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Overcoming jealousy


purplejackmama
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Who among us has suffered from that constant nagging jealous feeling? How did you overcome these feelings? I'm struggling. I'm embarrassed to admit it, I want to change.

 

I specifically struggle with financial jealousy. Friends who seem to always "strike gold" or have a much easier path than we do. Petty. I know. Help me.

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You're not alone.  I struggle mightily with this.  My problem is more with other peoples' kids' accomplishments, particularly this time of year.  But, yeah.  Lots of jealousy/envy. 

 

Sorry I don't know how to help you.  I am a Bible-reading and praying person, so I try to focus on contentment.

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Oh my, yes. This has been my constant prayer for the past few weeks -- that I am able to overcome discontent.  

 

I know I have a LOT to be grateful for, but at the same time I see my younger brother building his (SECOND) custom home...while I've always lived in very small, older homes (in order to afford being a SAHM).  I want to be happy for my brother, but I so strongly wish I had that sort of opportunity, wish my kids could have a spacious and not-falling-apart home.  :001_unsure:

 

ANYWAY, yes.  You are not alone, though it is embarrassing to admit.

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I think it can be healthy just to acknowledge your feelings: "I feel jealous looking at x's gorgeous house, it hurts to not be able to give my kids the opportunities that y's kids have." These are real and normal feelings--acknowledge them, then move on. It helps me to remember that everyone has trials in life, just not the same ones. And it helps to remember the ways in which my family is blessed--we have so very much more than most of the world, we have each other, we have mostly good health, my husband has a job. There will always be people with more than me and there will always be people with less. Doing something to bless those with less, or just finding some way to serve others, goes a long way towards helping me feel happy and content.

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I think it can be healthy just to acknowledge your feelings: "I feel jealous looking at x's gorgeous house, it hurts to not be able to give my kids the opportunities that y's kids have." These are real and normal feelings--acknowledge them, then move on. It helps me to remember that everyone has trials in life, just not the same ones. And it helps to remember the ways in which my family is blessed--we have so very much more than most of the world, we have each other, we have mostly good health, my husband has a job. There will always be people with more than me and there will always be people with less. Doing something to bless those with less, or just finding some way to serve others, goes a long way towards helping me feel happy and content.

This. And I usually ask myself how much that thing would really mean to me, and how much I would change my life to have it. The answer is usually shockingly little.
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I have this struggle too.  What I have FINALLY found to work for me is to be intentional about reaching out to that person even when I don't want to.  Buy them a cup of coffee, call just to say "hi," or offer to babysit. It sounds weird, but when I try to "be nice to myself" I end up just stewing in my own self-inflicted misery.  On the other hand, when I focus my energy on being nice to them, I find my own walls breaking down.  There is more to everyone than that one issue I am jealous of.  When I focus on them as a person I fix my perspective, fix our relationship, and fix my own heart.

 

I just realized that this ^^^ sounds simple - it isn't.  It is the process of repeated action that has worked for me.

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I used to have this problem with a friend's family.  I was seriously jealous of how easy they always seemed to have it - easy pregnancy, ginormous house, $$$ wedding, always taking overseas vacations, the wife seemed to have the perfect work/life balance that I was struggling to achieve.  Like, serious giant green monster envy!  We were shocked when out of the blue they announced they were getting divorced.  It turns out the wife had stopped loving her husband years before and all the "stuff" - including having a kid - was an attempt to make her happy.  

 

I doubt everyone who I'd be jealous of has the same sort of skeletons in their closet, so to speak, but it's a good reminder to me when I'm feeling jealous that I'm only seeing part of the story.  Our friends who post photos on FB every weekend of boating on the lake?  They never eat out and their only other family vacations are road trips to visit family.  Every family has different priorities, and like LaxMom said, if I really think about it, nearly every time I wouldn't be willing to make the same trade-offs for the same reward.

