I try not to be a jealous person, I really do! But, it’s one of my character flaws. I don’t think there is anyone out there who hasn’t felt jealousy from time to time. Let’s face it, there is going to always be someone who has something we want, and don’t have.
There are several kinds of jealousy
- Surface Stuff
One is over material things like a pair of shoes, a car, a house, a piece of jewelry, an electronic device, etc… and is perpetuated by our consumerist nature. This one is probably the most petty. I know, I sometimes see someone who has something nicer than me, and wish I could have that item- but this kind is also the easiest to shake off because these are only surface items. Sometimes they are impulse buys (ooooh shiny!). I know that if I save my money, I, too can get said item, or I can wait for it to go on sale, and usually by that time, I don’t want it because I realize there is something else I could spend my money on. I am blessed to never have had to want for material things, and to have the mentality to see “stuff” as just being “stuff”, so I don’t suffer from this kind of jealousy often.
Next kind of jealousy is more like an envy. This is for things that will take extra work that I just don’t have the time/skills for. I envy people who have the time and energy to exercise more than me- I sure would like those health benefits and a smaller waistline! I also envy people who have better/more education than me. They seem like they might have had direction and their plans in place when college was an option a bit more than I did. At this point, I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up- I’m pretty sure super hero and astrophysicist is out (don’t judge! I had to google how to spell astrophysicist, so if I can’t spell it- it’s out). This goes a bit deeper than the surface stuff, and stays with me a bit more.
- The Deep Stuff
Lastly, There is a very deep jealous envy. This is for things I cannot control, and have no way of having unless mountains move. These are things like, having a super metabolism- do you know how happy I would be if I could eat cake and ice cream every day and never weigh more than 110 lbs?!! or what a bout the people who never had to struggle for anything? The people whose worst thing that ever happened to them was like, they got a big zit on their forehead on senior picture day, but thankfully for them, the clear skin fairy came along and gave them a supernatural glow by the afternoon, just in the nick of time? You know the people who live happily ever after and have little birdies following them around when they whistle. WHAT ARE THESE PEOPLE?? FREAKIN’ DISNEY PRINCESSES??? OK that’s a stretch- but on a more serious note- I can’t help but watch reunion shows where adoptees meet their long lost biological parents and ride off into the sunset together, and just want to cry and crush the television. Or when I figured out that my adoptive brother found his half sister and was in contact with her, I cried for days, asking why that couldn’t be me? Why can’t I have the family I wanted to have? Why can’t I know my siblings? That, is the deepest envy and jealousy I feel. It is so mixed because I am happy for people who have contact and they get to learn the rest of their story. But boy does it sting that it isn’t me. And it’s a sting that is hard to shake.
Oh, Green- eyed monster, please, go away! I am embarrassed to have you with me. I have faith that all will work out for the greater good- I will have my answers one day. But, wouldn’t life be better if that green-eyed monster never reared his ugly face around here again? Maybe not. Maybe I should enjoy the struggle. Maybe I should control the jealousy monster, keep on keeping on, and then one day, when I get my dreams, I will appreciate them more! But, I would still like that being able to eat what I want without gaining a single pound thing, with like zero effort, so if you see that magical fairy (or the clear skin fairy) send her my way ok?
How can Foster – Adoptive Parents Help?
If your child is dealing with jealousy, you can help them change their thought process. Sometimes when we get jealous it’s easy to get lost in our negative feelings. Changing that thought process is not something that can be done in an evening but over a long period of time. Here’s an Activity that you can try with your child that helps them think of “replacement” thoughts.:
- Make a list of jealous feelings with your child
- Create a list of replacements for each feeling
(i.e. Getting plenty of sleep is imperative for foster/adoptive children. Your child might be jealous/upset that other kids in the neighborhood get to stay up late. There is a feeling of loss or missing out on something. What is their favorite thing that they get to do?)
- Spend some time with the replacement feeling
Talk about it, draw a picture, make a story about it… Basically, you want to make the replacement thought more memorable so that it can be recalled when that little jealous feeling decides to creep its way back into our heads