Tonight Ty and Ben were snuggling with Jonathan on the couch and Ty said with a big grin “Mom aren’t you jealous??” He knew that of COURSE I would be SO jealous of Jonathan getting that cuddle instead of me!
This week I did feel really jealous about something. And it kind of made me think of all the things that are bugging me. And get annoyed at Jonathan about dumb things. And wonder “how is this where we ended up?” Nice right?
Since we all have felt jealous at some point (oh, not you? I’m so envious!) I wonder why it’s so hard to recognize or even say “I am feeling jealous, but I’ll get over it, just give me a second.” Maybe it’s because that would be admitting that not everything in our life is perfect? Or maybe we don’t even recognize the feeling and instead think we are annoyed, offended or whatever.
When Ben turned 8 we took him to the Scout store to buy a cub scout uniform. When we got there we were picking out accessories, taking pictures and making a big deal out of it.
Ty was there, and in general, he is either my biggest enthusiast or biggest complainer (never in between) as you can see.
But that day in the Scout store Ty called me over to the corner, put his little arm around my neck to pull me close and whisper in my ear “Mom, I feel a little jealous.”
It was so sweet. Of course I gave him a big hug and reminded him his turn would come soon! But it really touched me.
Why did he whisper it? Instead of his usual loud bursts of emotion? It reminds me that I don’t like to feel jealous either- and would probably be embarrassed to admit it (except on a blog my friends read?? Smart. 😉 )
I’m not talking about the dating, romantic kind of jealousy.
I’m talking about the kind that might be a little closer to envy which “occurs when a person lacks another’s superior quality, achievement, or possession.” (Or freedom to travel with their family, or the security of healthy children, or date nights with their husbands, or kitchens with enough space to make cakes AND dinner….. am I revealing too much?)
I don’t think those little twinges of jealousy mean we would trade places, or that we don’t love our lives. Or that we are not happy for others!! Sometimes they may just give us a goal to reach for, or motivation to do better at something.
I think it’s completely HUMAN to feel a twinge now and then, but to feed into it or let it continue can lead to an ungrateful heart. (And “make it hard to see our blessings and to appreciate the blessings God has in store for us in the future.”) How can I be grateful for all the blessings I have if I am feeling jealous of what someone else has? (Although…. how can life be hard for women who have really great hair? I just don’t think it can be.)
Sometimes I think that “jealousy” could be better defined as discouragement. When I’m struggling with something and see it go easily or happen for someone else……Sigh.
Or sometimes we might think we are being “jealous” when really we are just trying to let go of a life that is not for us.
A few weeks ago I drove past a friends and the gate was open so I had a quick glimpse of their swimming pool and out of the blue I felt like I got the wind knocked out of me. My first reaction was “how stupid!” Was I just being jealous? I tried to shove the feeling away. But I realized I felt more….sad. Maybe still mourning the fact that summers hanging around the pool are long gone for us. When I told a friend about it I got really emotional and felt really silly. When she said “That is SO normal to feel that way!!” it helped me to just acknowledge it and move on.
Kind of like Ty. He just needed to tell me how he felt, be reassured, then he was fine.
The best way I know to get back on track when discouragement, sadness, and yes, jealousy have thrown me off is to do something for someone else. I know- sounds trite but it works! And it helps me do what I have been meaning to do- write a note to say thanks for a lesson that really touched me, or pay special attention to my sweet kids, or tell someone the nice thing I was thinking about them but never said. Seriously it doesn’t take much as long as I’m trying.
Now- I’m off to kiss some sweet boys goodnight. Jealous?