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Sometimes it helps me to remember that my situation is frequently dependent on the choices I've made.  For instance, I look at my siblings two working parent families and they have paid of cars and paid off house, but remaining a stay-at-home mom has given us the flexibility to move with my husband's job. Yep, we're constantly buying and selling our home as we move to a new place but I have had the opportunity to live overseas in some awesome places. We may not have our home free and clear but we've seen the world.

 

Also, I remind myself that what looks good on the outside isn't always as idyllic when you know the other side of the story.  Everything comes at a price and sometimes the price is just too high - even if the purchase looks great  on the surface.  

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I think it can be healthy just to acknowledge your feelings: "I feel jealous looking at x's gorgeous house, it hurts to not be able to give my kids the opportunities that y's kids have." These are real and normal feelings--acknowledge them, then move on. It helps me to remember that everyone has trials in life, just not the same ones. And it helps to remember the ways in which my family is blessed--we have so very much more than most of the world, we have each other, we have mostly good health, my husband has a job. There will always be people with more than me and there will always be people with less. Doing something to bless those with less, or just finding some way to serve others, goes a long way towards helping me feel happy and content.

 

Yes, this.

This is what I was thinking, but maize said it so beautifully.

 

It helps me just to call a spade a spade.  I say to myself, "I am so jealous that so-and-so does/did/has such-and-such!"

I might follow that acknowledgement with a question of why I feel so strongly about it.  I might do a little soul searching, then I just try to drop it.

 

If it's something I really want, I'll try to come up with a way to get the funds, or the time, or whatever resource I need to get it.  Frequently, that will lead me to realize what I'd have to give up to acquire it, which will remind me of the choices I've made and the blessings I have (which the other person may not enjoy).  Eventually, I either find a way to get what I desire, or I realize that the other things I have are too precious to exchange for it.  

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If it's something I really want, I'll try to come up with a way to get the funds, or the time, or whatever resource I need to get it. Frequently, that will lead me to realize what I'd have to give up to acquire it, which will remind me of the choices I've made and the blessings I have (which the other person may not enjoy). Eventually, I either find a way to get what I desire, or I realize that the other things I have are too precious to exchange for it.

Same here, but oftentimes the thing I'm envious of is not material, is not something I can buy. When I was young and my SIL got married, I was so envious of her parents' attention and care for her (why couldn't my parents be like that???), I remember weeping about it the night after her bridal shower. These are still the types of things I am likely to envy.

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My father is a pastor in a VERY wealthy congregation in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the US.

 

I have NEVER seen the level of problems, of all types, in any other congregation he has been in over the last 30 years.

 

It serves as a stark reminder that the large beautiful mansion, the private prep schools, the expensive cars and the fancy vacations do not serve as a defense against life's problems.  And in some cases it appears to exacerbate certain issues.

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Same here, but oftentimes the thing I'm envious of is not material, is not something I can buy. When I was young and my SIL got married, I was so envious of her parents' attention and care for her (why couldn't my parents be like that???), I remember weeping about it the night after her bridal shower. These are still the types of things I am likely to envy.

I was jealous of a younger woman's singing ability, especially since she sort of stepped in and took over something I had previously done. She never actually "took" anything from me. She was asked, but still it hurt. Then I realized that she had her own issues and struggles. I also came to the conclusion that the world is big enough for many different singers, artists of all kinds, etc. The world is a big place, and made richer by each person's unique contribution. Then I could actually be happy for her, and hope that she persevered through whatever struggles she had.

 

Other people who have something I don't, whether it is an ability or material possessions, etc., really are not taking anything away from me. It's human to feel jealous or envious sometimes, but remembering the above has helped me so much.

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I usually deactivate FB for awhile, lol. It hurts to see people doing thing as a family, vacations, date nights, surprises, etc.

 

I know people usually post only the highlights on FB but it still gets me.

 

After a few weeks I am usually better.

