Jealousy and envy are two of the ugliest emotions when they go unchecked, especially regarding romantic relationships and friendships.
According to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, to be jealous is to be “intolerant of rivalry or unfaithfulness,” “disposed to suspect rivalry or unfaithfulness,” “hostile toward a rival or one believed to enjoy an advantage” and “vigilant in guarding a possession.”
The dictionary also says that envy is “painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage.”
It seems that in the dictionary’s definition, jealousy can be at least useful when someone will not put up with unfaithfulness, but envy is more of an unnecessary pain for whoever becomes envious, though it could always push that person to do better for herself.
I have had my own fair share of these two emotions, whether having these emotions myself or dealing with people who have them toward me or related to me. I have found that these two emotions sometimes run together.
For example, I have felt jealous when my boyfriend hung out with other women because I wasn’t 100 percent sure that only innocent things would happen, but I have also felt that way because I was insecure. Along with that, I would start thinking about the women he was hanging out with and feel envious of how they looked (skinny, prettier, etc.), which was another part of my insecurity.
In those situations where you start feeling envy or jealousy, it’s important to look at the cause of those emotions and decide if your gut is actually telling you something, or if the emotions are inappropriate and caused by your own internal problems, like low self-esteem.
When you learn to look at the world in a different way and appreciate yourself more, I think those emotions will be less prominent in your life, though of course changing how you view the world can be difficult.
An article from PsychCentral gives eight ways to avoid jealousy and envy, which include getting to know more information about the person you envy in order to realize he or she isn’t as perfect as you think and has flaws just like anyone else.