Central to the elimination of jealousy in our lives is the need to develop a strong, positive self-image. If we are happy with who we are, we are less likely to be envious of those who are different. The following principles are essential in overcoming jealousy and developing a good self-image:
- Develop your own set of talents. The Apostle Paul wrote that not all will have the same gifts of the spirit. (1 Cor. 12.) The same is true of physical, social and emotional gifts or talents. I know members who feel less worthy because they do not know the scriptures as well as others, but I find I receive great blessings because these same people have developed the talent of living the gospel.- Strive to achieve greatness, but be able to recognize when you have done your best. Not everyone can get the highest grade or cross the finish line first, yet this is the goal that we set for ourselves. I remember placing last in the finals of a conference track meet when I was in high school. Was I disappointed? Yes. Was I jealous? No. To reach the finals, I had placed second in the preliminary race, and I had never done that well before.
- Become lost in the service of others. If you are doing for others, there will be no time for jealousy or envy. Your joy will be great as you watch those you serve succeed. As we lose our lives in the service of others, we develop charity, or the love of Christ, which envieth not. - Bishop Dwight P. Schwendiman, Rochester, N.Y.
How we did it:
Taught them to care
For several years our family of young children shared experiences with a non-member neighbor family of similar-aged children.
Regularly the mother would criticize one or the other of our children for insignificant occurrences, leaving them bewildered. I also recall her criticizing my serving of soup so often.
Determined to understand her, I vowed to know her better. I learned she was an alcoholic with personal difficulties. I explained to my young children that when Mrs. J hurt their feelings, it was because she was feeling unhappy inside. Maybe she wanted to be more like us but didn't know how to change.
From that day on, the children would say, "Mommy, Mrs. J is having a bad day today; she said something mean to me. Maybe we could do something nice for her." My children, one a foster daughter, had learned to forgive and love. One person's jealousy had taught my children to care. - Grace J. Davis, Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.
Humble yourself, pray
The process of overcoming jealous feelings for my beatiful, talented sister was accelerated when she raced past me on a runaway horse down a paved road. After trying to catch her horse, I reined in mine and instantly turned my mind and heart to Heavenly Father. I recognized my fault of jealousy. That humbled me, and I prayed, promising the Lord that if He would save Laura, I would never be jealous of her again.
Laura was thrown over a fence into some thorny bushes. She said it felt strange, as if she were falling in slow motion. She was fine. I was grateful and then able to appreciate her qualities. This change of heart blessed me further, because I then began to discover in her a lovely friend. - Beth Poindexter, Salt Lake City, Utah
What makes you jealous?
The first thing we must do when we feel jealousy is to seek to understand why we are jealous. What is missing in our lives that makes us feel jealousy to begin with? We also must realize that Satan loves a negative, jealous person. I suggest the following:
- Replace the negative thoughts with positive ones. Tell the person who made us jealous how glad we are that she achieved a goal.
- Work daily on achieving our goals, so we don't have time to be jealous of others. - Connie Bosworth Stevens, Phoenix, Ariz.
Jealousy can be a compass
The best way to deal with a "stumbling block" is to make a "stepping stone" out of it. Whenever I notice jealousy, it is because that person has something, or is doing something, that I want.
Rather than let hatred step in, I use the jealousy as a guideline to let me know where my heart's desires lie. I can therefore set goals toward developing a talent and develop a friendship with the envied one so that I can learn from her. I also examine my attitude to see if what I feel is so desirable, that it is truly worth the price that must be paid. Jealousy can be a compass, showing me that something in my life needs my attention. - Lora H. Kinder, Santa Ana, Calif.
My husband was unfaithful to me over the years with one woman in particular. I had so many harsh feelings for her, that at times it would make me physically ill.
I am now divorced and my three children spend time with their father and this woman. I had a hard time dealing with this at first. I prayed that the Lord would help me overcome the jealousy and hatred I had for her.
Since we are both aerobic exercise instructors, I felt compelled to ask her to teach a class with me. She accepted, and I found I was able to appreciate her talent. Whenever my children mention her name, I try to speak positively about her and point out good qualitites she possesses. This was so difficult for me to do at first, but I'm finding that with the Lord's help, the words come out easier and easier. - Name withheld, North Carolina
Check one's jealousy
Jealousy can stifle a relationship, whether it be a marriage or a friendship. It can even hamper our ability to perform Church callings. We should always check our jealousy and keep it from becoming a hindrance instead of a compliment. Our Heavenly Father cautions us to maintain self-control. Our emotions can be a blessing, as long as we are not ruled or controlled by them. We should do our best to change jealous to zealous. - Aeacelia M. Garcia, Plant City, Fla.
Praise jealous person
Don't let jealous feelings become angry thoughts. Discourage criticism, gossip and frequent giving of advise, especially when offered mainly to impress.
Praise the jealous ones for the persons they are, the talents they have and the things they do well. Give them encouragement. Be humble, and don't be conceited. Don't brag about your blessings or talk too much about your plans. - Name withheld, California
How to checklist:
1 Pray for ability to appreciate others' talents and gifts.
2 Seek to develop your talents, and build self-esteem.
3 Replace the negative thoughts with positive ones.
4 Use jealousy as a guideline to needed self-improvement.
WRITE TO US:
Aug. 6 "How to keep children from quarreling."
Aug. 13 "How to care for aged parents."
Aug. 20 "How to make the dinner hour a family time."
Aug. 27 "How to encourage and increase reverence in Church meetings."
Sept. 3 "How to overcome an addiction to TV sports."
Sept. 10 "How to appreciate and preserve the beauties of nature."
Sept. 17 "How to supplement the family income without leaving the home."
Sept. 24 "How to resolve disputes without litigation."
Oct. 1 "How to retain spiritual perspective in an academic setting."
Oct. 15 "How to capture the attention and interest of youths in teaching."
Have you had 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. Contributions may be edited or excerpted and will not be returned. Material must be received at least 12 days before publication date.