For many people, Christmas is the happiest time of the year. But for others, it’s the time of year where what’s not going right in our lives comes into sharper focus. You might find yourself seeing green in more ways than just the tinsel on the mantelpiece.
Over Christmas and New Year’s, many of us find ourselves gathering with friends and family members who seem to have their lives totally together. When you don’t feel like your own life necessarily measures up, you might find yourself battling jealous feelings.
Feeling jealous of your friends and family members isn’t uncommon, especially during your single years when you’ve been working and longing to find that special someone that you can build a family of your own with.
If you’re struggling with jealousy this holiday season as a single Catholic man or woman, here are four ways to work on combatting it.
Limit your social media scrolling
When your jealousy is clearly connected to meeting up with family or friends over the holidays, it might not occur to you that your social media is playing a part in what you’re feeling. But social media at any time of year can contribute to feeling inadequate or like your life is a mess, especially if you follow a lot of people with perfect-looking Instagrams. This phenomenon can be even stronger around the holidays, when posed scenes of holiday cheer might be filling your feed.
So if you’re trying to work on moving away from the comparison trap that turns quickly into jealousy, consider limiting (or even cutting out altogether) the time you spend scrolling social media.Make a conscious effort to scroll your social media feeds less often, and perhaps consider putting a time limit on yourself. Or, you could limit how many times per day you check.
If you have trouble limiting yourself because social media is your go-to time filler when you’re waiting in lines, waiting for a commercial break to end, or are just bored, consider what you might be able to replace it with.
For instance, you could try using that time to pray or read saint biographies online. Or, try the practical substitution of reading a library book to cut back on social media time.
Try practicing gratitude
Just attempting to be grateful for the blessings in your life is not an instant cure-all for jealousy. But actively working to practice gratitude can go a long way in helping to overcome jealousy in your life. Throughout the holiday season, try making a special point of being grateful and thanking God for the good things in your life.
Taking time to thank God for providing you with things like your health, the family or friends you do have, your talents and other things you enjoy can be a great way to help your mind stop focusing on the things you wish you had.
You can practice gratitude more actively by beginning prayer each morning or each evening by thanking God for his blessings. Don’t know how to start? Begin with thanking him for three specific things.
The more accustomed to this practice of gratitude you become, the easier it can be to work on overcoming feelings of jealousy with an appreciation for the good things you do have.
Spend some time with the kids in your life
Another practical tactic to try in working to overcome jealousy is to focus energy on others.The youngest members of a family or friend holiday party are often the best people to spend time with if you’re struggling with jealousy among your adult relatives or friends.
While your intrusive aunt or friend might be making comments about how you’re single or wondering aloud when you’ll find someone to marry, kids are usually just happy to have someone play with them.
If you make an effort to play with kids at a holiday party, you’ll probably make their night. And the joy of kids is often contagious, perhaps one of the best remedies for when you’re feeling low.
Pray for help overcoming jealousy
It might seem like a given, but how often do you actually pray specifically for help in overcoming things like jealousy? Sometimes if you don’t make a conscious effort to ask God for the grace to overcome a certain vice, you can forget that praying for help in it is the best way to win the battle.
Consider adding the intention of overcoming jealousy to a daily list of prayer requests, or maybe pray a novena specifically for the intention of overcoming jealousy in your life.
Read more: 3 Novenas To Pray If Your Heart Is Broken
Try spending some quiet time in mental prayer, telling God about your struggles with jealousy and asking him to give you the grace to overcome it. Ask him to help you grow in a true love of neighbor, so that you’re able to rejoice in the good fortune of your family and friends rather than dwell on jealous thoughts.
Then, ask him for relief from your trials, for help in the areas that you feel your life is lacking. Ask him to send you the spouse and the family life that your heart longs for when you look at the lives of your family and friends this Christmas.