Jealousy. It’s not something I feel often. I truly am happy for other people’s success and I believe there’s plenty of good to go around.
But jealousy hit me hard the other morning. My son had accomplished something worthwhile and we were so happy for him. We wanted to celebrate with him ~ even if only for a few moments ~ but he didn’t have time. So, when he came to me the next morning to let me know he was on his way to go celebrate his achievement with another family ~ I was jealous.
- He wishes he was born into their family instead of ours.
- The other family always gets the best part of him and we get the leftovers. We really are chopped liver.
- He has so many other “moms” he doesn’t even need me (or want me).
With these thoughts swirling around in my mind, no wonder I was jealous. Someone else had what I wanted: to celebrate with my son; for my son to appreciate me and value our family. And so the jealousy continued….
But the good news is… jealousy is a choice (because our feelings always come from what we’re thinking). This means I had the option to keep feeling it, or not.
The other very real part of this experience is that I’m grateful there are other people in my son’s life encouraging him to do good things. I’m thankful for everyone who continues to love him even when sometimes he’s really difficult. Words cannot even express my gratitude for those who reached out to him when he chose to have nothing to do with us.
These thoughts feel so much better ~ and they are all true. Which just reinforces the notion that there’s always a choice.
If you find yourself struggling with feelings of jealousy and you’re ready to turn it around, go through these five steps and watch the jealousy begin to fade:
- Notice the jealousy before you react.
- Find the thought causing it (what is the underlying insecurity in yourself?).
- Decide if you want to keep thinking that thought.
- Decide what you want to believe instead (how could this situation be for you instead of against you?)*.
- Practice what you want to believe.
No one can go through life, especially parenting, without feeling negative emotion ~ even jealousy ~ but you also don’t have to stay in that negative place ~ even in parenting ~ if it’s not serving you. There’s always a choice.
*If you’d like to know how the experience I shared ended up being for me rather than against me, let me know in the comments or send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). I’d be happy to share.