles come with your friend's new toys. He probably has to work two jobs just to have it! She probably has to put most of her money into her brand new home. The gorgeous couple you see probably have lots of marital problems that you don't have.
Again, be content with what you have and learn to just enjoy the sight of other people's success without envy.
We have friends who seem to live the dream life. The wife is at home with her child, and her husband makes enough money to pay for everything: two cars (one being brand new), a home, bills, goodies, you name it. But the husband HATES his job! If I'm going to be envious of what they have, I better be willing to also get a good-paying job that I hate. I can't just want to acquire one thing and not the other.
You see, I look at the things I have going for me, things that make me proud. I have a lot going for me, and these are the things I need to focus on. I don't need to focus on someone else's life. I need to look at what I have and to admire what I have. I could also admire what you have, but I don't need to want your stuff. You keep yours, and I'll keep mine!
There is nothing dangerous about looking at things that please your eyes -- unless you're looking at someone else's spouse with lust. But train yourself to "look and not touch." That is a lesson we parents teach our kids when we go to the stores: you don't have to touch everything that you see! Same thing for you: learn to simply admire from a distance without wanting to do anything further. You already have something good going on in your life.