LDS Singles

Thriving and Growing as an LDS Single


Leave a comment

Envy and Jealousy Among Singles

441px-Olmec_mask_802Everyone struggles with envy and jealousy, but I think that LDS Single Women, especially past a certain age, may struggle with it more. As the ratio of women to men increases as one gets older, it is more frequently a subject of jokes among Church members and also understandably a frustration for the women who are still single who long to get married. Of course, problems arise when anyone (men or women) succumb to the temptation to see this stage of life as more of a “competition” and less a matter of patience and serving one another. Understandable? Yes. But does it mean that we all end up hurting feelings from time to time, on top of dealing with our own hurt feelings, and making things more complicated for ourselves as well as others? Most definitely.

Something I learned today, from Vocabulary.com:

Envy/Jealousy

It’s no fun to feel envy or jealousy because both make you feel inadequate. Envy is when you want what someone else has, but jealousy is when you’re worried someone’s trying to take what you have. If you want your neighbor’s new convertible, you feel envy. If she takes your husband for a ride, you feel jealousy.

 Envy requires two parties, like you and that neighbor, when you want her new car and you wish you were the one riding around with the top down. You feel envy when you want something someone else has.

Jealousy requires three parties, like you, your neighbor, and your husband, when not only do you wish you had that cool car, but you’re worried your husband is going to ride off into the sunset in it without you. Jealousy is exciting because it shows up in lovers’ triangles and Shakespeare’s plays.

You can feel envy about something you don’t have but want, but you feel jealousy over something you already have but are afraid of losing, like that husband who’s always hanging out next door.

When are you envious or jealous?

In a dating context, or as a single, this list from author Carol Tuttle gives us some possible scenarios. Beliefs that limit us:

“I need to be special to a man to be loved.”
“I need a man to love me in order to feel beautiful.”
“I need to be special to a man to be worthy of love.”
“If I’m not with a man, I am not lovable.”

Other issues (It only takes one!!)

Do you often compare yourself to others?
Do you base your value on your outward appearance?
When you are around other attractive women, do you feel inferior?
Do you perceive other women as a threat?
Do you often feel overlooked or that no one really “gets you”?
Do you feel you really deserve something but it seems like others steal your chance for success?
How do you respond when another woman you know gets something you want? (A raise, a promotion, gets engaged, has a baby, etc?)

I think Satan will always tempt us with these, but we don’t need to be discouraged. Instead, when we find that the answer to one of these is “yes,” we can turn to our Savior and our Heavenly Father and those who love us to strengthen our fears and learn to be happy for each other instead of believing that the blessings that others have mean that there is less for us. This excerpt from a 2012 talk from Elder Holland is a great reminder of that:

 

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland: Avoid Envy. March 31, 2012

Full video and text here

Cornichons_Vlasic_Pickles_1

Want to drink some pickle juice?

 

5 Ways ‘The Bachelor’ Is Hurting Women—And What We Can Learn From It

photo by Paolo Neo

photo by Paolo Neo

 

from Carol Tuttle: 

“First, let me be clear that I’m not making a judgment about any of the women on the show and certainly not on anyone of you who may enjoy watching it.

This is simply my invitation for us all to be more aware of what this show is telling us—as well as challenge us to examine our own emotions and beliefs about ourselves so we can all become more conscious and compassionate.

Even if Carol’s “Energy Profiling” isn’t your thing, this is a great article: 

Are you a contestant trapped on ‘The Bachelor’ without even realizing it?

How you are you playing out this drama in your own life?

“Take a moment for some self-reflection to examine your own thoughts and emotions about yourself:

  • Do you often compare yourself to others?
  • Do you base your value on your outward appearance?
  • When you are around other attractive women, do you feel inferior?
  • Do you perceive other women as a threat?
  • Do you often feel overlooked or that no one really “gets you”?
  • Do you feel you really deserve something but it seems like others steal your chance for success?
  • How do you respond when another woman you know gets something you want? (A raise, a promotion, gets engaged, has a baby, etc?)”

Read more HERE.


3 Comments

Jealousy, the “Green-Eyed Monster”

ImageCattiness, jealous, envy, pride: all oft-used synonyms for what we call “the green-eyed monster.”  Valentine’s Day, or “Singles Awareness Day” (not my favorite term, despite my single status) is coming up and is likely to bring out in some of us the envy of our friends who are married or in relationships. And please remember, that while I’m writing this, I’m speaking in generalizations.  We are all jealous or envious (pick your favorite term) from time to time in our lives.  I will speak of it as a lifelong battle for all of us because all of us will need to improve upon it, in different ways, throughout our lives, whether single or married.

Image

Olmec-style mask from Tabasco (Mexico).

