This is taken from our popular Grief Tip Tuesday podcast episode on coping with jealousy and envy after loss, where we gave our listeners a chance to share their experience and advice on the topic.
Im here. The other day, I saw a woman with her mum and daughter, and I felt envious. I didn’t feel proud to feel the emotion rise up – It can be awkward to admit we feel envy, but after a loss, it’s common.
The scenario was something you see every day – a woman who had her mum to help her raise her daughter. I don’t, and it hurts.
In the early days when I had a moment of envy, I’d probably walk the other way or run to my car, followed by an onslaught of tears.
But this time, instead of letting it ruin my day, I let the feeling pass. Just acknowledging the emotion really helped, rather than trying to stuff it down and run away. We can’t control how we feel, but we can control how we respond to it. Accepting emotions as they pop up – ugly ones and all – can help you to cope with them over time.
We asked our listeners what helps them when coping with grief and envy, and here’s that they had to say:
“Remember, they may appear to have what you want, but you never know the full story of their life.”
“Sometimes, to put it into perspective, I think about how other people could easily be jealous of me, too. Like, I’m jealous of people who have their parents alive after 21 years, as I don’t, but somewhere out there, someone out there may be jealous of me that I got to have my parents see me as a child and teen.”
“Focus on your relationship with your loved one and how special it was.
“Don’t feel guilty or ashamed that you’re jealous. It’s not a bad emotion (because there is no such thing). If you feel safe communicating with someone you trust that you feel jealous of, prevent it from turning into resentment. Acknowledge your feelings, however yucky and uncomfortable, without questioning or repressing them!”
“Acknowledge it, but don’t let it eat you up.”
“Take a social media break. I know I’ve been on it too much when I have a jealous reaction to something.”
What would you add?
If you want to know more about how to cope with the emotions that come with grief, we talk about envy and much more in our book, Good Mourning: Honest Conversations About Grief and Loss (grab a copy here). To access the back catalogue of Grief Tip Tuesday podcast episodes, head here.