We may think our envy is innocent, but it has enormous impact.
We begin by thinking, “I don’t have what I want.” We look around and notice someone who does have the thing we are lacking. Perhaps the thing we want is obedient children, or academic success, or financial security. We start to think about why they don’t deserve what they have. We pass judgment on them and their worthiness. If we can’t have it, we don’t want them to have it either.
For example: My child doesn’t understand Algebra. Their child is a whiz at Algebra. They didn’t even help their child study, and yet she understands. With how hard I’ve worked, I really deserve more. I wish I had an easier child like they have. This is undeservedly difficult.
Changing our thinking patterns will require a fresh start. Here’s one thing I’ve been trying lately, as suggested by Fred Luskin in his book Forgive for Good.
- H: Hoped-for outcome
- E: Educate ourselves on the situation
- A: Affirm our core beliefs
- L: Long-term goal reminder
In practice, this might look like:
- H: I hoped my child would learn to read quickly.
- E: Many children struggle with learning to read.
- A: Teaching my child to read is important to me.
- L: I will keep working with her until she can read fluently.
- H: I hoped my child would want to do this handwriting activity.
- E: Many children don’t like to be told exactly what to do and how to do it.
- A: I want my child to enjoy learning.
- L: I will look for ways to give my child freedom in our handwriting activities.
When I notice my grudges developing and my grumpiness increasing, I try to pause and help myself remember how to HEAL.