I agree with this. I quit Facebook. It helped a lot. I want to be happy for my friend's kids, and my friends, but Facebook just left all their sharing of accomplishments feeling... Disingenuous? Fake? Showy? I know it's me, but when someone tells me something in person I'm honestly happy for them... on FB, not so much. I'm glad I left it, it's been very healthy for me.

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You are in good company!  :)

I've been a little envious here and there when others seem to have an "easy life" compared to ours. But more often than not, I have come to realize - sometimes years later - that it was not really easy for them. They may not have struggled with whatever we were struggling with at the time but they certainly had other struggles. And some of those I would not want to have to go through myself.

 

Also, I think starting a gratitude journal helped me. Just list 5 things every day for which you feel thankful - those can be very everyday, mundane things but they are somehow in your "positive" column.

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:grouphug:

Who among us has suffered from that constant nagging jealous feeling? How did you overcome these feelings? I'm struggling. I'm embarrassed to admit it, I want to change.

I specifically struggle with financial jealousy. Friends who seem to always "strike gold" or have a much easier path than we do. Petty. I know. Help me.

 

btdt. some background for context -  my grandmother (very influential in our lives) allowed her jealousy to eat her up - and even in her 70's/80s she was very jealous of her sisters having "more things".  (she bought the message from the "whoever dies with the most toys wins" bumper sticker.)  she was jealous of me having a "house" when my sister rented. (she gave her the money for a downpayment so she could own a house too.)  she was jealous when I bought a minivan (before suvs) so she gave her money for a minivan "like mine".   we grew up with a big emphasis on "things" being more important than people.  the more things you had, the better you were.

 

I had friends who had nice things, had their kids in lots of activities, had things go financially well.  we had reverse after reverse - and when we thought things were finally settling down - we'd have more reverses. (it got to be a sick and twisted joke.)  It was very painful at times.  (hearing one complain about paying tax on exercising stock options while we were going through long-term unemployment was a bit much . . . . . )

 

we aren't here to compare ourselves to others, but to ourselves.  how is our growth? are we a better person today than yesterday?  do we sincerely care about other people?  somehow, I came to believe if I couldn't be happy for other people who had good things come to them (and root for them to succeed in something good) - why should *I* expect good things to happen to me? (this was still early in my "reprogramming" my thought patterns of my youth.)

 

learning to serve other people and help lift them up.  strengthen the feeble knees and lift the arms that hang down.

 

the other thing I've come to firmly believe - NO ONE gets out of life without having hard things to go through.  some are public, some only in private.  some are quick and deep, others are long and persistent.  some come early in life, and some come late. some last the entire life.  some will elicit sympathy from the masses - and others sanctimony from those who "know better".  we don't know what others have gone or will go through - there is something to walking a mile in someone else's shoes.

 

there is one alliteration I appreciate.  God knows who's standing in a hole, and who's standing on a chair - that's why He measures growth, not height.

 

:grouphug:

 

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This. And I usually ask myself how much that thing would really mean to me, and how much I would change my life to have it. The answer is usually shockingly little.

 

I'm told my fil had a great question to ask before buying a "thing". (mil is a shopaholic - no exaggeration)  where are you going to put it? and do you want to dust it?

 

another friend (one with the house, vacations, etc.) commented you spend the first five years of marriage accumulating "things" and the rest of your life trying to get rid of "stuff".  (so much truth in that one.)

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I went through a rough patch before my last pregnancy. Instead of trying to eliminate jealousy, I focused on cultivating gratitude. I got a fancy bound book and tried to write down five things I was grateful for every day. It got me in the habit of appreciating what I already had and also calmed down the comparisons. I also like looking back through my lists I kept that year. I don't journal regularly, but I can remember what was going on by what I was thankful for.

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I don't know how to overcome it. I try not to think about what others have, but particularly since I feel that my life is valued based on what I achieve, to some extent, materially, I get frustrated when I don't achieve what I want. Or when I achieve the "wrong" thing, like a solid career that doesn't make a ton of money.

