How to Stop Feeling Jealous of Other People’s Success

A lesson I learned from my kids that is relevant to us all

Tal Mandelbaum
The Startup
Published in
4 min readFeb 2, 2019


Photo by Limor Zellermayer on Unsplash

If you are a parent, you must have been in this situation a million times.

One of your kids is playing with his toy, deeply concentrated on what he is doing.

Suddenly, your other kid plunges down and grabs the toy away.

The next thing that happens is obviously a piercing wail, crying, and possibly a violent attempt to redeem the toy.

This prevalent sight is not only annoying to parents but also quite symbolic of our lives as adults too.

To put it simply, we get jealous.

We feel envious of others for their success, or for having something we want and don’t have.

And it makes us feel awful!

So awful that some people get downright depressed from flipping through other people’s profiles on social media.

So how can we change that?

What I learned from My Kids

What I noticed with my kids is that it’s never really about the toy itself.

If one of my kids surrenders his toy to their demanding sibling, it’s very interesting to see that the fuss about the toy disappears very quickly.

In a matter of minutes, the initial excitement is gone and the toy is forsaken for a new pursuit.

What I understood is, that what my kids are really after is not the toy at all!

They want to feel the same sense of enjoyment that their sibling is experiencing.

They think that if they play with that toy, they will also enjoy themselves.

What we need to do is to show them that they can find a different toy and experience just as much joy.

Consistently teaching your kids to focus on what is available to them to find happiness, will teach them that they CAN live their lives enjoying what they have, and what they are doing.

Their little bouts of envy during childhood can make for good opportunities to talk about their feelings…



Tal Mandelbaum
The Startup

Psychologist, spiritual teacher & mom, passionate about fulfilling our highest potential! Get my free “Sage’s Map of Reality”