When My Sisters Win, I Win: What Choosing Happiness Looks Like When You’re Jealous

Lately I’ve been noticing something about myself I don’t like. There’s this unfortunate jealousy that comes up when I see a woman have what I want. Instead of awe and appreciation, I feel and think, “Oh, there’s someone who already has/does that thing I want. Who am I to have/do that too?” I’m not down with this reaction; it doesn’t make me feel good, and it doesn't align with my values. Instead of feeling ashamed for having this thought, I embrace this as an opportunity to grow, change, and choose happiness.

The first step of change is to become aware of the problem that is stifling growth and to witness this pattern without judgment. It is a beautiful thing that I am recognizing this negative story, because I now have the opportunity to choose a new, positive one. It’s not easy to see our own dysfunctional behaviors, because it’s painful. But you can’t clean up the mess if you don’t know there’s a mess! I give myself mad love and respect for being willing to observe the clutter of my brain.

Why do I believe that I can’t have the good things that my fellow women have? The answer is a deep belief in separation. Separation goes by many names: patriarchy, internalized misogyny, capitalism, competition, judgment, and low self-esteem. The patriarchy teaches that women don’t deserve the successes of men; Capitalism teaches that there are winners and losers; Low self-esteem is believing that I’m apart from and less than. It’s all separation. However, these purveyors and social constructs of alienation aren’t what’s real and true. What is real and true is love and unity.

I need a story of love and unity. The stories and narratives we operate under make a huge impact in our lives. A therapist used to tell me years ago that sometimes we have a negative record playing in our heads, and we need to throw it out and get a new one. This imagery helps me see that happiness is a choice between the negative thoughts or the positive thoughts.

My new story is that I believe the Universe has enough for everyone, and my new mantra is, “When my sisters win, I win.” There are women who have paved and are paving the way for me, and their accomplishment is my accomplishment. I’m so grateful for women like Susan B. Anthony who worked so hard that I may have the right to vote, but she died before she could ever cast a legal ballot. She teaches me that I harvest flowers that came from seeds I did not plant; I plant seeds that one day I will not harvest.

We are all truly united, and we benefit from each woman’s talent fully cultivated and given. How can I possibly see my sisters’ accomplishments as negative?! I am in awe of their creations, I’m inspired by their success, and I find hope in their ability. When my sisters win, I win.


©2018 by Rachel Schmidt