 

Pretty much the only thing that makes me feel better is healthy children. I know how incredibly hard it is to get four healthy, bright kids, even in a blended family, so I just focus on that. I know that any rich family with 100 or even 1000* what we make would give it all to get back one baby miscarried, one child lost, one child with an illness. I know that with 100% certainty. So I try to think--in that sense, we have our million dollars. It is really the only thing that brings me any comfort in the fact that I chose a career in a very unsustainable field because of extremely bad advice. :(

 

I don't know how I'd deal with jealousy regarding breastfeeding, pregnancy, or child health, I really don't.

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You really don't know the other person's/other family's whole story. There was a family I knew of (not close friends but acquaintances) who seemed Perfect. Perfect house and yard, one son upon whom they lavished attention, and they seemed happy. The boy was a star athlete. Here we were with our large brood, sometimes squabbling, definitely not-perfect yard, cluttered house. Kids with several siblings have to sacrifice. You can't do everything with everyone. They were in sports but not star athletes. I felt a twinge of jealousy when I saw the Perfect family.

 

Years later there was a painful divorce. The Perfect family had suffered for years, especially the wife, smiling on the outside but desperately unhappy on the inside. A mutual acquaintance told me the painful story and I went home and hugged my husband and thanked him for being the husband and dad he was, and is. You just never know.

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Some of it is indeed about choices.  We have chosen NOT to go into debt over things and take extremely frugal vacations, although I shop for deals and to some it may look like we spend a lot.  We don't, at least not compared to most.

 

The things that help me:

 

1. some of these people posting on FB I *KNOW* don't live the "everything is wonderful" life they portray on FB, so I imagine others don't either.

2. I know we don't see the whole story

3. Count my own blessings.  I have many and it is easy to forget sometimes.

 

But I still struggle.  It is human.

 

Dawn

 

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When I start feeling jealous I look at the people who have less then I do.

 

I might not own my own home but I don't live on the streets.

 

My kids might not have expensive outside activities but they are not in foster care.

 

We might not be able to take vacations but we have enough money for our needs.

 

Truely there are so many people doing worse then me I have no right to complain. Taking a browse on go fund me and seeing all the really terrible things that happen to people always makes feel grateful again.

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I think most struggle with at least some jealousy. It is true that we never know the full picture but then again what does that matter? Does it make us feel better that someone went on a nice vacation but is in debt up to their eyeballs? I really don't think that focusing on the negatives of others is a good way to find contentment with ourselves.

 

What I try to do (sometimes successfully and sometimes not) is to acknowledge my negative thoughts when they start and consciously tell myself to stop and redirect my thinking, don't let it wander, don't let yourself down the road of I bet they this or that, the only positive place to take those thoughts are onto your own blessings, choices, and priorities. You are making your own life and no one elses. 

 

I just felt some jealousy this week, my mil was telling me about the activities that my nieces and nephews were doing, not in a malicious way but just in a updating me about their family. I felt that twinge and then I started to wander to the, "oh, they're just so busy they don't spend time together." Nope, gotta put a stop to that. Good for them, we've chosen differently and I purposely decided we would be less busy and turned down activities. It is not because we are superior or such but just on a different path and there are many ways to happiness. 

 

My happiness doesn't hinge on others being unhappy. My happiness and contentment are related to my own outlook on life.

 

Anytime jealousy comes up it is a time to re-evaluate my own life. What are my goals and priorities, am I living them? What steps can I make to live them more fully?What do I have that I need to feel thankful for? Really and truly if we look at the world at large it is hard to complain, not that one has to have it worse than 3rd world countries to complain but I think most of us (myself very much included) need to remember that far more often. 

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You're right, but it doesn't have to be about them. It could just be the concept. I'm jealous of the concept of being able to afford going on a nice vacation. Not jealous of a vacation with a bunch of strings attached.

