I learnt a lesson about the power of jealousy when I took my son and daughter to the post office. I try to be an involved father and spend a couple of hours a day with my kids in between my morning and afternoon learning sessions. So when I had to take a bus to the other side of town to pick up a registered letter, I used it as an opportunity to spend some time with my children, for whom the ride on a bus would be a novelty. They were both delighted to ride on a bus, and after a short ride, we picked up the letter and left the post office.

Down the road was a bookstore. I asked my five-year-old daughter whether she would be willing to walk there or whether we should take another bus. She agreed to walk. Certainly she was capable of making the short walk without any problem. Just a month earlier she and I had flown to England together to visit my parents. Due to unforeseen circumstances, when we arrived in London, we could not get a connecting flight to Manchester. We ended up walking for miles around the airport, and through train stations, until we finally managed to find a train to take us to Manchester. During this entire time, she single-handedly and uncomplainingly wheeled a heavy carry-on suitcase, which she also managed to maneuver on and off underground trains. Not once did she complain that her legs hurt or that the case was too heavy. So it was quite a reasonable assumption that she could walk five minutes down the road without carrying anything.

Yet her two-year-old brother soon tired from walking and needed to be carried. Suddenly her legs hurt and she also needed to be carried; she whined and complained until we returned home. That was the end of our fun outing, and our chance for some special bonding time. She even managed to express the reason she suddenly "couldn't" walk. When I carry her brother and not her that means I love him more. The rational explanation that she is big and he is a baby didn't help; her jealousy convinced her of the truth of her own logic.

The paradox is quite apparent. My daughter has the potential to walk for miles but this potential can only be realized when she is motivated to exert herself. Otherwise, even a few steps can require too much exertion. Her jealousy limits her.

Every one of us has incredible potential and latent talents, which, if we would use, would transform us into different people. What stops us? One of the causes may be this same jealousy, otherwise known as sibling rivalry. We are all siblings because we all share a common Father. All of us are G‑d's children.

When we see people who seem to have more than us, who seem to be succeeding more than we are, who seem to be enjoying a better, more comfortable life than our own, we become overly focused on what they have and we lose consciousness of our own blessings. Like my daughter, whose sudden surge of jealousy caused her to lose sight of her own ability to walk large distances and keep pace with her father, normally a source of real pleasure and pride, we too, lose our focus, and can't even hold on to what we have. Suddenly, we too, need to be carried.

Just like I, as a father, have different expectations for my children, G‑d has different expectations for each of us. Meeting the challenges G‑d sets before us can be a source of real pleasure and pride, a well-spring of that much sought after phenomenon known as self-confidence.

How will we really gain more – through the comfort of being carried, or through the exertion of pushing ourselves to our limits and beyond in order to discover the untapped abilities and strengths that are truly ours to claim as our own?