The Green-Eyed Monster Within

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There isn’t one person who is immune to the emotions that are found with jealousy and envy. At some point in life, we have all experienced it. Either it is at work, within friendships, or something else; jealous and envy are very real feelings that have a way of effecting your life. Fortunately, there is a way to not let these emotions overpower your life. There are ways of getting through it, but it’s also important to understand the difference between being jealous and being envious.

I use to think that I was jealous of this one person because she has the guy that I could only dream of having in life. I wished with all my might to have her life and to be in her shoes. I believed for a long time that it was jealousy that was overtaking me until I realized that I was really envious of her. Envious that she had the opportunity to talk and see this person whenever, wherever she wanted to, on any given day. For me, that way of living is really just a dream. While most may say that’s jealousy, there’s a difference between these two emotions. Often these two words are used interchangeably, but they are both quite distinct. Jealousy comes about whenever there is a threat to something that is of value to a person, that feeling you get when something is being taken away from you. Envy happens when somebody has something that you want for yourself.

There is a reason why people often have mistaken a jealous reaction and a reaction of envy because they are both so similar. Envy has what is known as a gap between what you have and what the other person has, that another person has something that you want, just like me. The goal is to reduce the gap by either bringing the other person down or bringing yourself up. With jealousy, the thinking is to protect yourself from having something taken away from you. Both of these emotions can elicit aggression, this is what makes knowing the difference between the two to be difficult. With envy, that feeling of aggression comes out because you don’t want that person to be superior over you. With jealousy, you don’t want someone to take whatever it is away from you. At times, jealousy can also attach itself to feelings of envy, but not always. While envy can easily be felt without having feelings of jealousy, where you have the fear of something being taken away from you.  Although, the real question remains, how do we stop ourselves from having these emotions interfere in our lives?

Jealousy is oftentimes rooted in self-esteem. The main feeling of jealousy is the person’s own feelings about themselves. Self-esteem, whether we have high or low, is a great predictor by the quality and the strength of our relationships. Being about to change these feelings is about changing how we think about ourselves. This can help lessen the feeling of jealousy. Focusing on the positive traits about ourselves can help to boost self-esteem. People who are good at shifting how they think about themselves always highlight the positive is really good at decreasing jealousy. The emotions of jealousy are not easy ones to have, but these are feelings that are based on protecting a relationship.  On the side of it, not feeling jealousy at all, can be an indicator that there isn’t much value for the relationship that a person is in, that the person doesn’t really care.

Envy is emotional pain, and often times that emotional pain translates into physical pain. It’s painful to be inferior to someone else. The goal of an envious person is to do whatever it takes to reduce the pain, and while envy is considered to be a negative emotion, it’s all an extremely important one.  This is because envy is a very important emotion in terms of survival and keeping to a relative status. Envy is related to competitiveness. The more envious a person is, the more competitive that they are in succeeding in life.  Although not easy, admitting that you are envious of an envious person, allows for a person to find the areas where they can excel, as it is very specific to one thing or aspect in a person’s life.

Being able to surround yourself with true friends and family can help to remind ourselves of our value in social interactions when you do feel jealous or envious, so to keep away from the feeling that many of us have felt when we have encountered jealousy and envy. William Shakespeare had called it the emotions of the green-eyed monster in Othello.  That feeling of how jealousy, even envy, can still up a person from a fit of green-eyed jealousy. It’s the visual idea of just how powerful and dangerous of a monster it can be to a person. It shows that what is truly meant to be is to understand what is our driving force, and no matter what our circumstances may be in life. It’s what’s meant to be, to find that balance and perfect peace from the influence of the green-eyed monster from within.


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