I'm sorry if it sounded like I was referencing a specific post... I was just throwing out an example, I should have went through to read more clearly so it didn't come off like a chastisement but was more general.

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It's ok. I started reflecting and I know there were times when I probably was jealous of the parties! More like bitter at first? Because they managed to afford trips that dh and I cannot and I know what they do for a living and know they don't have college degrees so I was baffled. Dh has pointed out to me that they were not paying on student loans like us. Like a pp said life is about choices. I need to just be happy with ours. I know, that is probably awful I thought these things.

I struggle with it horribly myself, comparison really does rob contentment though so I'm trying really hard to reign it in. There will always be someone with more, it is hard to accept that as a perfectionist but it is so true. 

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Same here, but oftentimes the thing I'm envious of is not material, is not something I can buy. When I was young and my SIL got married, I was so envious of her parents' attention and care for her (why couldn't my parents be like that???), I remember weeping about it the night after her bridal shower. These are still the types of things I am likely to envy.

 

I've been here too.  It's okay to mourn these things.

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Who among us has suffered from that constant nagging jealous feeling? How did you overcome these feelings? I'm struggling. I'm embarrassed to admit it, I want to change.

 

I specifically struggle with financial jealousy. Friends who seem to always "strike gold" or have a much easier path than we do. Petty. I know. Help me.

 

What is upper-most in your thoughts when you feel "jealous" - that you have a perceived less-than, or that someone else has a perceived more-than? Are you frustrated that they got something and you didn't; that they told you/showed you they got something; that they got something without any work; or something completely different?

 

My boys will sometimes feel jealous about something another brother got to do. I assumed it was because they wanted to do that specific thing, too, but that's usually not the case. They're just mad that the brother got something and they didn't. They didn't care about the activitiy, never asked previously to do the activity, and probably wouldn't have even wanted to do it, but it just irked them that their brother got a perceived "treat" and they didn't.  When I remind them that they just got, or will soon get to do something they actually enjoy, they relax.

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When I start feeling jealous I look at the people who have less then I do.

 

I might not own my own home but I don't live on the streets.

 

My kids might not have expensive outside activities but they are not in foster care.

 

We might not be able to take vacations but we have enough money for our needs.

 

Truely there are so many people doing worse then me I have no right to complain. Taking a browse on go fund me and seeing all the really terrible things that happen to people always makes feel grateful again.

I don't mean to single you out, but I think it is problematic to soothe envy by focusing on people who have even less and even worse circumstances than oneself. This is still equating happiness with ease and wealth. If one goes through a "Job experience" and suddenly loses all those things they were previously using to comfort themselves, they are now in danger of despair. I don't think any of us should nurture feeling better about our plight by way of pointing out worse-off others.

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I was thinking about this and how to phrase my feelings. I feel jealous that friends and family members have larger homes and take more fabulous vacations than we do. But then, we chose for me to stay home with our kids and DH chose to work for a smaller firm with more family-friendly hours. I get to have DH home for dinner most nights, even if he is on his laptop working next to me in bed some nights. He could be working for a corporate firm and we'd never see him.

 

I was thinking of how some mentioned that we never know what goes on behind the closed doors of another family, but some people really are happy, and more financially secure, and everything else that one might wish for. For my own contentment, I need to be happy for them and find a way to be happy with what I have. I'm working on it. It's not easy though.

 

And some people really do put on a good show. When I was in high school perfect-seeming family with the fabulous house in the wealthiest neighborhood ended up shattered when the mom committed suicide in the middle of a tumultuous divorce from her cocaine addict husband. They seemed to have a charmed life to everyone on the outside before that. I don't wish that sort of heartache on anyone whose large house I envy, but I try to remember that my tiny house is full of love and a few amazing little people I get to watch grow.