I think that I need to bring up that “cattiness” is often brought up as a frequent negative aspect of relationships between women because it is unfortunately true.  Sometimes we can be wonderfully supportive of each other, and sometimes not.  Whether it’s because of our chemistry or more because of sociology, I’m not sure, but women do seem to tote around the unnecessary burden of jealousy and act accordingly more than single men do.  If I were to write a “Top Ten list for Women” the same way that my former bishop, Steve Lang, did for the men, I’m afraid that I’d think this was probably up there pretty high for the sisters. Not that I could count myself out of that, of course!  The realization of it hits all of us from time to time, including the men. Whether it gets us all in the same areas, including dating, is probably not the case.  But, we all deal with it.  I think all of us could come up with examples of times when others treated us poorly out of envy or jealousy, and times when the tables were turned and we were the green-eyed monster, whether we were completely conscious of it at the time or not. One difficulty of this subject is, of course, is that marriage and companionship are righteous desires.  Of course these are good things for us to want! So how do we deal with the disappointments and resentments when they come along, and learn better each time how to not take them out on others? I think that the first thing to remember is that dating, like life, is not a competition.  Remember that the Lord knows what we need, and that “what is for us will not pass us by.” Image It is, undoubtedly, difficult to watch so many friends, family members, and strangers get married without the temptation to wonder why, to try and compare ourselves to them, and get angry at life and at Heavenly Father.  But we can have faith that there is a way through the trial, and eventually we will have our most righteous desires, even if sometimes that seems to be so far in the future that it will never come.Image

Another deep-seeded belief I think all of us have to some degree, but that we deny the existence of until it comes out because of an additional trial in our own lives,  is that if we do our absolute best that we will be able to avoid some of the trials that we fear the most, which often end up coming true.  I think almost every person reading this has at some point denied this, but as in learning the principle of patience, it ends up being a continual lifelong lesson.  Fear of the unknown is a strong pull for every child of Heavenly Father.  We don’t want to be the person who still isn’t married at the end of our lives.  Even though we know that (especially in our thirties and forties) we, personally, may still be unmarried, despite our own best efforts and self-perusal for faults, we start to pick at others in our minds (and sometimes verbally, and unasked) for the reasons why they’re still not married, or why they shouldn’t be dating that person we think might be better for us.  Sure, we don’t do it all the time.  But do these thought pop into our heads occasionally, to make us feel better, but enough to keep us from the occasionally painful “cleaning out” of our own faults that get in our way of improving?  They don’t have to get in our way of marriage possibilities to cause us harm to our spirit. Another lie that Satan tells us, and tempts us with in distorting (paradoxically) the good goals of self-improvement is that if we could just be better (in ways that causes despair or point us in the wrong direction) or if someone else could just be worse, maybe our dating lives or relationships could improve and we could get relief from the justifiable difficult loneliness that we often feel.  These feelings of false inadequacy can, in the extreme, make us feel unlovable to other and even make us feel as if God doesn’t love us.  They remind us of more worldly comparisons rather than the more just standards that our caring heavenly parents and our loving Savior Jesus Christ judge us by.  These feelings also keep us from pursuing better methods of overcoming the feelings of loneliness: love and concern for others, reaching out to others in service, learning to make deeper friendships or new friendships and being grateful for the things the Lord has given us.  As President Packer said,

I’ve had to evict some thoughts a hundred times before they would stay out. I have never been successful until I have put something edifying in their place.

I do not want my mind to be a dumping place for shabby ideas or thoughts, for disappointments, bitterness, envy, shame, hatred, worry, grief, or jealousy.

ImageA lot has been said in the media, and not just in church settings lately, about gratitude.  In addition to gratitude, though, I will propose that learning to more fully rejoice with others when they receive blessings that we do not have can be a difficult but extremely valuable tool in overcoming pride and jealousy.  As Elder Holland said, “Brothers and sisters, there are going to be times in our lives when someone else gets an unexpected blessing or receives some special recognition. May I plead with us not to be hurt—and certainly not to feel envious—when good fortune comes to another person? We are not diminished when someone else is added upon. We are not in a race against each other to see who is the wealthiest or the most talented or the most beautiful or even the most blessed. The race we are really in is the race against sin, and surely envy is one of the most universal of those. Furthermore, envy is a mistake that just keeps on giving.”  entire talk here

Also, if you’re constantly thinking about “the one that got away,” (see #7 on this list!! applies even if you’re female of course) you need to stop looking back.  Sure, there are always things to learn from past relationships and sometimes even past crushes, but as President Monson has told us, we need to live in the present.

“Sometimes we let our thoughts of tomorrow take up too much of today. Daydreaming of the past and longing for the future may provide comfort but will not take the place of living in the present. This is the day of our opportunity, and we must grasp it.”

 Image

That same attitude can cause us to compare perhaps too much why we think we would be better off with some potential date than someone else we see them with .  Yes, it can be amazing sometimes how we compare ourselves and how we get stuck in these comparisons.  Learn to recognize them when you see yourself doing it.  Pray to figure out how to overcome these things.  Be patient with yourself.  It is a lifelong process for all of us, but if you have some of these comparison traps in yourself, (and some of them may be deep-rooted), start again now.

Image

And this, of course, leads us to the other side of the coin.  Sometimes we envy, and sometimes we’re on the other side, where a stranger (or even a friend) is envious of us.  Spouses sometimes envy each other.  (Nope, getting married WILL NOT cure it, sorry. You’ll still have to work on it sometimes!) Again, jealousy is something we will work at overcoming our whole life.  We need to learn to forgive and let it go.  If it’s someone we really care about, we may need to communicate with them honestly about our feelings and let them do the same. And when it comes to dealing with people who seem bent on hating us, it may be that the best thing to do is let them go.

Image