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How to recognize and overcome jealousy

I have long believed that it is a genuine blessing that God's children are each unique, endowed with individual talents and gifts. I rejoice in that diversity, for it allows a fullness and balance to our life experience. In my lifetime, I have come to appreciate that differences are both a challenge and a blessing.

As I reflect on my lifetime and my personal interactions with people, I have discovered a pattern in those experiences where I have felt uncomfortable. In most cases, they have been people with similar gifts to my own, yet with just enough difference in strength as to cause me to doubt myself. After long reflection upon my personal struggle, I was forced to admit that the problem is with me, not with anyone else, and that what I was actually experiencing was jealousy.If I find myself feeling threatened and reminded of my inadequacies, I can do the following:

  • Replace those thoughts with something more worthy.
  • Focus my thoughts on gratitude for the personal blessings and endowments I have.
  • Think of a hymn. A good one for me is "Love One Another." That mental concentration allows the Spirit of the Lord to begin to penetrate and thereby raise the thoughts to a higher appreciation of someone else rather than envy of or competition with him or her.
  • Make the person of whom I'm jealous my friend.
  • Pray about those with whom I feel competitive and strive to see them as Heavenly Father sees them.
  • Serve them. In service, we invest part of ourselves in someone else. Love is the end result. - Name withheld, Oregon

Additional Information

WRITE TO US

Sept. 3 "How to help your children develop good study habits."

Sept. 10 "How to deal with unruly children in a home or Church setting."

Sept. 17 "How to encourage discussion during family home evening."

Sept. 24 "How to overcome challenges in your marriage relationship."

Oct. 1 "How to help children learn to follow the counsel of Church leaders."

Oct. 15 "How to avoid making fun of others."

Had any good experiences or practical success in any of the above subjects? Share them with our readers in about 100-150 words. Write the "How-to" editor, Church News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110, or send fax to (801) 237-2121. Please include a name and phone number. Contributions may be edited or excerpted and will not be returned. Due to limited space, some contributions may not be used; those used should not be regarded as official Church doctrine or policy. Material must be received at least 12 days before publication date.


How we did it:

Make differences strengths

Jealousy shows a lack of self-esteem, so when you can develop self-esteem, then jealousy disappears. As we come to understand that we are children of Heavenly Father and we are brothers and sisters and all are different, then we can truly be happy and rejoice in other people's successes. As far as parents trying to help children not have jealousy in the home, there are two mains suggestions:

  • Emphasize that each child is different. We can bring out their strengths.
  • Read the Book of Mormon because that does away with contention in the home.

In families where there is jealousy, it is often because the parents do not understand how to build up children as individuals. Family members need to support each other in activities. Whatever good activities they are involved in, praise them. Make their differences strengths. - Barbara Shurtz, Anderson, S.C.

Count blessings

I think jealousy can be compared to covetousness; and jealousy has to do with inadequacy as we compare ourselves with others. This all ties in with self-worth. I think we all struggle with that. I look at my own children struggling and comparing themselves with their peers in athletics or even in their Church activities, such as Scouting and Young Women. As mothers, we may compare ourselves with others in the ward who seem to be organized and who seem to have clean homes. I think we get to the point where we need to look for the positive in our situations to overcome these feelings of jealousy and inadequacy.

For example, my husband comes from a large farming family. Several years ago, three boys were farming together. They came to a point where their personalities and goals in the farming operation became divided, and we decided to divide the farm. The dairy went to one brother, and my husband and the other brother took the farm land.

But there were some bitter feelings. It took a while, but I began to recognize the jealousy occurring. I stopped to think about our situation, and I feel through the influence of the Lord I recognized that I had a lot of blessings. As I recognized and began to list all the things I was grateful for, I began to see my situation wasn't so bad, and we have become a close-knit family again. Since then, I've realized that if we look for the positive and count our blessings, we can rid ourselves of jealousy and feelings of inadequacy. - Eris Clayson, Firth, Idaho

No blessing withheld

I am single and sometimes become jealous of those who are married. I become very depressed, and then recognize it is not the Lord's influence I am feeling. I ask for forgiveness for ungratefulness, knowing the Lord holds back no blessing when we are faithful. We just have to be patient and wait until He says it's time.

I ponder on the things I can do - attend the temple, work on family history, go to college at night, have a quiet night of reading, go to activities with friends, etc. We all have our individual challenges and our individual blessings, and when we concentrate on what we do not have we will never appreciate what we do have. "Count Your Many Blessings" is great medicine no matter what your circumstances are. - Kathy Doan, Salt Lake City, Utah

True happiness

If you find yourself being jealous of someone for who they are or what they have, get to know them. You will find out that the grass may look greener on their side, but it probably isn't. You may find out that they have financial, marital or family problems. They will probably tell you they have insecurities just like you. They might even be jealous of you!

Heavenly Father gave us all different looks, talents and abilities. That is what makes life fun and interesting. Try to be happy for others' accomplishments. But don't think that just because someone is prettier, thinner or wealthier that they are happier. True happiness comes from inside by keeping the commandments. - Kim Haws, Newdale, Idaho

Recognize jealousy

It is sometimes difficult to recognize jealousy. I have discovered that if I find myself beginning to dislike a new acquaintance or someone that I hear about, I must stop and consider the reason behind my feeling. Often, I realize that I am jealous of the person's skills or talents. Sometimes I even feel threatened and feel that I may become less important next to him or her.

At these times, I can usually get over my jealousy by thinking through the effort the person has taken to develop himself or herself. Sometimes I just need to remember that Heavenly Father blesses us all in different ways. Then I think of the talents and blessings He has given me and my family, and I am able to put off the destructive feelings of jealousy and insecurity. - Rodger Shaver, Fort Myers, Fla.

Gain confidence

I tend to be jealous of people before I know them. However, once I get to know them, I find out that they have as many insecurities as I, and they feel about themselves the way I feel about myself. Also, I find that they often don't feel confident of the things about themselves that I am jealous of.

In addition, the more confidence I gain, the less chance I have of becoming jealous because I know my strengths. - Wendy Cragun, Murray, Utah


HOW TO CHECKLIST

1 Read scriptures, pray; this

lessens jealousy, contention.

2 Realize you are child of God

with your own talents, gifts.

3 Look for positive in your life;

count your blessings.

4 Rejoice in diversity; make

differences strengths.