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I don't know that I have good advice.  I used to think I wasn't one to get very jealous of others, but recently I have been incredibly jealous of people announcing pregnancies. Especially when it's someone who I know was actively trying to prevent.  I really want another baby, and we've had miscarriage after miscarriage in the past couple years.

 

Last week someone we love announced she'd gotten a positive test (only that day!) and I cried. I actually cried.  Thank God I heard on the phone and could escape and didn't have to face the couple in that moment.  I'm happy for them, but it's hard.

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I don't know that I have good advice.  I used to think I wasn't one to get very jealous of others, but recently I have been incredibly jealous of people announcing pregnancies. Especially when it's someone who I know was actively trying to prevent.  I really want another baby, and we've had miscarriage after miscarriage in the past couple years.

 

Last week someone we love announced she'd gotten a positive test (only that day!) and I cried. I actually cried.  Thank God I heard on the phone and could escape and didn't have to face the couple in that moment.  I'm happy for them, but it's hard.

 

:grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:

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I try to remember that although I may feel jealous of others about some things, they may feel jealous of me for my blessings too. For example, we are financially blessed. I am thankful. But my dh has health problems, such that I cannot always rely on him. I'm jealous of other families where dad runs around with the kids. I try not to dwell on it though, and focus on the positives. Now if your brother flaunts his wealth, that would make it harder.

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I don't know that I have good advice. I used to think I wasn't one to get very jealous of others, but recently I have been incredibly jealous of people announcing pregnancies. Especially when it's someone who I know was actively trying to prevent. I really want another baby, and we've had miscarriage after miscarriage in the past couple years.

 

Last week someone we love announced she'd gotten a positive test (only that day!) and I cried. I actually cried. Thank God I heard on the phone and could escape and didn't have to face the couple in that moment. I'm happy for them, but it's hard.

(Hugs) yeah, I've been there.

 

One of my friends called me a couple of months after my baby died in labor. She announced how she was shocked to find she got pregnant instantly with her third child, she wasn't even ready, she can't believe how fast it happened, blah, blah, blah...my third child had just died, man! And we had tried for over a year to get pg.

 

I was very jealous of pregant women or women with baby girls for several years.

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(Hugs) yeah, I've been there.

 

One of my friends called me a couple of months after my baby died in labor. She announced how she was shocked to find she got pregnant instantly with her third child, she wasn't even ready, she can't believe how fast it happened, blah, blah, blah...my third child had just died, man! And we had tried for over a year to get pg.

 

I was very jealous of pregant women or women with baby girls for several years.

Oh Quill, that must have been awful!  I am so very sorry.

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(Hugs) yeah, I've been there.

 

One of my friends called me a couple of months after my baby died in labor. She announced how she was shocked to find she got pregnant instantly with her third child, she wasn't even ready, she can't believe how fast it happened, blah, blah, blah...my third child had just died, man! And we had tried for over a year to get pg.

 

I was very jealous of pregant women or women with baby girls for several years.

 

:grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug:   I'm so sorry.

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I think jealousy is normal -- most people just don't admit to it.  I've struggled with it.  What cures it?  Life and age.

 

the only thing that "cured" my grandmother was dementia.   in the meantime she lived a very very bitter life- and then she became oblivious to nearly everything.

 

I don't know that I have good advice.  I used to think I wasn't one to get very jealous of others, but recently I have been incredibly jealous of people announcing pregnancies. Especially when it's someone who I know was actively trying to prevent.  I really want another baby, and we've had miscarriage after miscarriage in the past couple years.

 

Last week someone we love announced she'd gotten a positive test (only that day!) and I cried. I actually cried.  Thank God I heard on the phone and could escape and didn't have to face the couple in that moment.  I'm happy for them, but it's hard.

 

:grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:   I'm so sorry.

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I don't know.

 

I think...well...it's just stuff.

 

I honestly think that cultivating gratefulness, noticing the everyday blessings and writing them down and breathing a prayer for this moment is just so helpful to me.

 

Have you read 1000 Gifts by Anne Voskamp?

 

I don't think that focusing on others , whether thinking they have more but with some secret heartache, or less is the secret to contentment. It's noticing the beauty in where you are. The loveliness that surrounds you.

 

Whether its a baby's sweet giggle, the way the light slants across the room every morning, the hummingbird that visits your garden each day, or just closing your eyes and really listening to the sounds in your home...children chattering, the sounds of the mockingbird singing outside the window, the windchimes dancing in the breeze....when I am aware, really looking for my own gifts in my own life, I have little energy left to envy others.

 

So maybe just stop several time a day and sense the beauty in each moment. Write it down. Tell your kids thank you for just being them. Notice the little things... the soft cotton of your blouse, the cool breeze, the smell of the chocolate chip cookies you just baked, and be grateful and love your own life.

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I tend to have more envy of people that have it all together. Clean houses, nice kids. I'm messy and disorganised. I don't generally envy things much. I have signed up for sale emails to try be more frugal. I have realised that there's nothing like having an email full of nice things sent your way every single day to make you discontented with what you have. I have decided that it's not worth the money I saved to be worth having something messing with my state of mind like that.

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I tend to have more envy of people that have it all together. Clean houses, nice kids. I'm messy and disorganised. I don't generally envy things much. I have signed up for sale emails to try be more frugal. I have realised that there's nothing like having an email full of nice things sent your way every single day to make you discontented with what you have. I have decided that it's not worth the money I saved to be worth having something messing with my state of mind like that.

I'm outta likes, but this is a very astute observation. I also agree with Sadie re: shopping as recreation. Flipping through catalogs = same result. It just makes me think, "oh, this is a better swimsuit than mine...I like this mirror set for my Dining Room...I wish my hair looked like this model's hair...those shoes would be perfect for the party...etc., etc, etc."

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We're in a financial position that I could, pretty much, buy anything I wanted. So I am not jealous about Things (though I never was for the 20 years when we counted every single penny).

 

But

 

I am, at times, insanely jealous about People, specifically those who have both parents living. I miss my parents every single day. I would give anything to have them back.

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I'm popping back into the conversation because I realize that i am jealous of close friendships.  I have one very close friend, and one very close cousin, but both of them live very far away.  I get jealous when I see local friends on Facebook, doing things together without me.  It feels like junior high, but it still hurts.  I'm not sure what to do with those feelings.  

 

 

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And I would give anything to get my husband back.  Recently, I had coffee with the mother of my daughter in law.  She had met my husband several times before he died two years ago.  I hadn't seen her since until I asked her out for coffee.  During the conversation, she said that she followed my posts on facebook and that I was an inspiration to her because my being a widow made her realize how fortunate she was to have her husband.  My jaw literally dropped and I gasped.  Then I controlled myself and said that I was happy to help her to be thankful for her husband and that I hoped that she would have him for many more years.  But I can't get her comment out of my mind that she is happy that she is not in my shoes which made me wonder how many people out there are happy too and also don't want to know what it is like either.  I feel like that  I am an object lesson in thankfulness for husbands.

 

Her comment made me realize that though I may be jealous of the women who are still married, I would not want them to know how it feels to lose a husband.  I'd rather that they stay happy and just enjoy their marriages without worrying about what the future might bring.  It's the same with any kind of good things people may have; money, healthy kids, achievements, big houses, and so on. I wouldn't want them to know how it feels not to have those things.   It's normal to be jealous and there's nothing wrong with that but if we dwell on the things we lack that other people have, that gets ugly because that might make me want them to experience my lack.

 

 Instead, if I choose to dwell on what I do have and be thankful, that makes it easier for me to be happy for other people and the relationships and things that they do have even if I may not have what they have.  Dwelling on those less fortunate than I am to make myself less jealous of those more fortunate than I am is using them and it doesn't help me either.

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